Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gatsby Fishbowl: Chapter 1


Welcome to the world of Gatsby! This is your forum for discussion--a place to show what was going through your mind while reading Chapter 1 and to explore what new ideas and epiphanies the inner circle is sparking for you.


Your goal is to participate both thoughtfully and frequently. Remember to hit the F5 key to refresh. Enjoy!

102 comments:

amyw said...

The end of this chapter really confused me. Does anyone have any insight about what it might mean?

maddief said...

So, what do you guys think of the character Daisy? I absolutely loathe her haughty attitude, but I kind of think that that's just an act she puts on. She seems to be really hurt by her husband's affair. Who knows, maybe she'll actually prove to be pretty deep.

ParkerH said...

I don't know about anyone else, but I hated Daisy, and disliked Tom. The narrator was fine though. Does anyone else feel like that, or something else completely?

rachels said...

amy w - I'm not sure what the ending meant. I think it's meant to be kind of unclear and we'll learn more about Gatsby and whatever he was staring at later in the book. Does anyone have any ideas about what it might mean?

alexf said...

Do you think that Daisy will react or respond in any particular way to Tom’s affair? For example, will she also cheat on him, run away, etc. ?

amyw said...

maddief---I think she tries to act blase for her husband. I think she's kind of witty sometimes though, and deep down she seems to have a big heart and be friendly. You're right, she just acts different for her husband.

KiraW said...

Did any of you feel like Daisy was a very young girl? She seems to really draw out her emotions making her seem younger.

MattN said...

maddie~ I totally agree! She angers me so much! I have so many comments on how she is so similar to the wife in Macomber! Married for money, not love and she is absolutely ignorant about the world! Do you think that she will break off her marriage because of the affair?

morgant said...

Amy- I was kind of confused too... Gatsby seems to be a character that everybody knows about yet he keeps to himself. I don't really know what to think of it.

EmilyJ said...

maddief- I agree, but does Daisy even know about the affair with her husband? Because she never actually says anything about it, all she does is run after him when he answers the phone. If she did know, why are they still married and living together? I'm confused about their relationship.

maddief said...

Hey Amyw! Yeah, I was wondering about the end of the chapter too. I think that the narrator is just trying to introduce us to Mr. Gatsby, and give the reader a little insight into his character. For a man who seems to have it all, I feel like the fact that he's so obsessed with looking at the sky suggests that he's searching for something. That or he's so haughty he thinks that even the sky belongs to him!

meganu said...

I think Daisy is a very interesting character. Like Maddie, I thought she was just putting on a show for everyone else with her 'haughty attitude'. Daisy might just be a character to track. Maybe her whole attitude towards everything means something greater.

Oliviak said...

maddief
I am not sure about the character Daisy, I think that she acts the way she does because she is trying to satisfy the gender rules society has placed on her.

roser said...

Ok did anyone else get a really weird vibe from the women? Daisy seemed like she was covering up secrets, and both just seemed almost sarcastic to me....

MattN said...

What are your feelings on Ms. Baker? She seems stuck up and that she really is not interested in Nick, the narrator at all!

rachels said...

ParkerH - I agree but I extremely disliked Tom and didn't feel very strongly about Daisy. The narrator seemed a little hypocritical though. After going on about how important it is to not criticize or judge people he seemed pretty judgemental of the Buchanans, Tom especially.

melissaz said...

I have a passage I wanted to start with, here Nick is describing Daisy: "Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth-but there was an excitment in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion..." (Fitzgerald 14). I thought this quote was interesting because the whole paragraph he discusses how unique she is, how bright and cheerful she seems, but he throws in the word "sad" in the very begining, never bringing that point up again. Did anyone else notice this? What was this foreshadowing/what did this mean?

jordans said...

@MaddieF~ I actually feel bad for Daisy because it think her husband’s neglect and emptiness causes her to act out and seek attention she craves. I think she is putting on a mask of wealth to hide deeper problems because she has money but she can’t access the emotion and relationships she craves.

amyw said...

alexf---I think Daisy will stay. Nick mentioned that it seemed like she should have "taken the child and ran away but she'd never do any such thing" (that's not the exact quote). She acts around her husband like she doesn't care about the affair, and it seems like she'll stay.

whitneys said...

maddief - At first I hated the character of Daisy, but I am starting to like her more and more. I think she is hurt by her husband's affair and that she will end up cheating on him. However, in the way that Nick describes her, you have to like her personality because you know poeple who just absolutley draw you in.

delaney n said...

