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Establishing Patterns for the Cinematic Lens in Gatsby

Making Your Own Notes for Chapter One

Matthew Mahaffey

on 28 August 2015

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Transcript of Establishing Patterns for the Cinematic Lens in Gatsby

Point of View
and Narrative Voice
Passages Illustrating the Literary Element
Setting and Mood
Passages Illustrating the Literary Element
Passages Illustrating the Literary Element
Passages Illustrating the Literary Element
Imagery and Figurative Language
Passages Illustrating the Literary Element
Syntax Diction and Tone
Passages Illustrating the Literary Element
Dr. Gautam Kundu
Modern American Literature; Postcolonial Theory
Georgia Southern University

Reading Fitzgerald from a Cinematic Perspective

Publication Date: September 24, 2007
This work explores the many ways in which the developing film industry of the early twentieth century influenced the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald, focusing specifically on his novels This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, Tender Is the Night, and the incomplete The Last Tycoon. The Beautiful and the Damned is also discussed briefly. Early chapters examine Fitzgerald's literary adaptation of visual film techniques (pans, freeze frames, slow motion) and aural cinematic concepts (sound effects, diegetic sound) within his most popular novels. The final chapter summarizes the effect such techniques had in augmenting and defining Fitzgerald's unique literary style.

Selected Terms - Film Glossary


Ambient Sound: Sounds natural to any film scene’s environment.

Bird's-eye View: A shot in which the camera photographs a scene from directly overhead.

Caricature: The exaggeration or distortion of one or more personality traits, a technique common in cartooning.

Close-up: A detailed view of a person or object. A close-up of an actor usually includes only his or her head.

Color Palette: A limited number of specific colors used or emphasized throughout the film to subtly communicate various aspects of character and story to the viewer.

Cross-cutting: The alternating of shots from two different sequences, often in different locales, suggesting that they are taking place at the same time.

Cut: The simplest, most common transitional device in which the last frame of one shot is spliced to the first frame of the next.

Deep Focus: The effect created when all planes of a shot, anywhere from two feet to several hundred feet away, are in focus simultaneously with equal clarity.

Dissolve: The gradual merging of the end of one shot with the beginning of the next, produced by superimposing a fade-out onto a fade-in of equal length or by imposing one scene over another.

Establishing Shot: A beginning shot of a new scene that shows an overall view of the new setting and the relative position of the actors in that setting.

Extreme Close-up: A minutely detailed view of an object or person.

Extreme Long Shot: A panoramic view of an exterior location, photographed from a great distance.

Flashback: An editing technique that suggests the interruption of the present by a shot or series of shots representing the past.

High-angle Shot: A shot made with the camera above eye level, thereby dwarfing the subject and diminishing its importance.

Jump Cut: A disconcerting joining of two shots that do not match in action and continuity.

Leitmotif: The repetition of a single phrase or idea by a character until it becomes almost a trademark for that character. In music, the repetition of a single musical theme to announce the reappearance of a certain character.

Low-angle Shot: A shot made with the camera below eye level, thereby exaggerating the size and importance of the subject.

Medium Shot: A relatively close shot, revealing the human figure from the knees or waist up.

Mise en scene: The arrangement of visual compositional elements and movements within a given space. In movies, it is defined by the frame that enclosed the images. Cinematic mise en scene encompasses both the staging of the action and the way it's photographed.

Montage: A series of images and sounds that derive their meaning from complex internal relationship to form a kind of visual poem in miniature.

Motifs: Images, patterns, or ideas that are repeated throughout the film and are variations or aspects of the major theme.

Panning: Moving the camera’s line of sight in a horizontal plane to the right and left.

Point-of-view Shot: Any shot that is taken from the vantage point of a character in the film, showing what the character sees.

Proxemic Patterns: The spatial relationships among characters within the mise en scene and the apparent distance of the camera from the subject photographed.

Scene: A series of shots joined so that they communicate a unified action taking place at one time and place.

Sequence: A series of scenes joined in such a way that they constitute a significant part of a film’s dramatic structure.

Shot: A segment of film produced by a single uninterrupted running of the camera.

Subtext: A term used in literature and film to signify the dramatic implications beneath the language of the text. The subtext concerns ideas and emotions that are totally independent of the language of the text.

Tight Framing: The mise en scene is so carefully balanced and harmonized that the people photographed have little or no freedom of movement. Often characters are placed at the edges of the frame, giving the illusion that they are "trapped" by it.

Voice-over Narration: The technique of using an off-screen voice to convey necessary background information, fill in gaps in the narrative, and comment on the action.

Wipe: A transitional device in which a new image is separated from the previous image by means of a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line that moves across the screen to replace the old image with the new one.
Reading Fitzgerald from a Cinematic Perspective
Cinematic Terms
Cinematic Terms
Cinematic Terms
Cinematic Terms
Cinematic Terms
Cinematic Terms
Locate Three key Passages from Chapter One
Add Notes to Three of these Literary Elements
Is there a pattern of cinematic terms and techniques evident in Fitzgerald's novel?

Compose a synthesizing thesis statement, based on your Debatable Claims:
Debatable Claim about The Literary Element
Debatable Claim about The Literary Element
Debatable Claim about The Literary Element
Debatable Claim about The Literary Element
Debatable Claim about The Literary Element
Debatable Claim about The Literary Element

Chapter 1

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought — frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.

And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes, but after a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on. When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction — Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the “creative temperament.”— it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No — Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
The narrator seems to have a great deal of pride in himself

Has a great deal of respect for gatsby - to the point of idolization

Has Low Expectations for People
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