23rd May 2018

Gatsby notes

How Gatsby changed through the novel


Gatsby changes along the book as the more he chases after his dream Daisy the more we learn about him. At the start we don’t know much about Gatsby only that he wants Daisy and will go to great extremes to get her back. As the book goes on we find out that Gatsby got his money through illegal crimes just to get money so that Daisy will marry him. Gatsby left at the age of 17 so that he could reset his life this is how he manage to make up his life story that he suspiciously says many times. He also changed his name from Jimmy Gatz to Jay Gatsby so that he couldn’t be linked back to his parents that were farmers and didn’t have a lot of money. Gatsby also becomes more unstable as his dream Daisy this can be seen when he rages at Tom because he thought it would be easier to get Daisy now that he has money.


Gatsby’s illusion:

Gatsby covered his true self by making a story up about his past which seems dodgy. His true story and profession can be discovered through the story as each time he tells his story it sounds very memorized and he tries to get to the point when telling nick about his past. He claims that he went to oxford and was part of the army. We later realise that he got his money through illegal activity to try get daisy to love him as he didn’t have money at the start. His whole story slowly gets revealed. Some clues that revealed his story are the colour White, Green light and the colours yellow and gold.


Daisy at the start of the novel loves Gatsby for who he is but as the novel goes on she starts to love people for their money and status. At the start of the novel Daisy loves Gatsby but this is before he has his money and people start knowing about him. When Gatsby leaves for 5 years Daisy marries tom for his money and status, this was not directly stated but as the novel goes on she starts becoming more attracted to Gatsby again. This shows that as Gatsby gets his money Daisy has an affair with Gatsby as she admits to Tom that she never loved him only for his Money and status.

Daisy illusion:

At the start of the novel Daisy love Gatsby for who he was even though he didn’t have any Money. When Gatsby leaves for 5 years daisy and Gatsby still wrote each other letters but daisy eventually stopped replying. This is because Daisy married Tom for his money and status. When daisy and Gatsby reunite she falls in love with him because he now has money which he didn’t have before. This now makes him even with Tom but she loves Gatsby more she cant divorce with tom as it wasn’t accepted back then.



Nick at the start of the novel states that he is a non-judgemental person. This statement is quickly changed as Gatsby makes a judgemental statement about Tom saying that he is arrogant and other judgemental statements. Nick also changes as when he first arrives in West egg he wants to live the high life but after being amongst Tom, Daisy and Gatsby he realises that it’s to much for him and he’s not suited for that life style.


Nick’s illusion:

Nick covers up him self or represents the illusion as he is always with the wealthy people such as Gatsby, Tom and Daisy. Nick is not a very wealthy person even though he lives in west egg where the newly rich are. Nick is in amongst all the drama the happens between the wealth characters which he thinks that he would like at the start of the book when he says he wants to live the high life. After all the drama unfolds and Gatsby dies Nick goes back to the normal life which he is more suited to as he pretended tot be part of the high life. Nick at the start is not in the high life but then he gets into it because of Gatsby and Daisy and then he slowly starts distancing himself from the life as he doesn’t like it and isn’t suited to it.



False relationships:

The relationship between Daisy and Tom be fake due to Daisy confessing that she only married Tom for his money and status but not for the love for him. She married Tom as Gatsby left for 5 years and Daisy didn’t hear anything from him for a while until she got a letter from Gatsby before the marriage of Her and Tom. Tom also has many affairs with Myrtle with daisy first doesn’t know about but then later ignores. This leads to her having an affair with Gatsby which she considers ok because Tom did. This leads to an argument between Daisy, Gatsby and Tom representing a false relationship as it is morally false.


The relation between Nick and Gatsby is also false at the start as Gatsby doesn’t ask nick to come to the party to be friendly but because of his other intentions with Daisy (Nicks second cousin once removed). The relation between Nick and Gatsby slowly develops to become a proper friendship. Gatsby used nick to get to his dream which is Daisy by getting Nick to invite Daisy over for dinner then Gatsby is there to reunite with Daisy.


The relationship between Gatsby and Daisy is also to some what false as Gatsby is stuck in the past to get his dream which is Daisy. This shows that Gatsby wants to get Daisy back and does so by trying to hold back time which is virtually impossible. His past is making him go to great extents to change the past as he didn’t have money back then but now has money which means he might get daisy love him.



West Egg Quotes:

“I lived at West Egg, the – well, the least fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them.”

“Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water”


East egg:

“oh, I’ll stay in the East, don’t you worry,’ he said glancing at daisy then back at me as if he was alert for something more. ‘I’d be a God damn fool to live anywhere else.”

This quote shows how Tom thinks East egg is the best place to live.