I can't decide how I feel about Daisy. I dislike her in a way because I am astounded the way she acts and what she puts up with from Tom. And not only does she put up with Tom's nonsence, she turns it around and takes his attitude upon herself. On the other hand, I'm sympathetic for Daisy because she has to suffer her husband's disloyalty. Maybe she just isn't strong enough to do anything about it.

mollyd said...

alex- I am actually surprised that Daisy has not responded to Tom's affair at all. She just seems to sort of accept it even though she wishes it did not exist, but if I were her I would definitely react or say something to Tom.

kennaw said...

AlexF~ I think Daisy will respond to Tom's affair but not suddenly. I don't think she will purposely have her own affair to get revenge or have one in general on purpose, but I think she were to ever come across another man she wanted to have an affair with, that she would.

KiraW said...

Alex~ I think that I can see something like that happening. So far this book seems like a huge reflection on the life of Fitsgerald. His wife had an affair and although it was later in time, it is possible that she had not always been true to him. I think that she seems like her whole life was an act.

roser said...

EmilyJ-Yeah I think Daisy knows, and what's more doesn't seem to care too too much...I brings me back to Fitzgerald and his relationship with Zelda

meganu said...

Alex - Since Fitzgerald kind of writes about his life within his books, do you think that Daisy could possibly already be having secret affairs that we, as readers, don't know about yet?

amyw said...

mattn---I noticed that both Miss Baker and Daisy tried to put on an act like they didn't care much about anything. Not mean, just detached.

morgant said...

Kenna- I most definitely agree with you on that one! I feel like if she did come across another man that she would fall in love with or whatever she would considering what Tom is doing.

shannanp said...

A theme that I noticed throughout the first chapter was that of loneliness. The narrator talks about how he didn't feel lonely when he was a guide to the man seeking directions and then he felt alone when he noticed Gatsby and then saw him vanish and he was once again alone.

Did anyone else recognize the theme of loneliness and what do you think it means to the story or foreshadows for future events?

alexf said...

Parker H and MaddieF ~
I actually felt that Daisy was a fine character, and that she was just having an internal struggle because of her husband’s affair. I thought that she was just trying to build up other relationships (like with the narrator and her friend) so that if her and her husband split, she would have a base to bounce back from. What made you hate her?

Did anyone else not like the husband at all! I thought that he was very pushy and demanding, just like when he said, (page 19 of the non-gold band edition) “Did you give Nick a little heart-to-heart talk on the veranda?” I felt that that was just so rude and sudden that it was completely unnecessary!

maddief said...

Matt, I feel like she doesn't want to break it off. She seems to be aware of its existence, but hasn't taken any action yet. Honestly, I think she's still in love with her husband. Maybe it's like Fitzgerald's relationship, where even though they were in affairs, they still remained married.

mollyd said...

Matt- To me Ms.Baker seems snooty and selfish. She just seems to live life for the adventure of it. I am curious to know if anything happens between her and Nick.

rachels said...

I actually liked daisy i mean sure she had a cluts like personality but it seemed to me like she could have been smart and such she was just sucked out of it almost by being a girl, i didn't think it was her fault.

whitneys said...

EmilyJ - After watching the biography of Fitzgerald, I am connecting the character of Daisy to Zelda and himself. It is a mixture of both because Zelda had an affair but she stil loved Fitzgerald, and maybe Daisy still loves Tom despite his affair. Also, they have a child which connects them in a way.

KateP said...

melissaz- That passage stood out to me too. I think that Daisy is very odd, and she is really hard to read. Maybe it could have something to do with Tom cheating on her, but she tries to hide this with the way she speaks, always acting excited.

melissaz said...

Rachel and Amy- I was left wondering about Gatsby, but I also felt sort of at peace as well. To me I imagine Gatsby as a highly respected man in a well known family, but he stays secluded from the rest of the world. He has probably done some great things but that was in his solitude. I see him as a mysterious character, waiting to unfold for Nick.

