Куценко Алла Владимировна
Методическая разработка для домашнего чтения романа «The Great Gatsby»


Предисловие

Роман Фрэнсиса Скотта Фицджеральда «Великий Гэтсби» является одним из величайшихпроизведений американской художественной литературы XX века. В нем звучит тема«американской мечты» и ее вырождения, оскудения духовной жизни американцев в«век джаза», дается широкий социальный охват эпохи, В романе явно ощущаетсявлияние философских идей того времени, ведется поиск идеала человеческого.Вместе с тем Ф. С. Фицджеральд мастерски изображает внутренний мир своихгероев. Авторский замысел раскрывается через деталь, отступление, символ, ритмкомпозиции и т.д. К числу использованных писателем приемов относятся ирония,парадокс. Все сказанное выше делает прочтение произведения нелегким и требуетне только комментария, но и специального материала для руководства чтением,каковым является прилагаемая методическая разработка.

Комментарий иллюстрирует некоторые особенности употребления языковых средств для достиженияопределенного стилистического эффекта, объясняет реалии и сложныеграмматические моменты, раскрывает некоторые литературные аллюзии и даеткраткие справки об упоминаемых событиях и людях.

Система вопросов и упражнений, представленных в методической разработке, нацелена наразвитие речевых навыков студентов, всесторонний анализ текста, раскрытиесоциальной значимости романа и его стиля. Задания рассчитаны насамостоятельную работу студентов, однако некоторые из них могут прорабатыватьсяв аудитории и без предварительной подготовки, в зависимости от конкретныхусловий (установка на интенсивное или экстенсивное чтение, степеньподготовленности группы и т.д.). При интенсивном изучении материала среднийобъем прочитанного составляет две-три главы в неделю (30—35 страниц).

В книге содержится также список слов и выражений к каждой главе романа,отобранных с таким расчетом, чтобы стимулировать обогащение словарного запасачитателей, развивать у них умения и навыки адекватно отражать содержание произведения,четко выражать свои мысли, правильно вести дискуссию по вопросам, связанным схудожественным отображением действительности. В разработку включен ряддополнительных материалов, способствующих более глубокому проникновению впроблематику романа, а также направленных на повышение общеобразовательногоуровня читателей.

Настоящее издание предназначено для занятий по домашнему чтению на старших курсахфакультетов английского языка гуманитарных, лингвистических и педагогическихвузов; также может быть использовано широким кругом читателей.

Subjects for thinking and talking about

Chapter I

Vocabulary list

To reserve (judgements), in uniform,gorgeous(A favourableword in the twenties.), a heightened sensitivity to the promisesof life, to descend from smb., to overlook smth., one’s second cousin, todrift, sturdy, arrogant, to hate smb.’s guts, a bond man, hulking, to besophisticated, a libel.

I. Give a summary of Chapter I.

II. Discuss the following:

A.

1. Who is charged with relating the story?

2. In the preface (or really afterward to the novel) F. Scott Fitzgeraldestablishes the narrator’s moral position. What is it? Are the narrator’sinitial judgements modified?

3. Some critics say that F. Scott Fitzgerald wanted to impose some kind oforder on the haphazard circumstances of life: “He tried to find an orderedcosmos in his own terms. Fitzgerald seemed to think he could discover in thatmagic world of the rich ’safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor’the sanctuary he seems always to have sought.” Find some words ofconfirmation of this opinion in the opening lines of the novel.

4. Speak on the narrator’s first mention of the central figure of thenovel. Don’t you find Carraway’s attitude towards Gatsby ambivalent? Give your reasons.

5. Comment on the way the novel begins. What is the role of the preface?

B.

1. What is Carraway’s background? Comment on the way Nick Carraway’sgreat-uncle gave his family “economic ballast.”

2. Comment on the following: “I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughlythat I came back restless.” Pay attention to the word “restless” used throughout the chapter and explain what it suggests. What do they call thegeneration Carraway belongs to? Say why the heroes of the novel came East Notethe frequency of the “ motion terms” (drift, move, run, ride). Explainwhat they suggest. Sum up, your observations and characterize, theperiod Carraway came East.

3. Describe the community Carraway began his new life in. Describe Gatsby’smansion; the Buchanans’ mansion. What is the role of the descriptiveparagraphs? What colours prevail in the descriptions? What do they symbolize?Describe the atmosphere of the dinner-party at the Buchanans’.

4. Speak on the narrator’s first mention of the following characters:
a) Tom Buchanan;
b) Daisy Buchanan;
c) Jordan Baker.
Describe their appearance (make a list of “terms of appearance” used by the author). What features of the charactersare accentuated in the descriptions of their appearance and behaviour?

Speak on Tom Buchanan’s social standing;his views. What does the word “scientific” used by Tom Buchanansuggest? Was Tom capable of comprehending the metaphorical and symbolic meaningof the nightingale, “the bird that was not born for death”? (Here F.Scott Fitzgerald relies upon an understanding of Keats to reveal aspects ofcharacter that are important to the meaning of the novel. Keats in “Ode toa Nightingale” longed for “a state of eternality while recognizingthat he [was] subject to a state of temporality.” This is the Keatsianelement that runs through his fiction—the belief in golden world, a beautifulmoment that will never fade.)

