May 17 2018
Socratic Seminar: The Great Gatsby
a. The title of the book is a metaphor of Gatsby. He serves as this grand illusion of a
great and larger-than-life character as portrayed by the gossip and rumors at his
b. As far as Nick is concerned, Gatsby is truly great. Even at the end of the novel
when his pretentions to wealth and social status have been revealed as fraudulent,
to Nick, Gatsby is still a better person than Daisy, Tom and everyone else. Gatsby
has been a true friend to Nick, and Nick is keen that Gatsby understands that this
is more valuable than any amount of wealth or than having been able to pretend
he had gone to Oxford.
c. Nick said this quote after his many encounters with Gatsby, once he finally
realized that Gatsby was pure of heart. Nick was initially (and justifiably)
doubtfuland suspicious of Gatsby, a shady “entrepeneur”, made rich by an
unspoken (criminal) means whose life goal was to win over the wife of another
man. However, by the end of the novel Nick concluded that Gatsby had gone
through all this trouble and became who he was so that he could hopefully one
day win back the love of his life, Daisy. Meanwhile, Nick also figured out by then
the disdain he had for the other people he had met and associated with. His
cousin, Daisy, was exposed to him as vain and simplistic womanwho wants
security and a lifestyle over true love. The rest of Nick’s squad was also exposed
to be vain, money oriented and superficial. Everyone who had attended Gatsby’s
parties and associated with him never did so out of true friendship, but rather out
of selfishness and their desiresto be associated with money and high end parties.
d. Though Gatsby has always wanted to be rich, his main motivation in acquiring his
fortune was his love for Daisy, whom he met as a young military officer in
Louisville before leaving to fight in World War I in 1917. It’s clear that since his
motivations were for love, it makes us like Gatsby and be capable of overlooking
some of the mistakes that he had made in his lifetime.
e. Gatsby becomes a representation of America itself: restless, resourceful and
active. It’s those qualities, along with his determination, that we give American
heroes, like Ben Franklin and George Washington. Like a child, Gatsby retains a
kind of innocent quality.
f. In my opinion, Gatsby is not great. I see the title as reflecting what he wanted to
think of himself as being - the image he had cultivated and wa trying to present to
the rest of the world. If I had to rename the novel with the same structure but
more accurate, I would title it The Delusional Gatsby.
a. the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve
success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.
b. While Gatsby’s story arc resembles a traditional rags-to-riches tale, the fact that
he gained his money immorally complicates the idea that he is a perfect avatar...