Character – The Great Gatsby Exploration Task


Nick – Nick has a large role in this novel, not necessarily physically but he narrates the whole book, throughout it, it is obvious to the reader that his opinions of the subject matters change non-stop. In the beginning, he talks about how he would be non-judgemental “reserve all judgments” and not criticize the other characters but as the story proceeds, it becomes clear that this promise is harder for him to keep than it first seems to be. This allows us to easily be aware of how he changes. A person that his opinion on changes drastically is his cousin Daisy. When Nick first moves to Long Island, he was happy to live so close to people that he knew but by the end of the book, Nick thought of the Buchanans as heartless people who would do anything for high status and spotless reputation. Overall, Nick’s personality didn’t change much at all but his opinions of people did.

Gatsby – I don’t think that Gatsby changed much at all in the novel apart from the fact that before Nick, his hope of Daisy finding him was more distant, and, at one point he was alive, the next he was dead. Otherwise, the character of Gatsby stays reasonably the same throughout, from start to finish he held onto the hope of being with Daisy, no matter how small, it was the thing that kept Gatsby going. It almost seemed as though Gatsby died just as his hope should have when Daisy didn’t call.

Daisy – Daisy’s personality came across as carefree and leisurely when we first meet her, we realise that this was just a false identity she made for herself to appear that way when she really was a sad and almost depressed person, this is shown in her eyes as stated from the novel. Comparing this to the end of the book where she and Tom pack up and leave when Gatsby dies just like they did in Chicago when things weren’t going their way, she can be seen as a rose, although the first glimpse of her may seem beautiful, when you look more closely and peel away the layers, you reveal the thorns and faults.


When Gatsby gets shot and ultimately dies, it almost seems like – because he didn’t let his hope die like he should have when daisy didn’t ring, he took it’s spot and died in its place.

Ideas – The Great Gatsby exploration task

The inevitability of time – time is defined as an indefinite but continuing progress of existence (of the past present and future). It is also a measurement, with this measurement, things have the opportunity to grow apart and to fix this, and grow closer, more time is needed. In relation to the text, the five years separating gatsby and daisy is a considerable amount of time and it is obvious that gatsby wants to pick up where the two of them left off and that sounds easy for gatsby because in the whole novel gatsby’s world revolves around daisy, and everything he ever did was for her, but for daisy, she had made other unique memories and arrangements during the time between them that she can’t just forget about as gatsby is asking of her. This is evident when Nick and Gatsby are talking “You can’t repeat the past,” Gatsby replies, “Why of course you can.”  he honestly believes that he and Daisy can be like they once were and he can’t accept the fact that the time separating has made an impact on Daisy’s life which means that more time is needed for her to forget and grow away from them. Another factor regarding time is that it can’t be stopped or reversed no matter what happens, it will inevitably carry on forever and no one can do anything about it. This means that gatsby cannot get what he wants because gatsby wants to repeat the past with daisy which, as we know, can’t happen because we can’t time travel. This leaves Gatsby’s dream of being with Daisy growing more distant as time goes on because he can’t accept that she has had a relatively good life in the five years she had spent without him . “oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby. “I love you now – isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past.” She began to sob helplessly.”I did love him once – but I loved you too.” this quote proves the fact that Daisy has made some good memories over the five years and that she doesn’t want to go with Gatsby if it means that she will have to pretend that they never happened.

The myth of the american dream – fitzgerald’s novel of the great gatsby is filled with little hints of the american dream and how – in reality – the dream was not as amazing as it sounded, for example, when gatsby is in pursuit of his later life of money and a title, he goes through so many struggles and when he finally makes a place for himself in high society, he realises that many of the same struggles are still there. This gives the reader the idea that ‘the american dream’ is much like gatsby and daisy being together, because as much as this dream may be chased, it can never be caught this is because it is nonexistent and just an illusion that will forever trick people into pursuing which occurred to gatsby his is oblivious to. He doesn’t know that wherever he may go, the will always be some sort of struggle, big or small.

Setting – The Great Gatsby Exploration Task

East egg – “Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water” – I think that majority of East Egg hopes that the American dream will never be accomplished as they are the high end of society and they like to have more power over lower class citizens and be treated with more respect. I think that this is a reason why they let money be the priority in their lifestyle, so they have an advantage over people. These ideas are backed up by the fact that Daisy and Tom married for money and a good name rather than love and the way that they put their child on show and treated her like an object instead of a person.

West egg – “I lived at West Egg, the–well, least fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them.”, “Everyone in West Egg is a bootlegger” – The concept of the American dream of equality, opportunity, democracy, rights and liberty is not foreign to the people who call West Egg their home, I think that this is the area that strives the most to attain that kind of lifestyle. Also, Gatsby lives in this area which adds more depth in the idea that he isn’t so accepted in the high end living of East Egg and that he has had to pursue this dream to get where he is now – from rags to riches.

