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THE GREAT GATSBY, F Scott Fitzgerald
In your group, discuss and write answers to the following questions.
1. a) Why do you think Fitzgerald takes up two pages listing the names of people who attended Gatsby’s parties?
b) Look more closely at the names themselves. What do they suggest about the characters who attended the parties? (Note examples.)
2. What does Gatsby’s car suggest about Gatsby himself?
3. a) What was Nick’s impression of Gatsby when he first met him?
b) What is his impression after talking with Gatsby a few times?
4. Why does Nick have difficulty in believing Gatsby’s account of his life?
5. “With fenders spread like wings we scattered light through half Astoria”
Explain this image.
6. Explain the encounter with the policeman. What does this tell us about Gatsby?
7. The city of New York is described as rising up “in white heaps and sugar lumps built with a wish”, promising “all the mystery and the beauty in the world”.
How does Fitzgerald undermine this idyllic description? Why does he do so?
8. a) What kind of a character is Wolfshiem? (Make notes on his appearance, speech, personality, actions and what Gatsby says about him.)
b) What does Gatsby’s relationship with Wolfshiem tell us about Gatsby?
9. Why was Daisy drunk and upset on the eve of her wedding?
10. a) “He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendour”. What does Nick mean?
b) Why was Gatsby reaching out towards a green light the first evening Nick saw him?
c) Why does Gatsby want Daisy to visit Nick’s house?