Speak of Daisy’s married life. What kindof person is called “sophisticated”? What does the root-repetition of “promise” suggest? Why did Nick Carraway feel the basic insincerityof what Daisy had said? Why do you think she had no intention “to rush outof the house, child in arms”? Speak on Jordan Baker’s life-style. Expressyour opinion about it.

5. Speak on Carraway’s first glimpse ofGatsby.

С.

What is the narrator’s attitude towardsthe heroes of the novel? Are they depicted with sympathy? irony? contempt? humour?

What are the methods by which NickCarraway informs the reader of what is happening or has happened:
a) his own eye-witness account;
b) the account of other people (in their words or in his own)?

What are the advantages of first-personnarration Fitzgerald resorts to (after the manner of Joseph Conrad)?

Speak on the composition of the chapter.

Judging by the descriptive passages of thechapter say whether they testify to Nick Carraway’s romantic or realisticdisposition of mind.

Chapter II

Vocabulary list

A valley of ashes, to take the form ofsmth., to come to rest, to fatten one’s practice, to brood over smth. to turnup, assumption, waste land, unprosperous, a gleam of hope, worldly, to undergoa change, in disdain, the lower orders, to get the entry, to be below smb., tobe entangled in smth.

I. Give a summary of Chapter II.

II. Discuss the following:

1. Describe the valley of ashes. (Certainly on the levelof simple narrative it represents the grey, dismal environment of the Wilsons’and the life of the class to which they belong. But the gigantic eyes of Dr.T.J. Eckleburg take on greater meaning along with the valley of ashes. What isthat meaning?)

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald is scrupulous inthe description of places of residence. In this chapter the author presents thedescription of Tom and Myrtle’s apartment. Describe it Compare it with Tomand Daisy’s place.

Say what colours prevail in this chapter.Why? Note the repetition of the word “dust” in the first twochapters. What does it suggest?

3. Summarize your impressions of theatmosphere at the party in Tom and Myrtle’s apartment in New York and compareit with that of the party at the Buchanans’ in East Egg. How does the authorachieve the vitality of the scenes? What was Nick Carraway’s impression of theconversation arid the action in the apartment? Comment on his words: “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by theinexaustable variety of life.”

What may the lines from the morning Tribunesuggest? Isn’t Carraway at home both in the world of Daisy and in the worldof Myrtle (but belonging to neither and so able to see and judge both very clearly)?Prove your viewpoint.

4. The scenes of parties serve tointroduce all the important characters and places in the novel (see alsoChapter III). Each scrape of dialogue speaks volumes. Describe Myrtle’sappearance, clothes, manner of speech and behaviour. Touch upon her tastes andinterests. What features of her character does the author emphasize? WhatMyrtle’s quality contrasts with Daisy’s cool elegance?
a) Reread the story of Myrtle’s marriage.Comment on her words: “I married him because I thought he was a gentleman… I thought he knew something about breeding but he wasn’t fit to lick myshoe.” How does Wilson strike you (describe his appearance, manner ofspeech and behaviour)?
b) Comment on the details Myrtleemphasizes telling the story of her first meeting with Tom. How do you understandher words: “All I kept thinking about, over and over was ’You can’t liveforever; you can’t live forever!’”
c)What role does Myrtle play withTom’s prestige and money? Comment on the following: “Myrtle raised her eyebrows in despair at the shiftlessness ofthe lower orders: Those people! You have to keep after them all thetime!’” As you see one moment Myrtle avoids the word “bitch” when buying a dog, the next takes for granted that a total stranger may have amore than friendly interest in meeting her sister.

Summarize your observations of how Myrtle’s traits of character are revealed through her words, manner of speechand behaviour. Point out the peculiarities of her language. Prove that herstyle bears the stamp of her class. Discuss how F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts auniverse of the “lower orders” represented by some minor characters.


a) What do you come to know about Myrtle’ssister? Describe her appearance, tastes, behaviour. What was Catherine’s impressionof Monte Carlo? How does this detail characterize her?
b) Speak of the impression the couple ofMcKees produces on you.

5. In this chapter you meet Tom Buchanan again. What do you think of histreatment of “the lower orders”?

6. Again Gatsby’s name crops up. What is the information about Gatsby youget from the chapter? What effect is achieved by the author by not introducingthe main character to the reader on the opening pages of the book? What arethe methods by which the narrator informs the reader of some facts,circumstances, events? Is he always a witness to them?

Chapter III

Vocabulary list

Gaudy, to ask smb.’s whereabouts, in thevicinity, to pick one’s words with care, to excuse oneself, to start on thesubject, to call smb. on the wire, to be an Oxford man, to stimulate smb.’scuriosity, at the request of smb., sinister, to assume a(n) (inky) colour, togive smth. another thought, to go up in the hydroplane, to throw mean looks,casual events, to go places, to get out of the tangle, to be broken off,cardinal virtues.

I. Give a summary of Chapter III.

II. Discuss the following:

1. Speak on theatmosphere of huge, extravagant parties at Gatsby’s mansion in West Egg. How does the authorcreate it? What colours prevail in the description of the party? What do youthink they suggest? What is the role of the music accompanies the action inChapter III? Observe how the author uses the verbs of motion and speak on theeffect their frequency produces.

