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The Great Gatsby: Houses and Owners

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Stephen Kwong

on 5 March 2013

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Transcript of The Great Gatsby: Houses and Owners

Houses and Owners
in The Great Gatsby Nick's House Nick Carraway, the narrator of the story is a
young aspiring bonds salesmen from the MidWest who finds himself amidst financial giants and famous
stars in New York and above all else as a bridge to connect Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Passive and honest, Nick is unfamiliar with the world of the extravagantly wealthy at the beginning of the novel. Though he begins to adapt through the novel he is largely out of place in the world of the rich. Gatsby's House Tom and Daisy's House Wilson's Characteristics George Wilson, often referred to by his last name, is one of the few characters in the novel without a major flaw or vice.
He is mocked by Tom for being "so dumb he doesn't even know he's alive" (26). For the majority of the novel, he is unaware of his wife's adultery.
By the end of the novel, Wilson is heartbroken by his wife's adultery and death, for which he accepts partial blame. This overall leaves him alone and empty inside.
He is remembered after death as being a psychotic madman. George Wilson comes to represent the failure of the American Dream and capitalism. Jay Gatsby, the title character lives in an exotic mansion in the West Egg.
His house is ironic, as he has an established, luxurious house yet lives in the area of the new rich. The house symbolizes Gatsby's upbringing from a poor farm boy to a rich, wealthy New Yorker of immense power.
The house is a fortress, that is used to shield his poor upbringing and present the image that he is one of the wealthy. Gatsby has throws wild parties, where “music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars...The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside”(40) This shows Gatsby's skill at concealing his true motives, but also his paranoia about the past
This quote uses vivid imagery to describe the parties that Gatsby throws, and emphasizes the idea that Gatsby will do anything to hide his past. Moreover, the vivid descriptions are used to show the power that Gatsby has gained over the years. Investigative Question: What do the houses of each character reflect their various personalities?

Thesis: The homes represent the personalities of the various characters in the story. Moreover, it helps to symbolize the flaws, and strengths that the character has.

