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The Great Gatsby L2

Form, Structure and Language

English Department

on 8 October 2014

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Transcript of The Great Gatsby L2

Deconstructing Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
Thinking about the novel's form
What is the structure of the novel?
How is language used?
Close reading cont.
Chapter 1: Close Reading
Bildungsroman: A coming-of-age story that chronicles the development of the main character over a period of time (usually from childhood to adulthood, but not always)
Epistolary Novel: A novel written as a series of documents (usually letters/diary entries/newspaper cuttings - and, in moderns times, email/fax/text messages etc.)
Satire: A novel written as a critique of society, where characters' behaviour is held up to the audience for ridicule.
Anti-novel: The anti-novel usually fragments and distorts the experience of its characters, presenting events outside of chronological order and attempting to disrupt the idea of characters.
Novel of manners: The novel of manners deals with aspects of behavior, language, customs and values characteristic of a particular class of people in a specific historical context.
Naturalistic novel: The naturalist novel suggests that social conditions, heredity, and environment were an inescapable force in shaping human character.
Romantic Novel: A novel which embraces aesthetics. Unlike the naturalistic novel,
the romantic novel hinges on emotional highs and lows, the exotic, the unfamiliar,
the supernatural, the spiritual, the psychological etc.
How many of these are you familiar with?

Epistolary Novel
Novel of manners
Romantic novel
Naturalistic Novel
What type of novel is this?
(Prologue: Introduction to Nick Carraway as the narrator and Gatsby as the ‘gorgeous’ protagonist.)
Exposition: Nick is introduced to the reader as a resident in the summer house. New characters are introduced: Tom, Daisy and Jordan whom Nick met at the first party he was invited. The atmosphere or mood is established.
Rising Action: Many events start heightening the action. Nick gets to know Gatsby and is fascinated by his lifestyle. Nick hears unsavoury rumors about Gatsby that he is able to clarify through Gatsby and his friend Mr. Wolfsheim. During the party, a car crash outside which is an omen of dark things to happen. Nick learns that Mr. Wolfsheim is a gambler and fixer of the World Series and that Gatsby is involved in illegal business. Tom’s affair with Myrtle, a girl who came from the Valley of the Ashes, introduces a complication. Gatsby is reconciled with his lover Daisy after five years of separation.
Climax: This is the turning point in the novel. During the heat of summer, a fight ensues in the hotel between Tom and Gatsby over their relationship with Daisy. Daisy, disgusted with the behaviour of the men leaves the hotel and is followed by Gatsby.
Falling Action: Daisy, in confusion over the brawl of the two men in her life, drives her car recklessly. Myrtle, thinking it is Tom driving the car, suddenly appears in the road. Daisy hits her and Myrtle dies on the spot.
Resolution: Gatsby waits outside Daisy’s house, as he fears for her safety. Tom and George are upset: Tom sets George on an inevitable, tragic course as he seeks revenge. Tom and Daisy leave town. Gatsby tells Nick that Daisy killed Myrtle accidentally, but he was taking the blame. George kills Gatsby and then himself.
Denouement: The desolate aftermath of Gatsby’s death; George is called a “mad killer.” Nick is greatly affected and calls on all the people who knew Gatsby. He met Gatsby father Henry who attended the funeral but Mr. Wolfsheim refused to come. Nick is disillusioned as he realizes that only very few people cared to attend the funeral of the great Gatsby. Nick returns to the Midwest.
(Epilogue: Nick’s meditation on the original settlers’ vision of America and Gatsby’s failure to realise his dream.
Rising Action
(cc) image by nuonsolarteam on Flickr
Opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details, often some earlier story that ties into the main one, and other miscellaneous information.
Introducing plot, characters' histories, setting, and theme
During rising action, the basic internal conflict is complicated by the introduction of related secondary conflicts, including various obstacles that frustrate the protagonist's attempt to reach his goal.
The turning point, which marks a change, for the better or the worse.
Simply put, this is where the main part happens or the most dramatic part.
Falling Action
The plot unravels. The falling action might contain a moment of final suspense, during which the final outcome of the conflict is in doubt.
Resolution & Denouement
Events between the falling action and the actual ending scene of the drama or narrative and thus serves as the conclusion of the story. Conflicts are resolved, creating normality for the characters and a sense of catharsis, or release of tension and anxiety.
A piece of writing at the end of a work of literature or drama, usually used to bring closure to the work.
Freytag's Pyramid
Modernism: the movement in the visual arts, literature and music which broke established rules of form and/or subject matter at the beginning of the 20th century.

Modernist novel: he adopted a narrative form characterised by economy of expression and clarity of design and to develop his themes through a method of implication rather than by explicit statement. (Armstrong)
’...an amalgam of realism and romance’(York notes)
Fitzgerald draws attention in his letters to ‘The Great Gatsby’ as a consciously artistic achievement , a work that depends on ‘design’. (Zilboorg)
Fitzgerald explores the interrelations between personal loss and national failure. (Zilboorg)
Nick's narration jumps around, shifting from dialogue to personal meditation to foreshadowing and back again. It's fragmented and non-linear, but the writing style also tries to get at difficult truths that a more realistic book might not capture. (Schmoop)
A novel of intricate patterns (P. Armstrong’s critical study) :

Imagery: colours and flowers [etc] form narrative connections that achieve significance though repetition

Characterisation: ...is developed through suggestion rather than revealed through objective description

Impermanence: time and clocks
Quality of hauntedness: death and ghosts
Careless driving
Sight and insight
Movement and impermanence: restlessness and disorder
Moral judgement

Are there others?
Semantic Fields
A set of words grouped by meaning in a certain way
Home Study:

For an understanding of language used in The Great Gatsby, read Pal Armstrong's critical essay (I will email this)
Work on the Ch.1 questions assigned. (email)
I tell you the truth, The Kingdom of Heaven is like the brave snowboarder who enters through the narrow opening in the trees. He finds many fresh turns there, and blessings of all kinds. And there is weeping and gnashing of teeth on the icy groomed runs for the lazy snowboarder who takes the wide open path.

Everyone knows that no one is in control, really, but at the same time, if you’re gonna be out of control, at least do it where you can land it, and not end up broken and lost.

What semantic fields can we glean from this passage?
In terms of characterisation, how does Armstrong define:

physical power
improper grammar
A descriptive term (word or phrase) accompanying or occurring in place of a name
Alexander the Great
Richard the Lionheart

Whale-Road (the sea)
The Boys in Blue (police)
Our Lady of Lourdes (St. Mary)
Britain of the South (NZ)

Long and weary road
dreamless night
the happy morning
angry crowns of kings
In pairs, discuss the epithets listed on your handout.

Decide whether Fitzgerald is using epithets to colour his narrative in a positive/neutral/negative way.

Are there any patterns in terms of how the positivity/negativity/neutrality appears within the structure?
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