Why does the author compare Gatsby’s guestswith moths in the opening lines of the chapter? Generalize your observationsof the way the author introduces Gatsby’s guests to the reader. Is Carrawayjust a disinterested observer of the unfolding events? Comment on thefollowing: “And on Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener,toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears,repairing the ravages of the night before.” Compare this paragraph withthe description of the end of the party.

How does the author portray a particularperiod and make the reader feel the spirit of the epoch (mention the detailsthat belong to the Jazz Age).

2. Did anyone rightly know who Gatsby was? What legends accumulated aroundGatsby’s name? Could those who accepted Gatsby’s hospitality recognize theirhost? Why did Owl Eyes suspect that Gatsby’s books were not real?

Describe Gatsby’s  appearance.  Comment on  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s words: “I myself didn’t know what Gatsby looked like or was engaged in…” What do telephone calls suggest?

How is Gatsby characterized through hisspeech? Make a brief analysis of his vocabulary. Point out examples to illustratethe queer combination of a certain formality of his speech with jargon. Do youbelieve that Gatsby was at Oxford? Prove your opinion. The pages in Gatsby’sbooks were not cut. What does it suggest?

What is the effect of presenting Gatsbythrough the eyes of Nick Carraway?

3. Say why the author emphasizes Jordan’sinability to handle an automobile safely (speak on the broader implication ofthe conversation about Jordan’s carelessness with automobiles). Note anotherreference to careless driving.

What was Nick’s attitude towards Jordan?Did he blame her for her dishonesty? What does Carraway accentuate in theending? Is this assertion true? Why was he straight with Jordan (but with theworking girl “he’ll let it all blow quietly away”)?

Reread the description of New York. What feeling did it arouse in Nick?

Chapter IV

Vocabulary list

A bootlegger, for no good reason, to comeinto a good deal of money, to pull smb.’s leg, to restrain one’s laugh, thephrase is worn threadbare, to evoke images, to accept a commission as (firstlieutenant), to be promoted (to be a major), to lift up the words, to skimthrough, to make a big request of smb., to consent to do smth., juxtaposition,a man of fine breeding, to outstay one’s welcome, to impose oneself on smb., tobe quite a character, to be engrossed in each other, to lay eyes on smb., to gooverseas, to be on speaking terms with smb., to come out with a perfectreputation

I. Give a summary of Chapter IV.

II. Discuss the following:

1.  The names ofthose who attended Gatsby were written on an old timetable. The list is largelyone of deaths, divorces or broken lives. What does it all suggest?

2. Retell Gatsby’s life-story. Did Nick believe it? Speak on Gatsby’smanner of speech (write out some terms characterizing his speech). How isGatsby characterized through driving a car?

Gatsby called Mr. Wolfshiem his friend.Describe Mr. Wolfshiem’s appearance (isn’t the description laconic and expressive?).Point out some details characteristic of Mr. Wolfshiem’s manner of speech andbehaviour. What was the story he brooded over gloomily? What business was hein? What do you know of his past? What was his opinion of Gatsby? How does thisfriendship characterize Gatsby? Retell Jordan’s story of Daisy and Gatsby’slove. Do you think their separation was unavoidable? Speak on Daisy’s feelingsand behaviour on her wedding day. Why did she marry Tom Buchanan? Was she happywith Tom?

3. Why did Gatsby give those amazing parties? What was his plan? Why did hewant Daisy to see his house? Why did Gatsby call his request “big”? Do you think it was possible for him to recapture the lost past? (If youremember Keats’ lovers—Lamia, Endymion, Hyperion—are destroyed bydisillusionment.)

4. Do you think you have a complete portrait of Gatsby now?

5. Comment on the juxtaposition of the following paragraphs:

“Over the great bridge, with thesunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars,with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps allbuilt with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen from the QueensboroBridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise ofall the mystery and the beauty in the world.

A dead man passed us in a hearse heapedwith blooms, followed by two carriages with drawn blinds, and by more cheerfulcarriages for friends. The friends looked out at us with the tragic eyes andshort upper lips of southeastern Europe, and I was glad that the sight ofGatsby’s splendid car was included in their somber holiday.”

6. Find passages in which Carraway’s irony is distinctly felt. Carraway hadno firsthand knowledge of Gatsby’s past. What method does the narrator use toinform his reader of Gatsby’s background? his love for Daisy? What are theadvantages of the method (the events are represented fully from a point otherthan the narrator’s)?

Chapter V

Vocabulary list

To blaze with light, to take a plunge, tocall up smb., to put smb. to trouble, to fumble with a series of beginnings, tocarry on a little business, to render smb. a service, to cut smb. off, to scrutinizesmth., a matter-of-fact voice, to be smeared with tears, to adjustoneself, a rush of emotion, to be possessed by intense life.

I. Give a summary of Chapter V.

II. Discuss the following:

1.  Why wasGatsby’s house blazing with light? Describe Gatsby’s appearance on the day ofhis meeting with Daisy. Speak about his behaviour before he met Daisy, duringtheir meeting.

What did Jay Gatsby say of the business hewas in?

Comment on Gatsby’s display of wealth andon Daisy’s response. Observe the epithets used to characterize her voice.Describe Nick Carraway’s feelings throughout the scene.

2. What is the meaning of the descriptions of the weather in the chapter?What does the following description suggest: “The rain was still falling,but the darkness had parted in the west, and there was a pink and golden billowof foamy clouds above the sea.”