The Valley Of Ashes – “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.” – The Valley of ashes in The Great Gatsby is the most grotesque area which makes sense that it consists of the poorest people in the novel. The people living here seemed to be incapable of believing that the dream is attainable for them because they think it is impossible to go from having nothing to being happy in the situation they are in when they are clearly struggling. This is shown when it describes George Wilson as a spiritless man.

New York – “The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.” – as a whole, people perceive this place to be full of prosperous people living the american dream, but as you peel away the layers of society, you find that it is an image covering the struggle they are obtaining to hold on to this false identity, they are striving to obtain the American dream.New York portrays to the outside world what the american dream is supposed to look like as it is filled with people who seem to be making the most of what they have.

The Great Gatsby – chapter annotations




  • He’s known daisy for a long time, he bought a house across from the buchanans so daisy may realise that he lives there.
  • To add effect to there were so many people who Gatsby didn’t personally know very well but knew of. The text makes these people sound important which are, as we know, the kind of people that Gatsby likes to invite to his parties.
  • I don’t believe all of what Gatsby said about his life as the text made it seem that Gatsby seemed a bit guilty when he said it. I find Jordan’s story more realistic for Gatsby’s character as he doesn’t seem like an oxford man and I think Nick thinks this too.
  • To me, this side of Daisy makes her seem less shallow but not too much as she was still willing to give up on Gatsby.
  • I think that Nick means that these are the status of people in life as people are neither    



“Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had vanished forever”

  • Occurred – moment of clarity/reality
  • Colossal significance – something that matters a lot, big, immense, huge, mammoth, important
  • Gatsby realises that the light was never actually important in terms of symbolism of Daisy.
  • Forever – never going to come back
  • Vanished – if something truly vanishes it never existed. We see ‘vanishing tricks’ in a magic show which are just forms of illusion.


“It had seemed as close as a star to the moon, now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”

  • As a star – simile, in appearance it looks very close. In reality, it’s really really far away.Gatsby believes daisy to be “just across the bay” so not very far in distance. In reality there is a lot of time and life separating them.
  • Enchanted – Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy is like a spell. He is so fixated on her that it seems unreal or fantastic.

Creative passion = to create with intense emotion

  • Creative  = expressive, outside the box, inventive, innovative, imaginative.
  • Passion = love, affection, intensity, dedication, strong emotion

Gatsby has created the dream with Daisy. Even though he felt such strong and intense emotion for it. It’s still an illusion, not real.

Decking it – creating/designing

Bright feather – material object/opportunities.

Drifted – They came to him. Chance brings them. DRIFT make us think of driftwood which came by water and has no control over its course. Some of the things Gatsby has decked his life (illusion) with have come by chance – it is luck that has brought them to him but he has ensured that he has gathered up all of the driftwood – taken the opportunity.

Ghostly heart – Deathless song

Hinting at us that Gatsby dies and Daisy lives.


“ raw vigour that chafed.”

  • Raw vigour – strength/presence.
  • Chafed – rub

Daisy thinks that West egg has an uncomfortable/imitating presence.

  • Fitzgerald uses air quotes around place to indicate its not the physical place that counts but the vibe/nature that surrounds.

“Nothing to nothing”

  • Daisy didn’t have anything to look forward to and still doesn’t



“Her voice is full of money… That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money – that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals song of it… High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl…”

Her voice is full of money –

  • Powerful, valuable, attractive. Money is attractive.
  • Sounds like money – high society – posh – UK – confidence – vocab is sophisticated.
  • She has so much money but just does what she wants.
  • Part of why gatsby is so attracted to her as high society is all he has ever wanted.

Inexhaustible charm – You never get tired of it/it never runs out of charm

Jingle –

  • A bell
  • Coins
  • Advertisement have jingles
  • A jingle draws you in just like Daisy’s voice

Cymbals –

  • You hit it and it makes a crashing sound
  • Not always pleasant
  • It stands out

White –

  • Daisy’s colour

Palace –

  • A symbol of wealth

Golden girl –

  • Money
  • So good/perfect trophy

“They weren’t happy, and neither of them had touched the chicken or the ale and yet they weren’t unhappy either.and anybody would have thought they were conspiring together.”

Natural intimacy –

  • Very comfortable with each other
  • Comes easily, it’s how things are supposed to be
  • Love, sense of familiarity, honest, comfortable around the person
  • Tom and Daisy have a relationship that goes deeper than we initially thought.
  • Their status brings them together

Conspiring together –

  • Making a plan, this implies that daisy has told tom the truth and they are now making a plan.
  • They have a natural instinct to protect not only their image but each other

“He put his hands in his coat pockets and turned back eagerly to his scrutiny of the house, as though my presence marred the sacredness of the vigil. So I walked away and left him standing there in the moonlight watching over nothing.”

Sacredness of the vigil –

  • Gatsby believes in his future with daisy like people believe in god

Standing there in the moonlight watching over nothing –

  • We see gatsby in the moonlight reaching for the green light
  • Now we see him reaching for nothing
  • Nothing will make him give up on daisy even though there is now nothing going to happen between them, he still has hope because she is his life.