But I do think you are right, this will make more sense probably as the book continues.

jordans said...

Why do you think Daisy said so little about her child? It seems to me that she talked more about herself maybe to conceal something or to deal with something.

morgant said...

Did anybody notice the comparisons throughout the chapter over East and West Egg? Kind of like Hannah said in the inner circle, I think it was more comparing the people living there against each other. I felt there were more things being compared then just the living conditions.

roser said...

Delaney-I am getting those gut reactions too, but she just seems too too shady for me to symphathize...like her behavior almost sarcastic and too cool for school

ParkerH said...

When the narrator says "to the wingless (humans) a more arresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size", that set me thinking. It seems that whenever there's a division between two similar things, there's an extreme difference in the human aspect of the two. Even if they're not that similar, the "south side" will be a ton different than the "north side", or whatever the seperation may be.

amyw said...

Did anyone else notice how Daisy seemed almost at times like she was making fun of Tom, especially when they were talking about the book he had read?

AustinD said...

@Rose: I got a really funky vibe from Daisy (really both of them, but mostly her). Daisy seems really over emotional and, as a result, childish and a bit hyper. It feels to me like Daisy has a secret to hide...

sabrinad said...

Rose-
I agree I think the women are very strange. First of all I dont understand why Miss Baker is staying with Tom and Daisy. She seems very out of place. I also think that she and the narrator are going to get together dispite their very different views. As for Daisy- Im not even sure what to think. At times I feel she is very heartless and uncaring just in life for the ride. Then at other times I feel she really cares and wants more and believes she could do better than what she has done.

I also dont understand why their daughter is not with them. Does anyone know why she is not a part of their lives?

whitneys said...

Alexf - I HATED THE HUSBAND!!! I did not think he was a good character at all. I did not like the way he treated daisy and it seemed like he did not even really care.

kennaw said...

MelissaZ~ I highlighted that quote in my book! I feel that it also contradicts her attitude. I think that the reason he involves the word sad is because although she may put on a pretty and happy face, she truly is unhappy. But, she doesn't have the confidence to do anything about how she feels. I also think the main reason she is unhappy is because of her marriage. Maybe she feels that she isn't good enough for Tom which can make her insecure about herself.

shannanp said...

RachelS-I think that we definitely will learn more about Gatsby. Because he is so mysterious to us, his first actual appearance and dialouge will be that more enticing. I also think that just like the narrator, he is lonely and looking for someone to fill the void of never marrying and always being alone.

EmilyJ said...

roser- Yeah I can definitely seems some similarities with Daisy and Tom and F. Scott and Zelda. It's like their hiding something, or they are unsure how they feel about each other. Or maybe they do despise each other, but they just don't know what to do about it because they are still in love... if that makes sense. This just confuses me because they don't seem to care.

amyw said...

jordans---It almost seemed like Daisy had a detachment from her child. We didn't meet her child, and she didn't say much about it to Nick. I think it's meant to show that she doesn't really have a connection with her kid.

roser said...

Jordan-Yeah that's intresting, you would think a mother would have more pride in her child. It makes me think she is selfish.

Oliviak said...

Jordan maybe it is because it is just her child and not Tom's so talking about her child around Tom my create tension. She also may not be attached to her child. But it is wierd that she doesn't talk about the child.

rachels said...

So to me the whole first chapter was about social classes and compitition between them. From the first page it talked about how some people are not as blessed as you, and then tom and daisy are rich and there always is comp to be the best. Also it seems to me like the narrator wanted to expirence the life that his fater was talking about, where people were not blessed from birth...

delaney n said...

Shannon- I saw a theme of lonliness as well, but often times I felt that the lonliness of the characters was being concealed for some reason or another.

Throughout the chapter I found myself feeling bad for each character for some reason or another. Did anyone else get this feeling?

KiraW said...

Do you see a relationship between the life of Gatsby and of Daisy and Tom? I think that they are catagorized as "rich" yet it seems like Gatsby is really reflective on life yet Daisy and Tom are just going through the motions spending their money where ever they want.

ParkerH said...