Time is the real enemy in the Romanticworld. There are a lot of “time terms” in this chapter. Find them andsay what they suggest. What does the episode with the clock suggest? What isthe role of the picture of Gatsby at the age of about eighteen?

Comment on the following: “It was thehour of a profound human change, and excitement was generating on the air.

“One thing’s sure and nothing’s surer
The rich get the richer and the poor get—children.
In the meantime, In between time—”

Explain the meaning of the following: “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up inhis ghostly heart.”

Chapter VI

Vocabulary list

To fall short of being news, to dropanchor, to beat one’s way, to bring smb. food and bed, to be in the riot, to becontemptuous of smb., to despise smb., to haunt smb., an outlet for smth., torun around alone, unwavering devotion, on the verge of smth., to repose moretrust in smb., to inherit money, to go intact to smb., to ingratiate oneselfwith smb., to enter into conversation, to mount one’s horse, an orchid of a woman,to be appalled, menagerie.

I. Give a summary of Chapter VI.

II. Discuss the following:

1. What otherlegends about Gatsby have you come to know from the chapter?

2. Speak on Gatsby’s youth and dreams. What do you know about his parents?Why did he change his name? Comment on the following: “Jay Gatsby of WestEgg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a sonof God.”

3. Who was Cody? Comment on the details ofhis portrait as described by Carraway. What was his role in Gatsby’s life?

4. Why does Carraway put down the factstold by Gatsby “very much later”?

5. Describe Gatsby’s celebrated guests andtheir behaviour. Comment on the way Carraway “classifies” them (“an orchid of a woman”, “a man with the sort of bluenose” and so on).

Describe the party through Daisy’s eyes.What were Daisy’s criteria of human emotions and conduct? Speak on her impressionof the moving picture actress. Comment on the following: “But the restoffended her—and inarguably, because it wasn’t a gesture but an emotion.” Speak on the quality of her voice.

Describe the party through Tom’s eyes. Whydid he call the guests a “menagerie”?

Why did Gatsby introduce him as “the polo player”? What quality did Tom’s presence give to the party?

6. Why was Gatsby depressed after theparty? What did he want Daisy to do? Did he ask too much from her? Give yourreasons. Comment on the following: “Can’t, repeat the past?” he criedincredulously. “Why of course you can!” Do you think he longed forunattainable? People say that this attitude of mind (“an extraordinarygift for hope”, “a romantic readiness”) leads to desires thatare impossible to achieve, then it becomes destructive and self-defeating. Expressyour opinion on it.

Chapter VII

Vocabulary list

To dismiss smb., to fire smb., to be underno obligation to smb., a bona-fide deal, dumb, to get stalled, to be run down,to alight on smb., to keep one’s vigil, to overtake smb., to elude smb., tomake personal remarks, to be out in the open, to go off on a spree, to treatsmb. to a story, one’s eyes fall on smb./ smth., to hang around, to sell smth.over the counter, to leave smb. in the lurch, to be dead broke, to have smb. upon the betting laws, to scare smb. into doing smth., to be just small change,to draw into oneself, to slow down, to put on the breaks, to dispose of thesituation.

I. Give a summitry of Chapter VII.

II. Discuss the following:

1. What doChapter VII and Chapter I have in common? What are the divergences? Speak onthe effect the parallel episodes produce. Speak on the seasonal allusions. (InChapter I the author describes the cool buoyant world of Daisy’s home, inChapter VII he changes the physical reality of the setting. Why?)

2. Why did Gatsby dismiss every servant inhis house and replace them with others? Why did he want to keep his imageintact and without blemish?

3. a) Speak of the heroes’ behaviour inthe scenes following Tom’s discovery that Daisy and Jay Gatsby were in lovewith each other. What were the things Tom Buchanan disliked about Jay Gatsbyfrom the beginning? Comment on Nick Carraway’s words: “There’s noconfusion like the confusion of a simple mind.” What was Tom’s view onlove? What were Tom’s relations with women based on? Speak about Tom Buchanan’sbehaviour when he and Gatsby were out in the open at last.
b) Speak of Daisy’s behaviour when Jayasked her to tell Tom that she had never loved him. Speak of the role of thedescriptions of her voice. Comment on Gatsby’s words: “Her voice is fullof money.” What meaning does Nick Carraway get into: “High in awhite palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl”?
c) Comment on Gatsby’s words: “She never loved you, do you hear? She only married you because I was poor and shewas tired of waiting for me. It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart shenever loved anyone except me!” Discuss Gatsby’s reaction to Daisy’s words: “I loved you too.” Comment on the look in Gatsby’s face when accused by Tom.

Why did not the wealth of Croesus keepGatsby safe?

At what moment does the author make Nickremember of his age? What is the age of thirty for Nick?

How do you understand Nick’s words aboutJordan “who, unlike Daisy, was too wise ever to carry well-forgottendreams from age to age”?

What Gatsby’s quality commands respectfrom Carraway?

4. What sources was Nick informed of the accident from? Discuss Mr.Wilson’s behaviour before the accident (What made Sir Wilson sick? What did hewant money for?) and after Myrtle’s death. Why did he suspect Tom of havingkilled Myrtle?

How did Tom take Myrtle’s death?