Matthew Chan, Shaan Somani, Stephen Kwong, Isabel Tung
Period 4 Symbol: Wilson's Garage The garage is placed in the Valley of Ashes and is "the only building in sight...a small block of yellow brick sitting on the edge of the waste land, a sort of compact Main Street ministering to it, and contiguous to absolutely nothing" (24). The outside nothingness illustrates Wilson's lack of prosperity, which is typically flaunted by those who have it. The use of the word "ministering" develops Wilson's general character of morality and belief in God, often stating "You can't fool God" or "God sees everything", despite his lack of belonging to a specific church. Gatsby's house is a symbol of the upper class during the 1920s, when America enjoyed a time of prosperity and wealth.
“The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard-it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden.” (5)
The quote shows how with his immense power, Gatsby was able to attain a good home and live a life of parties and fun. Fitzgerald uses his house to criticize how the upper class lives a life of ignorance and bliss, unaware of the plights of society. The fortress-like feature of Gatsby's home emphasize the idea that the wealth live in a microcosm of their own bubble, to serve as a place of security. When Gatsby dies, his house is stripped of all possessions and becomes empty. The empty house symbolizes the death of Gatsby's dream (being with Daisy) and shows his fall from grace. Nick's Characteristics Nick's House Like Nick, Nick's House is a "small eyesore, and it had been overlooked" (5). The house is strangely out of place amongst the mansions that are beside it but it is small enough that people overlook how much it doesn't fit in. Nick's House serves as a meeting place where Gatsby and Daisy meet up. Similarly, Nick serves as a the object that allows Daisy and Gatsby to reunite. Overall, Fitzgerald uses Nick's House in order to show how Nick fits in in the world of Gatsby. Symbol: Wilson's Garage Wilson is depicted as having "a damp gleam of hope...[in] his light blue eyes" (25). He is innately hopeful as he struggles to succeed yet remains a large failure in the eyes of the social elite. Though he is a generally moral character who works hard, he is still not able to achieve the American Dream like Gatsby or Tom. His innocent nature prevents him from getting ahead in capitalist America. Symbol: Wilson's Garage The interior of Wilson's garage “was unprosperous and bare” (25), which is symbolic of Wilson’s lifestyle and relationships, which are often meaningless and hold no value. His business relationship with Tom is artificial in that Tom simply uses him and never gives him what he promises and his marital relationship is destroyed since his wife is adulterous and callous. Symbol: Wilson's Garage When Nick first enters the garage, he assumes that it "must be a blind, and that sumptuous and romantic apartments were concealed overhead" (25). The garage is in such poor condition that it is automatically presumed as a front for other types of business. This depicts how the common man struggles to survive in the Jazz Age and how any location of dignity is immediately thought to be engaged in sinful acts due to a general lack of morality. This also describes Wilson, a well-intentioned man who is later portrayed as insane through societal interpretation. It also describes Wilson's blind nature as he is unable to understand Myrtle's behavior for the majority of the novel. Symbol: Wilson's Garage Following Wilson's realization of his wife's adultery, Michaelis notes Wilson's drastic change of character, thinking about how Wilson is "generally...one of these worn-out men: when he wasn't working, he sat on a chair in the doorway and stared at the people and the cars that passed along the road" (136). Wilson is developed as a character is incredibly hard-working and driven, yet his inner motivation does not fuel his success. Fitzgerald uses imagery to describe how Wilson overworks himself to a point where he has no time for any other aspect of his life. Through this description, Fitzgerald makes the reader question whether Myrtle drives Wilson insane or the other way around. “The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun- dials and brick walks and burning gardens- finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of its run.” (6) This expresses how active and ongoing the extravagance of the Buchanans' is. The wealth of Tom Buchanan's family trickled down to him and has never stopped flowing. Tom Buchanan grew up with no concern of money and splurges his money effortlessly on excess matters. “A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding-cake of the ceiling, and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea.” (8) Fitzgerald uses a lot of descriptive words to, again, display how extravagant and grand the Buchanan's living is. Nonstop movement happens throughout the Buchanan's house to show how city- oriented they are. It also shows how focused they are on things superficial. "[Nick] must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room..."(8) Personification is used to reveal the actuality of Tom Buchanan's grandeur house after Tom shuts the vibrant world outside of their house out. This sudden bitter mood that is felt through the walls does not match with how put together it looks. The wind is cut short and the mood is changed once Tom shuts the rear windows. “[Nick] went with them out to the veranda. On the green Sound, stagnant in the heat, one small sail crawled slowly toward the fresher sea. Gatsby’s eyes followed it momentarily; he raised his hand and pointed across the bay. 'I'm right across from you.'” (118) Tom purposely welcomes Gatsby out to the veranda as a way of admiring himself. The "heat" that is felt on the Buchanan's territory resembles Gatsby and Tom's tense relationship. Gatsby's house is also purposefully situated across from the Buchanan's to contrast and show how different of people they are from each other. Gatsby's house is equally extravagant but is located in the West Egg. The Buchanan’s are located on the East Egg because they naturally want to conform to the rich society. "Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay." (6) This is the first time Nick sets his eyes on the Buchanan's house and notices how alive and welcoming their house is. The flamboyant color and massive size of the house resembles how prideful he is in himself. It also depicts his showy personality and his want to be glorified and commended because of how wonderful his house may seem. Personalities Tom: ignorant, forceful, aggressive, narrow-minded, bigoted, worldly, wealthy
Daisy: charming, disillusioned, captivating Tom and Daisy’s house represents how deeply influenced they are by society and reflects on Tom and Daisy’s yearning to follow that type of lifestyle. The extravagance and beauty of the house gives off a sense of wealth and pride that Tom Buchanan feels for himself. They move to East Egg because it is in their nature to seek the livelihood and extravagant lifestyle that ultimately blinds them from anything other than superficiality.
Furthermore, their house reveals the stiff relationship that Tom and Daisy share. It is apparent that Tom and Daisy have complications in their relationship which affects their ability to love each other; the perfectness of the house is used to replace and mask the flaws of their relationship. Analysis
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