Rachels-
Yeah, I forgot the "extremely" in front of the "dislike Tom". Oops. And yeah, he did get a little judgemental, but Tom was one of the most judgemental people I've seen in a while. That sort of extreme racism is pretty bad. Do they even think these things through? It defies all logic, it seems to me.

mollyd said...

Jordan- I thought it was weird as well that the child was only mentioned briefly. We never acutally meet the child and I am just curious as to where she is. I don't know if there is something hidden or not but it is definitely worth an interesting thought.

KateP said...

jordans- I noticed that too, she only mentions that her child is sleeping. It is kind of like how Fitzgerald's and Zelda's child wasn't metioned at all towards the end of the movie.

maddief said...

Alex- I totally agree. Her husband seems like a stuck-up bully. He ignores his wife and answers a phone call from his mistress at dinner; in front of company and his wife no less. This is why I don't really blame Daisy for her rather immature attitude. It's her way of coping with the pain of her husband cheating on her. I also think that she hides her strong feelings for him behind jokes because she doesn't want to face rejection.

MattN said...

JordanS: I noticed that as well! It doesn't make very much sense to me! Are they ashamed because their marriage might break off? but it seems very strange!

rachels said...

morgant - agreed I think the constrast between the east and west eggs are meant to show the small and unimportant distinctions people create for each other and themselves. The east egg seems like it has people who are born into their wealth, while the west egg has people who earned it and are eager to flaunt it (shown through Gatsby's huge mansion). The first group is seen as "fashionable" while the second is not.

kennaw said...

Everyone~

I agree with everyone who thinks Daisy and Tom are related to Fitzgerald and Zelda, but I thought Zelda had an affair with another man before Fitzgerald had an affair with another woman, so why is the story backwards?

alexf said...

I just feel like Daisy is handling her husband’s affair in a very strange way. To me, she just seems to be really “spazzy” if you know what I mean. For example, she jumps around talking about her husband’s affair, and then her child, and then hooking the narrator and Miss Baker up. She also gets back from having the “conversation” with her husband, that she almost forces conversation at the dinner table in a very strange and awkward way. Did anyone else feel this way?

melissaz said...

Rachels- I agree. I understand where Daisy comes from. I think that they are in a marraige where they really don't know a thing about each other, and rather facing the facts, she has learned to act as though nothing is wrong. She has learned to become an interesting person, a person that makes people, especially men, want to listen to what she has to say, even though she very often doesn't say anything with meaning. I think this attribute comes from wanting attention from her husband, and not getting that, so she wants to make others interested in her to fill this void.

This was just what I thought about her. I can see why she is the way she is.

amyw said...

rachels---I think F. Scott Fitzgerald was preoccupied with social classes throughout his life. His first love wouldn't marry him because he wasn't rich, and Zelda almost didn't for the same reason. Then they lived among the rich in the Jazz Age and on the French Riveria, etc. Since social standing and being rich was so prevalent in his life, I think it ended up showing through in his work.

EmilyJ said...

Whitneys- I defintely agree with you. That is a good point about how the two couples connect. Maybe Fitzgerald was trying to express how he felt about Zelda through Daisy and Tom. They just cannot seem to leave each other even though there is an affair going on. I also agree with you on their child connecting them; that would make it almost impossible for them to separate, especially since she is only 3 years old.

Oliviak said...

I kind of get the feeling that the narrator is kind of lost and is trying to find his purpose in the world. He just feels that there is more to life then money and maybe he is trying to open the world and not see things through just one window.

jordans said...

KateP ~ I think the connection you had to Fitzgerald and Zelda and how their relationship dominated any kind of relationship from their child in aspects of life.

whitneys said...

To those talking about her child - I seemed to get the feeling that Daisy wanted to talk about her child but Tom did not. So its more of like Tom does not want the reminder that he can't divorce his wife because he can't leave her with the child.

Do you think Tom and Daisy really love each other?

shannanp said...

MelissaZ-
I think that at the end Daisy is regarded as sad because of the fact that she leads a posh life on the outside, but a tragic on the inside. I think that Fitzgerald is trying to warn the readers of this book of that type of lifestyle because even though she is so unique, she is tortued on the inside.
I also cannot help but to compare Daisy and Zelda because of the fact that they are both just seeking worldy things and losing unworldy things such as true love and ability to be happy with little.

roser said...

