The Great Gatsby: Scenes and Places

Jess Cave
Mind Map by Jess Cave, updated more than 1 year ago
Jess Cave
Created by Jess Cave over 5 years ago


A Level AS English Literature (Aspects of Narrative in Great Gatsby) Mind Map on The Great Gatsby: Scenes and Places, created by Jess Cave on 12/09/2014.

Resource summary

The Great Gatsby: Scenes and Places
1 Nick describes that he is squeezed between "two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season". This is indicative of him being caught in the middle of Gatsby and the Buchanan's emotional crossfire.
2 The rich have leisure time to worry about how they're perceived socially. They spend time conforming to a certain standard (like not wearing pink suits).
2.1 Fitzgerald also hints at the valley being the huge gulf between rich and poor. The valley is "vaguely disquieting" to Nick, suggesting he is uncomfortable with the moral decay it suggests. The spiritual barrenness of american society, the materialistic style of people.
3 East Egg is the wealthier of the two. Despite all his money, Gatsby lives in West Egg, suggesting he was not able to complete his transformation into a member of the social elite.
4 The distance that seperates Gatsby from Daisy isn't just the bay, its class as well.
5 The second contrast is the city scenes and the suburban ones. The city is used to hide Gatsby's dealings with Meyer Wolfsheim and Tom's affair with Myrtle. However they both leave what they truly care about behind on Long Island.
6 We open just after World War 1 in the roaring, glamorous twenties. Prohibition was in effect but behind closed doors alcohol was consumed daily.
7 Myrtle and George Wilson are set in the greying, destitute Valley of the Ashes. Fitzgerald didn't know this yet, but we do, that the excesses of the 1920's collapsed with the stock-market in 1929, leading to a much grayer life across the country, just like the lives of those in the V.O.A who endured the consequences of the decadence of those around and above them.
8 Although Gatsby's house is huge and lavish, it is tasteless, showing his lack of real sophistication. Nick sneers at this "Hotel de Ville". This suggests the house is inappropriatley grandiose for such a dwelling, an imitation, just like Gatsby himself. It is obviously new too, meaning it has no past heritage, something Tom mocks Gatsby for when he calls him "Mr Nobody from Nowhere".
9 The V.O.A--an industrial wasteland. Fitzgerald uses agricultural imagery to stress its barren nature: "a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens." The "spasms of bleak dust" that coated the men themselves in ash-grey depicts how even the people themselves are washed of all color.
9.1 The word "ashes" itself has connotations of penitence and humiliation, perhaps even death, cremation and destruction. Fire can destroy the grandest thing and leave only ashes behind.
10 Nick also describes George Wilson's garage as "unprosperous and bare", reflective of the owner and his prospects.
11 At first Nick embraces the freedom that life in New York seemed to offer but by the end of the novel, he is rejecting it. In the final chapter he admits that "even when the East excited me most...even then it always had a quality of distortion."
12 Nick describes a scene from one of his "fantastic dreams" in which four well-dressed men are carrying a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in a white evening dress whose "hands sparkle cold with jewels". They take her to the wrong house but no one knows her and no one cares, suggesting the heartlessness of New York and its moral vacuum. This is the society that attend Gatsby's parties but ignore his death.
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