5. Comment on Carraway’s words: “I’d had enough of all of them for oneday, and suddenly that included Jordan too.” Comment on Carraway’s “I wouldn’t have been surprised to see sinister faces, the faces of Wolfshiem’speople,’ behind him [Gatsby] in the dark shrubbery.”

How did Carraway come to know who haddriven the car that killed Myrtle? Speak on the reasons for Carraway’s ambivalentattitude toward Gatsby.

What does the scene in the Buchanans’kitchen mean? Was Tom’s victory inevitable?

What is implied by the phrase about Gatsby “watching over nothing”?

6. Why does F. Scott Fitzgerald make thevalley of ashes the primary backdrop against which the tragedy is played out?Dr. Eckleburg recurs at certain crucial moments in the novel. Comment on Dr.Eckleburg’s eyes coming into sight.

What does automobiles flashing by suggest?

Speak on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s art ofcomposition. Into what parts does the chapter fall? How do they follow eachother in time? Does the author succeed in conveying the plot and theimplication of the story through the composition?

Chapter VIII

Vocabulary list

To trace one’s car, to clutch at some lasthope, to shake smb. free, under false pretenses, to be from much the samestrata as oneself, to be liable at the whim of smth., to commit oneself tosmth., to do well, to move with the season, to be at hand, to take shape, acheap sharper, on the last of one’s pay, to be pervaded with smth., to be notworth a decent stroke of work, to call up the church, to lap up, to distractsmb., to leave word with smb., word is brought to smb., holocaust.

I. Give a summary of Chapter VIII.

II. Discuss the following:

1. Describe the history of Gatsby’s love. DescribeDaisy’s world and the impression it produced on Gatsby, a penniless ”nobody” in the army. Was it a case of love at first sight on bothsides? Why did Daisy marry Tom Buchanan? Describe Gatsby’s journey toLouisville. Comment on the following:

“In the figure of Gatsby, he(Fitzgerald) had been able to objectivize and poetize his early feelings aboutthe rich: that they were a race apart with a better seat in life’s grandstand,that their existence was somehow more beautiful and intense than that ofordinary mortals. Barricaded behind their fortunes, they had seemed to himlike royalty… One finds the same point of view in Yeats or Oscar Wilde. Butalso Fitzgerald sensed a corruption in the rich and mistrusted their might. “That was always my experience,” he wrote nearly at the end of hislife,—“a poor boy in a rich boy’s school; a poor boy in a richman’s club at Princeton…” He told a friend that “the whole idea ofGatsby is the unfairness of a poor young man not being able to marry a girlwith money. This theme comes up again and again because I lived it.” (FromA. Turnbull. Scott Fitzgerald. N:Y, 1962, pp. 149-150).

2. Speak on Gatsby’s feelings upon losingDaisy. Comment on the following: “…perhaps he no longer cared. If thatwas true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a highprice for living too long with a single dream.” How are his feelingsrevealed through his manner of speech?

3. Speak about Nick Caraway’s attitude towardsGatsby as it is depicted in the chapter. Comment on the words addressed toGatsby: “They’re a rotten crowd. You’re worth the whole damn bunch puttogether.” Why did Nick break with Jordan?

4. Speak on George Wilson’s feelings andbehaviour as described by Michaelis. Comment on Wilson’s taking Dr. Eckleburgfor God.

What meaning does the author get into thephrase “and the holocaust was complete”?

5. Discuss the composition of the chapter.Into what parts does it fall? How do they follow in time?

What sources does Nick reconstructGatsby’s and Wilson’s actions from?

Point out the author’s digressions andcomment on them. Speak on the role of the descriptive paragraphs of thechapter. What is the author’s purpose in introducing them? What does “asharp difference in the weather” suggest?

Chapter IX

Vocabulary list

A positive manner, to bring to light, toshow a surprising amount of character, to be deranged a surmise, chance visitors,to break away, to be tied up in some business, to be completely knocked downand out, to rise up to one’s position, to draw a sight-seeing crowd, to hang upthe receiver, to sneer at smth., to force one’s way, to be hard up, regularclothes, to raise smb. up out of nothing, to keep out, to the bitter end, to bebroke up, to be unadaptable to smth., distortion, to let alone, to sweep one’srefuse away, a wrong guest, to throw dust into smb.’s eyes, one’s share ofsuffering, at the end of the earth, an obscene word, to stand out clearly,capacity for wonder.

I. Give a summary of Chapter IX.

II. Discuss the following:

1. Why was NickCarraway afraid that the whole tale would “shortly be served in racypasquinade”? Speak on Catherine’s behaviour at the inquest, comment onthe way Nick describes it. Speak on Nick’s efforts to round up Gatsby’s friendsand acquaintances to witness the funeral. What impression does Klipspringer’scall produce on the reader? Comment on Nick’s words: “I began to have afeeling of defiance, of scornful solidarity between Gatsby and me against themall.”

2. Describe Henry C. Gatz’s appearance, his manner of speech and behaviour.Why was the photograph Mr. Gatz showed to Carraway “cracked in the comersand dirty”? Why did Nick feel uncomfortable speaking with him? What otherfacts from Gatsby’s life do you learn from his father’s words? Speak ofGatsby’s youthful aspirations.

Say what you know of Gatsby’s partnershipwith Wolfshiem. Why couldn’t Wolfshiem come to the funeral?