“Everyone in west Egg is a Bootlegger”

Tom makes a judgement towards west eggers saying that East egg is superb compered to them.


Valley of ashes:

“About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.”

“Oh, sure,” agreed Wilson hurriedly and went toward the little office, mingling immediately with the cement color of the walls. A white ashen dust veiled his dark suit and his pale hair as it veiled everything in the vicinity–except his wife, who moved close to Tom.

Shows how everything in the valley of ashes is dusty.



New York:

“At the enchanted metropolitan twilight, I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others – poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner – young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.”

This is nicks view of New York he says it’s the same as Gatsby’s parties only less glamorous but full of people.

“By comparison with other less hectic days, the city is uncomfortable and inconvenient; but New Yorkers temperamentally do not crave comfort and convenience—if they did they would live elsewhere.”

Shows that people mainly go to New York because it brings them closer to the American dream as you can do mist things there




The colour white:

3 quotes from the book that describe the symbol:

Quote 1 “Their house was even more elaborate than i expected, a cheerful red & White Georgian colonial mansion, overlooking the bay.”


Quote 2 “She was dressed in White and had a little white roadster.” – page 79

Quote 3 “Taking a White card from his wallet he waved it before the man’s eyes.” – page 72



Three moments that the symbol appears:


Quote 1 appears when nick is describing Tom and Daisy’s house


Quote 2 was used when daisy was described by wearing a white dress which she has worn as a child and continues to as an adult.


Quote 3 This quote was used when Gatsby was driving to New York and the police officer pulls him over but then says sorry for pulling over after Gatsby shows him card.

Major characters the symbol is connected to:

Daisy; she used to be pure and not worried about money when she was in love with Gatsby at the start but then she married Tom for the money which made her corrupt, she also stays with Tom for the money as it gives her a careless lifestyle. Divorce was also not accepted back in the 1920s.


Gatsby; He supposedly did the commissioner a favour once and now gets a Christmas card. This makes Gatsby above the law as this White card got him out of a speeding ticket. The fact that he has the card shows that he is doing something suspicious or illegal. This shows that Gatsby once was very pure, but he supposedly got his wealth from selling alcohol and drugs at drug stores but gets away with it as he is above the law with his white card which makes him corrupt.


What the symbol is representing:

The colour white represents purity as well as corruption. This forms an illusion as the readers associate white with being pure which it seems like from the outside. The more you learn about the characters the more you see how they started of pure but let corruptness get to them so that they have more money, or care about money more.


Important things the symbol reveals about ideas and characters:

The White colour reveals that there is a corrupt side to many characters; Gatsby, Daisy, Pammy (child). This is because Gatsby is stuck in the past and trying to get daisy that he does illegal activities to get his money and hosts massive parties to try get daisy to come back to him. He also wears expensive clothing to show his wealth hence the reason why he throws all his different coloured t-shirts down on Daisy to show his wealth.

Daisy is pure and corrupt as at the start she loved Gatsby for who he is not his wealth but as he went away for 5 years daisy married Tom who is a wealthy ex-football player. Daisy is easily carried away by money and assets but after she married Tom she had an affair whit Gatsby but didn’t divorce Tom as it wasn’t accepted back then. She also later in the book says that she never loved Tom but only married for money.

Pammy (baby) is wearing a white dress in the book as well. Although she is not yet corrupt it Is likely that she will become corrupt as she grows up in a household with lots of corruptness, so this is likely to have an effect on her. She is now more likely to marry for money.























3 quotes from the book that describe the symbol:

“- and I said’ God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God.” – Wilson

“The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their irises are one yard high”

“Terrible place, isn’t it,” said Tom, exchanging a frown with Doctor Eckleburg.


Three moments that the symbol appears:

The symbol eyes appear 3 times the first time is when Tom and Nick are stop at the valley of ashes to Introduce Nick to Myrtle the person Tom is having an Affair with.

The second time is when the eyes foreshadow that something is going to go wrong this is not directly said but it implies Myrtles death is coming which happens as Wilson finds out Myrtle is having an affair with Tom. Wilson shows Myrtle the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg from the window from their house. And tells her that she Maybe able to fool me, but you can’t fool God. Myrtle then runs out when she sees the yellow car thinking it will be Tom, but she gets hit by the car and dies.

The eyes are also appeared while tom walked past the bill board and said “terrible place, isn’t it,” this is a sign of a reality check because not all characters are very wealthy and it shows the majority of how people where really living as the valley of ashes was what most places were really like.



