The Great Gatsby: Chapters 3-5

Please forgive me for being late again with the discussion post although I don’t really have an excuse besides being lazy…and my coworkers getting me to watch Downton Abbey.  (Downton Abbey!!!!!  I WILL blog about this soon.  It’s so good!!)

So today we are discussing last week’s reading of chapters 3-5.  Want a recap?  John Green to the rescue!  FYI:  After about minute 4, he goes into more of the book and the book in general.  Minor, minor spoilers, but watch/listen at your own risk.

Or to be super, super brief…
Chapter 3:  Gatsby’s party, Nick’s introduction to Gatsby and hanging out with Jordan
Chapter 4:  Nick’s trip into NYC with Gatsby and Jordan’s revelation about a Gatsby-Daisy connection
Chapter 5:  Gatsby-Daisy reunion

A few things before discussion Q’s.

Anybody else seen the 1974 film besides me?  We watched it in high school after we read the novel, and I will forever (?  or at least until the new movie) picture Robert Redford as Gatsby.

Oheka Castle

Gatsby’s house was inspired by Oheka Castle, built by financier and philanthropist Otto Kahn between 1914 and 1919.

Buchanan house

Buchanan house

Daisy and Tom’s house is said to be inspired by this house in Sands Point, NY that was demolished last year.  If you check out the article which has more interesting photos, apparently Fitzgerald was occasionally seen drinking on the patio.

On to the discussion questions!

-What did you think of Gatsby’s party?

-Now that we’ve officially met Gatsby, what do you think of him?  Thus far in the story, do you think he’s earned the name “Great Gatsby”?

-What do you think about Nick’s assessment of himself at the end of Chapter 3:  “Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.”

-Did your opinion of Daisy change after hearing Jordan’s story and seeing her with Gatsby?  Why/why not?

-What did you think about Daisy and Gatsby’s reunion?

Feel free to discuss any/all/none of these and anything you want in the comments!  Next time we’ll discuss chapters 6 and 7 (hopefully on time!).

– Jill


6 Responses to “The Great Gatsby: Chapters 3-5”

  1. 1 Amber February 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Oh yes, I 100% remember the movie with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow! Mia Farrow is so lovely. I think I connect her more with Daisy, than I do Robert Redford and Gatsby. Also, side note: so I decided to look at the wikipedia page for The Great Gatsby (always fascinating) and at the bottom they list all the film adaptations–so many! I seriously thought the 70’s version was the only one, silly me! The two that surprised me most? The lost silent film version that was produced just a few years after the book, and a made-for-tv version starring Paul Rudd. We gotta get our hands on that!

    I’m going to let Lindsay and Jen answer most of the discussion questions first, since I already liked both Nick and Daisy so my opinion of them hasn’t changed at all!

    I will say that my absolute dream is to attend a Gatsby-like party once in my life! I want a sparkly, slinky dress (anything that was worn in The Artist) and I want to see everyone dancing and having a fabulous time and I want to not really know the host so the whole thing feels quite daring and I want to feel absolutely giggly and giddy and shimmy at strangers. I say, the 99% would feel less bitter and hopeless if the 1% just invited us to their parties once in awhile. Did you guys see This Old House last week (I realize that it is a very probable possibility that I am the only Nerdgirl who DVRs This Old House….)? Anyway they are redo-ing a house in Rhode Island, so Kevin took us on a tour of a Newport Mansion. GAH! The fuse box? Yeah, it was an Italian marble wall with inlaid with custom expensive-looking switches! I would happily dance in front of those fancy electrical switches.

  2. 2 ngtjennifer February 22, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I’m pretty sure I have seen the Redford/Farrow version at some point in my life, but as I am reading it now, I totally picture Toby Stephens as Gatsby. Yes Amber, Toby Stephens played Gatsby in the Paul Rudd version 🙂 I recently watched that one while I was going through my Toby Stephens phase (HELLO! Have you seen him in Jane Eyre!!!!). It wasn’t a terrible movie, but I don’t feel like it really lived up to “GATSBY” and all the hype that comes with it. But thinking about Nick as Paul Rudd does make him a lot more likable in my mind.

    As for Gatsby’s parties, whenever I read about them I get really really nervous because I would be such a wreck if a party like that were held in my house. As I get older, I am more and more anal about cleanliness and neatness and reading about all those people invading his house and doing who knows what in all the rooms just made me feel a little ill. Ack!! He has all those nice things in that glorious house and then everybody and their dog goes there and messes it up! Yes, this is why I can never have kids, because having kids is like 15 Gatsby parties all at once. And Amber, I know if you came to a party at my house you would dance and have fun, but be a very polite non-house-wrecking guest 🙂

    I feel like this is the part of the book where I start to see Gatsby as very pathetic instead of great. I am not sure what my deal is, because normally I would say, “Oh, how romantic! He has done all this for a girl he still loves!” For some reason in this case, I think, “Get over it, you loser! You don’t need her! Stop turning into a silly 12 year-old boy whenever her name is brought up!” I lose all respect for him as a character as soon as he gets all nervous and twitchy about the possibility of meeting Daisy. I think I feel this way only because I know where all of this is headed in the end.