3. Some critics consider the nameless man with owl-eyed glasses to be anincarnation of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg. Express your opinion on it (see alsoChapter III). What is the role of his appearance at the cemetery? Comment onhis “The poor son-of-a-bitch!”

Speak on the weather on the day ofGatsby’s funeral.

Comment on Caraway’s homely memory ofChristmas time (the very snow being humanized).

What does the El Greco scene suggest?

4. What did Tom tell about his last meeting with Wilson? Comment on Nick’swords: “There was nothing I could say, except the one unutterable factthat it wasn’t true.” Why “unutterable”? Why did Nick shakehands with Tom in the end?

Comment on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s words: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them softwhere we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that unless youwere born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They are different.” Comment on Jordan’s words of driving a car and Nick’s answer to them. Whatwere the new choices Carraway made in his life because of Gatsby’s life anddeath (see also the preface)?

Comment on Caraway’s thoughts of the oldisland, “a fresh, green breast of the new world” once. What is themeaning of the green light? Comment on the code of the novel: “So we beaton, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

5. How does Carraway inform the reader of the events he has no firsthandknowledge of?

Subjects for final discussion or composition

1. F. Scott Fitzgerald, his life and literary career.

2. Which of the critical opinions of “The Great Gatsby” do yout hink right?

“… a novel without ideas”;

“very skilful, often superbtechnically, and yet curiously hollow at times”;

“Fitzgerald seems to be far more interestedin maintaining its suspense than in getting under the skins of itspeople”;

“… except for Gatsby himself, thecharacters are mere marionettes—often astonishingly lifelike, but neverthelessnot quite alive”;

“… the author has made the real peoplelive and breathe in all their sordidness… They are memorable people oftoday—not types”;

“Fitzgerald was not able to gobeneath ’the glittering surface’… characters ’remain type’”;

“… an inferior novel, consideredfrom any angle whatsoever… feeble in theme, in portraiture and even inexpression”;

“The Great Gatsby” has anextraordinary unity of purpose in theme, plot, characterization, andatmosphere.”;

Some reviewers enumerate the followingexcellences of the book: “its form, its poetic style, its grasp of ’amoment of history as a great moral fact’, and above all, its hero, who may betaken not only as an individual character but also as a symbolic or evenallegorical character … to be thought of as standing for Americaitself.”

3. The major theme in “The Great Gatsby” (take into account aprojected title of the book “Among Ash Heaps and Millionaires”).

4. The American dream and “The Great Gatsby”.

5. The Jazz Age in the novel.

6. What makes Gatsby great?

7. Comment on the epigraph of the novel.

8. Give a character sketch of Jay Gatsby; Daisy Buchanan; Tom Buchanan;Nick Carraway; Jordan Baker.

9. The role of the minor characters in thenovel.

10. The symbols in the novel.

11. “The Great Gatsby” as a disinterested observers story.

12. Fitzgerald’s method in portraying his characters.

13. Fitzgerald’s art of composition.

Additional texts

I

1. …Национальный миф о сообществе свободных и равных своими корнями уходит в фундаментальныеособенности американской жизни, определяя ее общественное, духовное,культурное своеобразие.

Свою историю этот миф ведет еще с 1776 года, С эпохи американской революции.Первоначально он служил своего рода идеалом подлинно демократического исправедливого жизнеустройства… Переселенцев поразили простор и богатствооткрывшейся перед ними земли. Казалось, здесь никому не придется голодать. Икаждый получит свою долю счастья. Было бы умение работать, пробиваться, неупускать свой шанс. Никакой сословной иерархии, никаких религиозных предубежденийи образовательных цензов—смекалистый да честолюбивый человек из толпынаконец-то может удовлетворить свое естественное стремление к счастью. Америкавиделась райским садом, по которому, благоустраивая и обживаясь, ступаетвозродившийся Адам. А ее исторической миссией и должна была стать ликвидациявсякой розни и неравноправия между людьми, всяческих барьеров, разделявшихчеловечество, — национальных, религиозных, сословных и культурных.

С действительным положением вещей эти принципы разошлись едва ли не на следующийдень после того, как Джефферсон сформулировал их в «Декларации независимости».В самой демократической стране тогдашнего мира право собственности почиталистоль же незыблемым, как и в самой отсталой. И не находили ничегонелогичного в том, что стремление к счастью удовлетворяется истреблением целыхплемен индейцев, а равенство для всех никак не распространяется на негров Шлидесятилетия, и несовпадение мечты и реальности делалось все глубже.

«Мечта»оказалась пропагандистским штампом. Казалось: еще немного, и навек исчезнутнищета, нетерпимость, классовое расслоение, войны, а присущие человеку отприроды разумность и доброта проявятся в новых общественных институтах,гарантирующих и бедному, и богатому довольство жизнью, радость и гармониюжизни. Казалось: только в Америке человеку дано в полной мере осуществить своизадатки, и, если он умеет распорядиться своими обстоятельствами, подчинив ихсобственной инициативе и воде, его ожидает великая будущность.