Major characters the symbol is connected to:

Wilson, Nick


What the symbol is representing:

The symbol eyes are representing the eyes of god. This is because the eyes are referred to as if they are the eyes of God as they witness everything and can foreshadow certain scene.  The eyes also represent a reality check as they show that not all people at that time lived lives as the main characters in the book. The valley of ashes is a ran down place that is very dusty which is very different to the eggs (west and East).

Gorge Wilson sees the eyes as the eyes of God as he believes that they can see everything that happens that’s why he gets violent after he gets told that the eyes are just a billboard. Wilson is also not religious as he has no church, so the eyes are the only God like influence that he has.

Nick sees the eyes as discomforting which gives him a reality check as not all life is as good as theirs. And while everybody is chasing the American dream the reality is that not everybody is living the dreamed of or perfect life.  The people that live in the valley of ashes where the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg also seem to have lost their vitality as people see them as not worth much more as a nobody than a person as. On the other hand the wealthy keep on indulging in luxuries.






























3 quotes from the book that describe the symbol:

his ideas were still in riot; there was ever the pain of memory; the regret for his lost youth-yet the waters of disillusion had left a deposit on his soul, responsibility and a love of life, the faint stirring of old ambitions and unrealized dreams…


After the house we were supposed to see the house, -but outside Gatsby’s window it began to rain again.


‘It’s stopped raining’ ’Has it?’ When he realised what I was talking about, that there were twinkle bells of sunshine in the room, he smiled like a weatherman


Three moments that the symbol appears:

When Nick invites daisy to tea it is raining.


When Gatsby and daisy can’t see the green light across the bay because of the mist.


When Gatsby is shot by the pool and falls in.





Major characters the symbol is connected to:

Daisy + Gatsby-as time has kept them apart for the last 5 years and water represents time. E.g. the distance across the bay represents the how close and far apart they are.


What the symbol is representing:

Water represents time in the book and when and daisy and Gatsby’s life without each other, the water in the bay represents the time Gatsby and daisy spent apart. When Gatsby and daisy are reunited it is raining and when the rain reality fades away and they dream of the time they could have had had together and when they realised that you can’t take back the 5 years it starts raining again as time catches up again.


Important things the symbol reveals about ideas and characters:



The green light


3 quotes from the book that describe the symbol:

“You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.”


“Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”

“he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and faraway”




Three moments that the symbol appears:


When Gatsby is gazing at it across the dock in chapter 1.


When Gatsby and Daisy reunite, and the mist briefly clears.


In Chapter 9, when Gatsby compares the green light to what America must have looked like to early settlers.



Major characters the symbol is connected to:

Gatsby and Daisy


What the symbol is representing:

Gatsby’s dream future of Daisy and Gatsby together; how it had been previously without time’s interference.

That is how Gatsby perceives the green light.



Important things the symbol reveals about ideas and characters:

It shows how Gatsby is optimistic and hopeful, believing that he is so great that he can undo time. Also, it reveals that Gatsby believes Daisy loves and wishes for him as much as he does for her (which in reality is not 100% true).

It also shows how willing Gatsby is to hold onto and believe in something that doesn’t exist as well as revealing Gatsby’s false and illusion of a life.






























Yellow and gold


3 quotes from the book that describe the symbol:

“The only building in site was a small block of yellow brick (George Wilson’s Car Dealership), sitting on the edge of a wasteland…”


“A pair of stage twins, who turned out to be the girls in yellow, did a baby act in costume…”


“His bedroom was the simplest room of all – except where the dresser was garnished with a toilet seat of pure dull gold.”



Three moments that the symbol appears:

Gatsby’s first party was very gold and yellow.


Tom’s yellow car that Daisy was driving and hit Myrtle.


TJ Eckleburg’s yellow spectacles that look over the wasteland of the Valley of Ashes




Major characters the symbol is connected to:

Gatsby, Daisy the golden girl


What the symbol is representing:

Gold represents true wealth or achievement. This is because Gold is used for all currency’s in the world and we link gold to money “old Money.” Gold can also be linked to success as if you win something you are awarded gold. Yellow is linked to happiness and jealousy which is seen many times through the book by most key characters; Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Nick, Myrtle, Gorge. Gold has actual worth and shows wealth but yellow has no wealth and is portrayed as fake gold. Yellow is linked to jealousy which plays a big part of the book as Gatsby is trying to get daisy back making Tom jealous, but Wilson is also jealous after he found out Tom and Myrtle had an affair.




Important things the symbol reveals about ideas and characters:

Gatsby’s yellow car shows that he wants to join the high society ever since he ran away at the age of 17. The yellow car doesn’t show real wealth this could be because west egg is said to be for the newly rich or the people that want to join the high life of New York. Gatsby is failing in joining in to the high life. He could also have a yellow car to show that his money doesn’t have a true worth as he made much of his fortune from illegal businesses.