“Paid a high price for living too long with a single dream”

  • Gatsby did this
  • Single dream – life with Daisy
  • High price – death
  • Single – implies that Gatsby never had any other goals


“Shivered as he found out what a grotesque thing a rose is”

  • Grotesque – ugly/disgusting
  • Rose – link with Daisy, both names are flowers  – when you see a rose you don’t think of all of the thorns meaning that you just look at its beauty but really have no idea how dangerous it can be. Daisy is like a rose  and gatsby only sees the perfect and beautiful side in her and only at the last moment realises that she is damaging and dangerous and actually has a prickly an horrible personality.                                

“ A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about…”

  • A new world – gatsby creates this, he creates a new person
  • His life is there but is also not, he goes with his new self but it is not actually real. It was an illusion
  • Illusion of being with gatsby was like oxygen for him.

Chapter 4 – The Great Gatsby


  1. He’s known daisy for a long time, he bought a house across from the buchanans so daisy may realise that he lives there. I think that Gatsby lied about his wealth and that he went to Oxford.
  2. I think that Gatsby lists all of his guests to add effect that there were so many people who Gatsby didn’t personally know very well, but knew of. The text makes these people sound important which are, as we know, the kind of people that Gatsby likes to invite to his parties.
  3. I don’t believe all of what Gatsby said about his life as the text made it seem that Gatsby seemed a bit guilty when he was talking about his life and how he got to his position financially. I find Jordan’s story more realistic for Gatsby’s character as he doesn’t seem like an oxford man and I think Nick believes her over Gatsby on this topic too.
  4. To me, Jordan’s story of Daisy makes her seem less shallow but not too much as she was still willing to give up on Gatsby. This makes sense though because after 5 years she would have thought that he was out of her life forever.
  5. I think that when Nick makes his statement of the pursued and the pursuing etc, he means that these are the status’ of people in life as people are never just happy with their lives and there is always something wrong or happening.


The 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. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an
invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash−gray men swarm up
with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.
But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a
moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg.
       – on the way to New York.
      – shrink implies that the road wants to pull away from this area but can’t go far, it’s “creeped” by it. Desolate means bleek emphasis, not much happening, it’s unpleasant, the area doesn’t produce or grow.
     – valley = hole like        ashes = burnt out, dying       NY and other surrounding areas dump their ashes from their fires there.
     – Farm, grow garden – all imply life. however, Fitzgerald states that ashes are growing into things you might normally find on a farm. he also says the gardens are grotesque; ugly, disgusting, repulsive.
     – ashes are forming everything. they are the things that are growing and therefore fitzgerald is trying to illustrate that the feeling of being burnt out has taken over this place.
     – the people live in a world where this is there everyday. above and beyond the range of a normal person’s experiences.
     – worn out, tired
     – you’re going to break, pressure, stress

The Great Gatsby – Chapter 1

  1. give a recount of the events in the opening chapter

In the first chapter of The Great Gatsby, we meet four main characters, these are Nick – the narrator, Daisy Buchanan – Nick’s second cousin once removed, Tom Buchanan – Daisy’s husband and former football player at New Haven(yale) and Miss(Jordan) Baker – a family friend of the Buchanans. Nick is in the early stages of being a bondsman and recently moved to West egg, Long Island of New York State, living in a small house next to a mansion belonging to a mysterious man named Gatsby. Nick goes to dinner with his extended family, the Buchanans who live on the East Egg and it is there he meets Miss Barker, a young lady who knows of his neighbour Gatsby who he has not yet meet. that night he finds out about Tom and his affair which Daisy too knows and of the Buchanan’s daughter who is spoken about as if she is an item rather than a person.


2.Make a list of at least 5 words used to characterize Daisy, Tom and Jordan Baker. Explain what impression these words helped you form.

Tom Buchanan: sturdy, supercilious, arrogant, dominant, gruff. These words that describe Tom make me think of him to be a well built man who likes to think of himself as someone who possesses power over others.

Daisy Buchanan: conscientious, charming, thrilling voice, sad face(expression), gay (happy). Daisy seems to be a light minded and light hearted woman but, underneath all of the happiness she is sad and this is indicated by the expression she showed on her face.

Jordan Baker: chin raised, motionless, self-sufficiency, charming, rapid movements. The impression I get from Miss Baker is that she was brought up to be very proper and reserved and that she likes the thought of being an independant woman.


3.Explain your first impression of Nick. Do you think he will be a reliable narrator? Justify your answer with evidence from the text.

My first impression of Nick, the narrator, is; he seems to be a very indecisive character for example, when he describes a certain character to the reader he will use a set of words that totally contradict each other which can be confusing to get a good idea of what the person really is like. He also likes to talk about the characteristics when describing something/one, rather than telling the reader the basics of what they look like and what their different features are etc.I thought that Nick would be a good narrator because he said “I’m inclined to reserve all judgments.” but after reading through chapter one it became quite clear that Nick was giving us his opinion on

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