    As for Nick’s honesty statement, I think it is a load of bull. Reading it now, I just see him as a smarmy type of guy. The little comments he makes and the fact that he is surrounded by all of these truly despicable people who treat each other terribly and he just goes along with it, makes me like him less and less the more I read.

  3. 3 ngtlindsay February 22, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    So I don’t think I have ever seen ANY Gatsby movie. I’m pretty sure I would remember seeing it and then I would remember more of the overall plot from the book. I know I read this book in high school but it’s almost like I’m reading a completely new book right now. I have absolutely no recollection of anything that I read in chapters 3 through 5.
    Let’s see. First I want to say that I totally was looking for signs of Nick being gay and quite honestly I just can’t see it. I don’t even feel like he’s infatuated with Gatsby, especially after after the house tour with Daisy.
    But to the questions!
    1. Gatsby’s party: I agree with Amber and Jen at the same time. I would never ever ever want to host a Gatsbyish party. I WOULD like to attend one, just once. Are parties like that even thrown anymore?
    2. Gatsby, the man: I totally 100% agree with Jen. He seems incredibly pathetic with the whole Daisy thing. If someone did that today, they’d get called a stalker. I don’t know if we’ve found out the whole backstory between those two, but it sounds like they met one summer, spent some time together, he went off to war, she married someone else, and now Gatsby basically only thinks about Daisy? That is super messed up. The only reason people think of him as great is because they misinterpret his not talking much with mystery. Bah.
    3. Nick: Again I agree with Jen. Ever since the beginning of the book I’ve felt like Nick was a smarmy little jerk. Maybe he’s not exactly jerky on the exterior but he does come off as horrifically smug! I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known? Please excuse me while I go barf.
    4. Daisy: My opinion has changed a tiny bit. In the first two chapters I remember thinking that she was kind of full of herself and a bit horrible. Now I feel sorry for her because I can only imagine that she must have led a very controlled young life. And then it seemed like she adored Tom but he was all Imagonnacheatonyounowk? That does suck.
    5. The reunion: All I could think was that Daisy and Gatsby (mostly Gatsby) were jackasses for making Nick be with them. Also it made me feel like Nick was a giant pushover baby for not just being all, “No, you’re making me feel awkward.”

    I will note this: The more I read, the more I like the book. I wish that in high school I had been able to appreciate a good story even if the characters are pretty horrible.

  4. 4 Amber February 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I just cannot understand why you all hate Nick so much! I don’t see him as smug at all. like literally not AT ALL. He is extremely honest<<— and him saying that was just him being honest! I don't think he means honest like morally honest, but honest as in an honest narrator. Even when he uses embellished, poetic language, it always feels like he tells the truth.

    He has told us two things about himself–1. that he came from a comfortable background and 2. that he is honest —why does that make him smug? I see him as uncomfortable, quiet, a listener, an observer, an introvert. I have never once gotten the feeling that he thinks he is better than anyone else around him–even those in his life who are morally lacking. He just lets people be themselves, better or worse.

    I am so fascinated that our Nicks are sooo different! Who would you cast for Nick in your movie?! I would cast Michael Cera or Thomas Brodie-Sangster.

  5. 5 ngtjennifer February 24, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Hmm, it is kind of hard to explain my feelings about Nick. I do actually picture him most of the time as Paul Rudd, so usually I have a pretty neutral feeling about him. It is only when he makes specific aside comments that I really feel icky about him.

    Also, I think most of my attitude towards him shows up after I put the book down. Like, while I am reading I am thinking about all the other awful people in the book, but then when I stop reading and go back to think about it, I think, well, Nick is pretty awful too. So I am not sure exactly what that means….

  6. 6 ngtlindsay February 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I agree with Jen that when I’m reading I’m more fixated on the more awful characters and then afterwards when I think of Nick I think: smarmy guy.
    As for who I picture as Nick? I honestly do not picture him at all as being a specific actor or even as a man who has features and a hair color. To me he is almost like a disembodied voice. For Gatsby though, I picture a thin, wispy man for some reason. Which is not really how he’s described at all. Hmm. And I picture Tom as someone who has angry eyebrows.

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