Sabrina-Yeah that's wierd that their own child is almost neglected by them. It shows me that they are too good for others, like the husbands mistress is more important then his wife's feelings.

alexf said...

MaddieF~
I agree completely! But can you give me a quick example of how Daisy acted immature? (I must have took on a completely different meaning because I never got the feeling that she was immature).

amyw said...

Why doesn't Daisy seem outwardly angry about Tom's affair? Even Miss Baker was nonchalant about it; all she said was that he had a woman in New York and she should have the decency not to call during dinner. Both her and Daisy seemed to have this blithe unconcern about it. Why is this?

KateP said...

amyw- I agree with you. In the beginning of the book Nick keeps talking about things that his dad had told him when he was growing up. Even though his quotes may be true, he seems very arrogant.

mollyd said...

Whitney- I think that Daisy might love Tom but Tom does not completely love Daisy. He may care for her but he still feels the need to go and have another woman.

maddief said...

Jordan and Olivia, those were really interesting comments about the kid. If the daughter is the result of an affair on Daisy's part, it makes sense that she'd want to avoid conversation about her. Didn't the Fitzgeralds have a nanny for their daughter? Maybe it's a situation like that. If Tom is a representation of F. Scott, then how does he view himself as a father?

sabrinad said...

Jordan-
That was my question too. I don't think the baby is actually with them at the moment. And did Tom actually say he had never even seen the child. From the discription of the birth it made it sound like he was not present. Maybe this is when he was having an affair. I've noticed that married men in books often have affairs when their wives have children. I think this may be because they fear the commitment, if this is true, do you think that the baby is out of the picture because Tom doesnt want commitment?

meganu said...

Whitney - I think Tom and Daisy have the same kind of marriage that Fitzgerald and Zelda did. I think they really did love eachother underneath it all, they just became corrupted by their marraige and pretty much life in general. Like the discussion we had yesterday about the aspects of a love story, Tom and Daisy reflect Fitzgerald and Zelda almost perfectly.

rachels said...

amy w - agreed!

shannan - I think the narrators visit with Tom and Daisy was meant in part to show that people will have problems and conflicts in their lives no matter how hard they try to cover it up with their affected disinterest or wealthy lifestyles.

amyw said...

This book was probably almost revolutionary in its time because it showed that the rich have problems too that money can't solve (Tom's affair, Daisy's detachment from her child).

ParkerH said...

Whitney-
I don't know about you, but last time I checked people are getting divorced all the time, regardless of the age of their kids. The kids could be 2, 15, or 53, but the parents still have no qualms about it. Maybe there is the time difference, but still. He can walk away if he wants, or maybe take the kid with him. I think he'd find a way if he really wanted to.

KiraW said...

Did anyone else think that the child is real? Do you think that sleeping of the child could be like the sleeping life that they are living in?

delaney n said...

Kenna- I think that the story is backwards because Fitzgerald wanted to portray the other side of the story in his novel. Since he already had to suffer his wife having an affair, it is possible that he was unable to do it again, even if it is in a book. Also, maybe he is trying to get revenge on Zelda somehow by making Daisy feel the pain that Fitzgerald had to suffer.

Oliviak said...

molly your comment about the relationship of tom and Daisy reminds me of the relationship of Fitzgerald.

rachels said...

mellisa- I totally agree about daisy. I think that daisy has learned to be so attractive to men in order to try to be heard, it's seems that it may have deen the only way for people to listen to her.

melissaz said...

Ok, Ms. Leclaire brought in a comparison people make to Zelda and Daisy. Running with this idea, does anyone actually see how Daisy may have some mental issue? I could be reading way to much into it, but she doesn't seem to be "all there". In this passage, she seems like she is in her own little world, " 'In two weeks it'll be the longest day in the year.' She look at us all radiantly. 'Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it' "(Fitzgerald 16). On this whole page the dialoge seems odd to me, and especially what Daisy says. Did anyone else see that?

Also, another comparison, the child in Fitzgerald and Zelda's life took a back seat, just as the baby in this book. Another similarity?

AustinD said...

@Amy: I guess that is her way of masking her sadness. The quote that was just brought up by the inner circle explains this well. She was proved to be the fool by Tom, so she still feels regret, but she is just hiding it.