Daisy also has a lot of Old money as she married Tom who has a lot of money hence the reason why she gave Tom her gold pencil and told him in case he wants to write down any addresses. This shows that Daisy has plenty of money as she is married to Tom.




“Sometimes she and Miss Baker talked at once, unobtrusively and with a bantering inconsequence that was never quite chatter, that was as cool as their white dresses and their impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire. They were here, and they accepted Tom and me, making only a polite pleasant effort to entertain or to be entertained.”


Unobtrusively= in a way that is not conspicuous or attracting attention.

Inconsequence= Irrelevant

Cool is associated with jazz and at that time it is refers to the time that they were living in. They were living in the jazz era. It also shows that their voices were quite enough to not be annoying. Their chat also wasn’t important as they were in a good mood and they just laughed it off.

Jordan is a very blank empty person and she thinks that the whole world is revolved around her

The two girls are relaxing and don’t have any intentions at the moment this part shows that there isn’t much energy in the group.



“It’ll show you how I’ve gotten to feel about – things. Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.’ ”



She says that Tom wasn’t there for the birth he is most likely having an affair with Myrtle as she doesn’t know where he is.

Back then it wasn’t much of a life for a girl. She was hoping it was going to be a boy as the have more in a life then a girl. This is seen as for a while Daisy is oblivious to the fact that Tom is having an affair with Myrtle.

Being a fool was supposedly the best thing the a girl could be this is because if they are unaware of what’s going on in their life they can’t experience emotions which in some cases could be good but then their isn’t much depth to a life then as life is about experiences.

Making a beautiful fool makes it better as then she can marry for money as she is beautiful so she will have a decent life without experience the ups or down.




After a little while Mr. Gatz opened the door and came out, his mouth ajar, his face flushed slightly, his eyes leaking isolated and unpunctual tears. He had reached an age where death no longer has the quality of ghastly surprise, and when he looked around him now for the first time and saw the height and splendour of the hall and the great rooms opening out from it into other rooms, his grief began to be mixed with an awed pride. I helped him to a bedroom up−stairs; while he took off his coat and vest I told him that all arrangements had been deferred until he came.


Slightly open, shows that he is slightly older

Flushed means that its red and hot generally due to illness or strong emotions

That he slowly started crying lightly only lightly as the tears were isolated.

He is an old man and is no longer that scared or phased from death.

His sadness for Jay Gatsby’s death slowly goes away as he realizes that he had achieved something in life which then makes him have some pride.




The American Dream:

  • “About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land.” – In the Valley of Ashes, the myth of the American Dream is revealed as it is a very poor area near two massively wealthy areas (East and West Eggs). This displays the falseness and illusion of the ‘American Dream’, where all are meant to have equal opportunity and the same access to being able to complete aspirations and goals. These polar opposites are reinforced by the characters such as Wilson, who work hard for little reward and whose wife can be walked in and taken by someone such as Tom who has never had to accomplish much to get to where he currently is.
  • The differentiation between East and West Egg where East Egg is built on old money and West Egg is built on new; West is considered the “least fashionable of the two” as well as of course Daisy choosing Tom (the old money of the East) over ‘Gatsby’ (the new money of the West), who is really at heart, the poor James Gatz. This shows us that the American dream cannot work out as old money is better than new money and therefor American people cannot have equal opportunity because even if they earn a lot of money, those with old money shall always be better off.
  • The old money, new money can also be contrasted with the ‘yellow’ and ‘gold’ symbolism as shown in the symbols section. The difference between the two in relation to the American Dream is that the new money does not provide the same as the old money.
  • The American dream is the philosophy that anyone can have equal opportunities and can be accepted into the high society and have wealth if they work hard enough. This ‘dream’ is shown to be a myth many times through the book by those who don’t aspire to achieve the dream (Tom) as they already have money from birth.

The inevitability of time:

  • Time has to happen, and this is shown by Gatsby’s failed attempt at getting back to being with Daisy after 5 years of separation. Now Gatsby is of a complete different wealth, Daisy married to another man and all of the other things that can possibly happen over 5 years. Too much water has since passed under the bridge (an ironic idiom), to return to that place where the two were 5 years ago and Gatsby very much fails to understand this even saying “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” to Nick.

Time is inevitable and each time that water gets mentioned or stopped it foreshadows that something bad is going to happen. The rain temporarily stops when Daisy and Gatsby meet again as it represents Gatsby’s mind as he was nervous at the start, the rain was also pouring down but as he gets the stuff out of him to daisy the cloud temporally clear like his thoughts on his  brain.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. good job although you need a lot more Info. =) want some ghost chips.


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