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The Great Gatsby Seminar

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Stephanie Waszak

on 8 January 2013

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Transcript of The Great Gatsby Seminar

“My house was... squeezed between two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season... My house was an eyesore, but it was a small eyesore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbour’s lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires – all for eighty dollars a month” (Fitzgerald 11). “In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgements, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me... The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person... I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought” (Fitzgerald 7). "'All the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had'" (Fitzgerald 7). “On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains.” (Fitzgerald 41). "'He’s just a man named Gatsby... Well, he told me once he was an Oxford man'" (Fitzgerald 50). “She explained that we were going to find the host: I had never met him, she said, and it was making me uneasy” (Fitzgerald 46). “From East Egg… the hornbeams and the Willie Voltaires, and a whole clan named Blackbuck, who always gathered in the corner and flipped up their noses like goats at whosoever came near” (Fitzgerald 60). "A limousine passed us, driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish negroes, two bucks and a girl... 'Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge'" (Fitzgerald 67). Submitted by: Abby, Destynie, Kaitlyn, Stephanie, and Sydney F. “… a valley of ashes… where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses… and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of grey cars crawls along… and immediately the ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure actions from your sight. But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, they eyes of T.J. Eckleburg… the passengers on waiting trains can stare at the dismal scene for as long as half an hour. There is always a halt there for at least a minute, and it was because of this that I first met Tom Buchanan’s mistress… and his determination to have my company bordered on violence” (Fitzgerald 26-27). “Perhaps [his] presence made them feel more satisfactorily alone” (Fitzgerald 91). “[Gatsby and Daisy] sauntered over to [Nick’s] house and sat on the steps for half an hour, while at her request [Nick] remained watchfully in the garden” (Fitzgerald 102). “It’s a bona-fide deal. I happen to know about it” (Fitzgerald 95). “I had been warned of something behind. Over the ashheaps the giant eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleberg kept their vigil” (Fitzgerald 101-102). “I wanted to get up and slap him on the back. I had one of those renewals of complete faith in him that I’d experienced before” (Fitzgerald 105). “I disliked him so much by this time that I didn’t find it necessary to tell him he was wrong” (Fitzgerald 116). "I disapproved of him from beginning to end" (Fitzgerald 146). "Half-sick between grotesque reality and savage, frightening dreams... [He] had something to tell [Gatsby], something to warn him about" (Fitzgerald 140). "Even when the East excited me most... It had always for me a quality of distortion" (Fitzgerald 167). N
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E Nick's tolerant and accepting attitude allows him to bring forth balance and insight through his narration.
He acts as the equilibrium between his traditional Midwestern morals and the contradicting values associated with the Eastern way of life.
Carraway's unique relationships with those from East Egg along with his ability to avoid the restraint of class systems makes him a well suited narrator, who is able to observe this alluring lifestyle from the outside looking in. While initially an honest, moral, and tolerant man, who prides himself on preserving his Midwestern standards in the corrupt, extravagant East coast, it is through his observation and immersion into this extraneous lifestyle that gradually causes Nick to abdicate his valued moral integrity and become just as dishonest and corrupt. Only after a series of insensitive, callous events does Nick realize the moral decay that the luxury of the East coast disguises, and having gained a new perspective, insight and maturity, he is able to return to the Midwest to fully embrace and restore his immaculate, honest, and moral self. “Invariably saddening [when looked] through [Daisy’s] eyes … a world complete in itself… Upon which [I] have expended [my] own powers of adjustment” (Fitzgerald 100-101). “Grown used to [the East]” (Fitzgerald 100).
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