MattN said...

KennaW~I made that connection as well! I think that it might just be a different version of telling the same story, but i feel that the one who had the first affair, has the most power in the relationship! Zelda kept Scott with her and the man will do the same thing!

alexf said...

KennaW~
I think that the story seems “backwards” because even though Nick was friends with Tom, he was RELATED to Daisy, so there is more empathy for her. Therefore, whoever the reader empathizes with (whoever F.S.F made the reader empathize with) gets cheated on. So, because F.S.F was cheated on, he felt bad for himself. I don’t necessarily think that it has to do with gender, but rather whichever character is more prominent gets cheated on. Do you know what I mean?

KiraW said...

Amy, I think that the reason that the women really don't care that Tom was having the affair is because he they were really not in love. I think that they drove it to that point, so they needed to learn how to exept it.

alexf said...

Can anyone give me an example of how Daisy acted foolish? I must have taken a completely different perspective and now I am confused!

roser said...

Kiraw-Yeah thats a good thought, this so called kid seems nonexistent...You would think both parents, esp. the mother of all people, would babble on about her child

melissaz said...

Delaney- I totally got the loneliness feeling from every character. They all seemed sad, and I also felt a sort of compassion for each person. They all had different struggles, but deep down seemed truly unhappy. I completely understand what you were noticing.

shannanp said...

Delaney-
Didn't you think it was weird that the narrator only mentioned the absence of loneliness? However, he was surrounded by people who seeked company like he did when he was with Daisy, Tom and Miss Baker and never mentioned feeling less lonely.

maddief said...

Alex, maybe immature's not the right word. ^_^ I just got that impression by the way she complained about things, like the candles on the table. She also pouted when Tom accidentally bruised her knuckle, although that's kind of understandable. So I feel like these little flounces are to hide the pain she's experiencing from Tom's affair. I hope that kind of makes sense.

EmilyJ said...

MelissaZ- Yeah I noticed that too! It would make sense that Daisy has a mental issue, especially with the info you provided about the days of the year. Also, it kind of connects because wouldn't that make it a lot easier for her husband to cheat on her? Maybe she doesn't fully understand the situation and that's why she doesn't seem to be too outspoken about it.

amyw said...

alexf---I didn't think she acted foolish; at least I didn't view it that way. The facade she put on was of someone that's been everywhere and seen everything; basically a jaded person. I didn't really see any foolishness...

ParkerH said...

Alex-
In my edition (the not golden one), on page 11, she says both "Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it," and then later "All right. What'll we plan? What do people plan"?
Does that help?

alexf said...

What role do you think Miss Baker will play in the story? She just seemed very awkward throughout the entire first chapter! And it was just really random when Daisy wanted to fix her and Nick up. And foreshadows?

amyw said...

alexf---I think Miss Baker is a method of foreshadowing. She doesn't seem like she has a purpose yet, but she will.

mollyd said...

Alex- I think Nick may be interested in Ms.Baker but I don't know how interested she is so I am not sure what may come of that.

MattN said...

AlexF: I think Miss baker will be the key component in keeping Nick over at his friends house so often. And he will have lots of stresses and inputs on their relationship! And he totally will fall in love with her!

alexf said...

To all who responded:
I understand how she could be seen as foolish or any other similar word that corresponds, but does anyone think that her “strangeness” and “spazziness” is because it’s her way of coping with her husband’s affair? Maybe she’s just trying to keep her mind off the affair?!

marissas said...

This is my make-up blog.

@maddie & parker- I actually like Daisy. I just think she acts the way she does because she needs love. She cares what others think of her so she acts like her husband's affair doesn't have an effect on her. She uses him and their artificial love to mask the pain she feels.

@shannon- I did notice the theme of lonliness in the chapter. I think that every character is struggling to truly know who they can trust and all they want is love. It would be difficult to deal with everyone including your own spouse having an affair, and even if they really do love someone else, it still hurts to have someone cheat on you. I can imagine that must cause extreme lonliness in and of itself.

@whitney- I agree. I hated Tom as well. I think that all he wants is control. He wants to keep Daisy as a wife as a safety. He wants commitment from her but doesn't give it himself. He seems power-hungry, and very shallow.