…С непреложностью выяснилось, что «мечта» несет разрушение и деградацию личности,обманутой сказкой о равных возможностях. Жизнь в одиночку, чувствоиндивидуальной изолированности и сопутствующее ему чувство отчужденности былонеотъемлемым компонентом того, по выражению Уитмена, «национального архетипа»,который сформировала «мечта»…

…Вопрос,который в двадцатые годы волновал всех и каждого: почему «мечта» высоковозносит одних, а других сталкивает в пропасть…

Тысячи отчаявшихся, еще не сняв формы, бродили по улицам американских городов весну илето 1921 года. С осени медленно началось оживление. А вскоре всепреобразилось, и поднялась волна экономического бума, нараставшая до самогоконца десятилетия. Верилось, что прочное благоденствие для всех наступит содня на день. Биржевый крах в октябре 1929 года — для большинства совершеннонеожиданный — безжалостно развеял эти беспочвенные надежды.

А. Зверев. Американский роман 20—30-х годов

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald expressed his viewof American history in a letter to Catherine Drinker Bowen: “Sure you areromantic about American history. What your detractor left out of account wasthe fact that it is the most romantic of all histories. It began in myth and ithas developed through centuries of fairy stories. Whatever the time is inAmerica it is always, at every moment, the mad and wayward hour when the princeis finding the little foot that alone fits into the slipper of glass. …Oursis a story mad with the impossible, it is by chaos out of dream, it began withdream and it has continued as dream down to the last headlines you read in anewspaper …”

FromA.Turnbull. Scott Fitzgerald

3. America’s greatest promise is thatsomething is going to happen, and after awhile you get tired of waiting becausenothing happens to American art because America is the story of the moon thatnever rose …

The young people in America are brilliantwith second-rate sophistication inherited from their betters of the war generationwho to some extent worked things out for themselves. They are brave, shallow,cynical, impatient, turbulent and empty. I like them not.

… America is so decadent that itsbrilliant children are damned almost before they are born… So we inheritedtwo worlds—the one for hope to which we had been bred; the One of disillusionwhich we had discovered early for themselves.

FromThe letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald

4. Money made this country, built its great and glorious cities, createdits industries, covered it with an iron network of rail-roads. It’s money thatharnesses the forces of Nature, creates the machine and makes it go when moneysays stop.

FromF. Scott. Fitzgerald. The Swimmers

5. According to Franklinian doctrine …, a man’s worth, or, if oneprefers, God’s election of man, is determined and demonstrated by his materialsuccess.

… Man was not a man until he had provenhimself by owning the world. In terms of identity one was no longer born ofwoman into a society where one found purpose and a place. Instead, onesymbolically gave birth to himself by becoming “worth his weight ingold”. Material things were their Own justification. No matter howsavagely fortunes were achieved, more possession of wealth and resources proved… that it was right and just that they should own the world.

From J. Gallahan The Illusions of a Nation

II

1. We were born to power and intense nationalism… We were told,individually and as a unit, that we we’re a race that could potentially lickten others of any genus.

FromF. Scott Fitzgerald. My Generation

2.A whole nation going hedonistic,deciding on pleasure. It was borrowed time anyhow—the whole upper tenth of anation living with the insouciance of grand dukes and the casualness of chorusgirls.

FromF. Scott Fitzgerald Echoes of the Jazz Age

3. All during the 1920s many, and perhaps most, of the serious Americanwriters felt like strangers in their own land. The country in those days wasbeing managed by persons for whom they felt a professional hostility. It wasthe age when directors’ meetings were more important than cabinet meetings andwhen the national destiny was being decided by middle-aged bankers andcorporation executives. These rulers of America, as they were called inmagazine articles, showed little interest in books or ideas. The few statementsthey made to the press were empty and pompous, yet the statements announcedone doctrine that was almost universally held. Americans should work longer andharder, produce always more, consume always more, save always more and investin the future of the country, which was in safe hands.

Apparently the doctrine was the secret ofAmerican prosperity. Year after year there were more factories employing moreworkers to produce more goods per man-hour, year after year there were moreautomobiles on the highways, bigger crowds and brighter lights on the mainstem, and in the suburbs more and more houses completely equipped with radios,mechanical refrigerators, vacuum cleaners and pop-up toasters. Year after yearthe advertising pages were becoming more shameless; they cajoled, tempted,flattered, bullied or frightened people into trading in or throwing awayeverything they had bought the year before, in order to win the envy of theirneighbors by acquiring, on easy monthly terms, the latest super-heterodyne, orsuper-powered, super-attractive model. Installment buying had plunged more andmore people into debt…

There seemed to be no reason why the wholeprocess of making, selling, servicing and discarding could not continueindefinitely at an always increasing speed. But writers complained that theprocess left very little time for reading. Writers complained that almost thewhole of American culture was becoming false and flimsy. The stage dealt withproblems that had no meaning in terms of daily life; the movies offered dreamsof impossible luxury to shop-girls; the popular magazines were merely vehiclesfor advertising and the popular newspapers effectively disfranchised theirreaders by failing to give them the information they needed as voters, whiledoping them with always bigger and brighter scandals. Worst of all, manywriters said, was the hypocrisy that had come to pervade the whole system, withbusinessmen talking about service when they meant profits, with statesmenproclaiming their love for the common man while taking orders from Wall Street(and sometimes money from oil operators, in little black bags) and withprohibition agents raiding one gang of bootleggers so that they could sell theseized liquor to another gang.

In those days everybody was in for themoney, everybody was hoping to make a killing and get away. The advertising men who served as priests and poets ofAmerican prosperity were the biggest cynics of all.

Writing about the late 1920s andremembering how disastrously they ended, one is tempted to dwell on everythingin those years that now seems ominous or frantic or merely ill directed. One saystoo little about other qualities of the period: its high spirits, itsindustriousness, its candor and its reckless freedom… We became part of thesystem we were trying to evade, and it defeated us from within, not fromwithout; our hearts beat to its tempo. We laughed too much, sang too much,changed the record and danced too hard, drank more than we intended, we fell inlove unwisely, quarreled without knowing why, and after a few years we were,in Zelda Fitzgerald’s phrase, “lost and driven now like the rest.”

The late 1920s were an age of islands,real and metaphorical. They were an age when Americans by thousands and tensof thousands were scheming to take the next boat for the South Seas or WestIndies, or better still for Paris, from which they could scatter to Majorca,Corsica, Capri or the isles of Greece.

Escape was the central theme of poems,essays, novels by the hundred. It was the motive underlying many types ofaction that seemed impulsive and contradictory. There was first the escape intoart,… and second there was the escape toward the primitive. People feltvaguely that the most oppressive features of modern civilization was itsbinding and falsifying of the natural instincts.

Indeed, it was in New York and other largecities that this escape into primitivism was carried farthest and assumed adozen different forms. It was expressed, for example, in the enthusiasm oftired intellectuals for Negro dances and music, the spirituals, the blues… Itwas similarly expressed in the omnipresent cult of youth, which seemed todepend on the notion that very young people are more simple, physical andinstinctive. It was expressed in the sort of body worship.

From M. Cowly. Exile’s Return

III

1. He is a sort of culture hero, and the story of Gatsby’s illusion, too.The bare outlines of his career—the upward struggle from poverty and ignorance;the naive aspirations toward refinement and the primal, ruthless energy ofthese aspirations; the fixation of these provincial soul upon a childlike notionof beauty and grace and the reliance upon material power as the single methodof satisfying his searching and inarticulate spirit—these are surely the elementsof a dominant cultural legend in its purest, most sympathetic form.

From M. Geismar. The Last of the Provincials

2. American writers like Stephen Crane, O’Henry, and Fannie Hurst, who knewNew York intimately, wrote only about its seamier, uglier aspects.

But Fitzgerald, in his first novel as wellas his early stories, limited himself exclusively to that tiny segment of thecity bordered by Times Square, Central Park, and the fashionable hoteland shopping districts. By concentrating on this “white sparklingcity”, most of which had sprung up during World War I decade, he created abrand-new image of New York in the popular consciousness.

The new uptown New York north ofForty-second Street was essentially a western city. It was this circumscribedbut Western image of New York—shimmering with the romance of unfulfilledpossibilities—that Fitzgerald celebrated for the first time in our fiction.

Almost every Sunday the society columnsand rotogravure sections of the New York newspapers carried accounts of wealthyyoung Midwesterners like the Buchanans who had moved to Long Island to enjoythe yachting, polo, and other expensive pastimes of the very rich. Thefinancial sections of the same papers almost as regularly reported themysterious appearance of Gatsby-like figures who had suddenly emerged from theWest with millions of dollars at their command. A typical example was CharlesVictor Bob, who turned up in Wall Street from Colorado, claiming to he theowner of tin mines in South America and copper mines in Canada. He spent moneylike water, throwing lavish parties for Broadway celebrities who had neverheard of him before, and selling gilt-edged mining securities. He was finallyindicted on a six-million-dollar mail fraud charge, but, in spite of theevidence, three successive juries refused to convict him.

From H. Piper. F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. It was Gertrude Stein who first appliedthe phrase “lost generation” to American writers of the 1920’s. Itwas lost, first of all, because it was uprooted, schooled away and almostwrenched away from its attachment to any region or tradition. It was lostbecause its training had prepared it for another world than existed after thewar. It was lost because it tried to live in exile. It was lost because itaccepted no older guides to conduct and because it had formed a false pictureof society and the writer’s place in it. The generation belonged to a periodof transition from values that had to be created.

They were seceding from the old and yetcould adhere to nothing new; they groped their way toward another scheme oflife, as yet undefined; in the midst of their doubts and uneasy gestures ofdefiance they felt homesick for the certainties of childhood. It was not byaccident that their early books were almost all nostalgic, full of the wish torecapture some remembered thing.

From M. Cowly. Exile’s Return

 

Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896—1940)

Was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and evenas a school-boy in St. Paul he was writing, and later at Princeton. In 1917 beleft Princeton for the army—but did not get to France—and wrote in his sparemoments. Then came, in 1920, This Side of Paradise—the first of bisnovels—followed by two volumes of short stories, and, at last, The Great Gatsbywhich alone would assure Scott Fitzgerald’s place among the writers of majorstature. He wrote three other novels: The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender isthe Night  and  The  Last Тусcооп (his last and unfinished work) and four volumes ofshort stories.

Фицджеральд Ф. С. Великий Гэтсби = GreatGatsby: Кн. для чтения на англ. яз. / Ф. С. Фицджеральд; Авт.-сост. А. В. Куценко. —М.: ООО «Издательство Астрель»: ООО «Издательство ACT», 2004.


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