The Great Gatsby: Chapters 8 & 9

Apologies for not sticking to the schedule.  The last week of Feb & first week of March were crazy busy.  I’ll post about movies & vacation soon.  🙂  Thank you Amber for filling in and leading a great discussion of chapters 6 & 7!

So a recap of the final 2 chapters of The Great Gatsby in case it’s been awhile since you’ve read it–SPOILERS:
At the beginning of chapter 8, Nick goes over to Gatsby’s house to find out what happened after he left Gatsby waiting outside Tom & Daisy’s home.  Nick encourages Gatsby to get out of town for awhile since he owns that car that hit and killed Myrtle, but Gatsby won’t leave until he finds out what Daisy’s going to do.  Gatsby tells Nick more about his past.  Gatsby tells his gardener not to drain the pool today because he hasn’t been swimming all summer.  Nick reluctantly leaves to go to work.  Nick recaps what happened at the garage the night before: Myrtle’s husband doesn’t believe it was an accident, remembers that Myrtle came home once from the city with a dog collar, and realizes he can find out who owns the yellow car.

Meanwhile, Gatsby waits and waits for a phone call that doesn’t come, takes a swim, and when Nick rushes into the house later that afternoon, he finds Gatsby shot and Myrtle’s husband dead in the grass.  As Nick informs Gatsby’s “friends” that Gatsby is dead, no one seems to be able to attend the funeral.  However, “Owl-Eyes” the drunk party-goer from Gatsby’s library does go.  Nick meets Mr. Gatz, Gatsby’s father.  Daisy and Tom are out of town, so Nick can’t reach Daisy.  When Nick runs into Tom later, he finds out that Tom told Myrtle’s husband that it was Gatsby’s car, and as we know from the beginning, Nick moves away.

Discussion questions!

1.  What do you think of Gatsby’s end?  Tragic?  Was there any other way for Gatsby’s life to go?

2.  How do you feel about Daisy (and/or any of the other characters) now?

3.  Who is meant to be reading Nick’s story?  Anyone?  Is there an audience?  Nick seems to write for someone, but is it just for himself to read later in life?

4.  Before Myrtle’s husband leaves the Valley of Ashes to find Gatsby, he says “I told [Myrtle] she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God” and “God sees everything.”  His neighbor sees him looking up at the ad of the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg.  The eyes seem to be a favorite symbol of people who discuss the story.  Your thoughts on them or anything else you find symbolic?

5.  Final thoughts on anything else specific or the story in general?  Did you like it?  By the 1960s, apparently The Great Gatsby was considered a classic.  Does it still hold up as a classic today?

And finally, for your entertainment, I present to you The Great Gatsby online Nintendo-like game.  Enjoy!

– Jill

5 Responses to “The Great Gatsby: Chapters 8 & 9”

  1. 1 ngtlindsay March 11, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    OK. First off I want to say that I am way glad we chose Gatsby! I would never have read it again on my own! And it was like I’d never even read the book before. If only all my rereads could be like that. Also, I will totally reread Gatsby again, I really liked it! Hooray!
    Now to the questions:
    1. It certainly is tragic to get shot. I think what makes it all the worse is that Wilson shot himself and died too. From what I knew about Gatsby though, it does seem fitting that this is how he went out. It would almost be a shame if he died through normal means. Oh and of course, his funeral made everything that much worse. I wanted to shame quite a few characters!
    2. I really don’t feel any differently about any of the characters than I did when we started the book. Except for Nick. I feel bad for him because I feel like he just wanted to do what was right. Also, I now feel like he totally got caught up with the wrong crowd and just didn’t realize how terribly everything was going to end up. Oh, I guess I do loath Daisy and Tom even more now. And Gatsby is even more pathetic to me too.
    3. I never considered who this story would be for, really. Maybe it is just for himself, but I have a feeling that maybe Nick is writing for everyone, to try to clear Gatsby’s name. The reason I feel this way is probably because in the last chapter, Nick worked so so hard to get Gatsby’s “friends” to go to his funeral and wanted to be there for Gatsby.
    4. Ugh. Pass the symbolism. I think the only reason I remembered the glasses from this story before we reread it was because we harped so much on it back in high school. That and the stupid green light.
    5. I definitely think that Gatsby will remain a classic. It told a good story and made you think. I think no matter what era humanity will be in, the nub of the story will still be applicable to people.

  2. 2 ngtjennifer March 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    1. I think by the time Gatsby finally gets shot it is kind of a relief. His life, which to most people seemed so glamorous and fun and awesome, was really just sad. And after the big “incident” (which could refer to their argument, or the car accident) he was never going to have Daisy, so really he needed to die. I can honestly see him killing himself if Myrtle’s husband hadn’t done it.

    2. After reading the whole book, I still think all the characters are awful, maybe more so then when I started it. But I do have sympathy for Nick. He really comes across as a good guy when he is trying to pull people together for Gatsby’s funeral. I LOATHE Daisy and Tom and feel so sorry for their kid. Hopefully by ignoring her for most of their lives, she will not turn out like them.

    3. I agree with Lindsay, that he is writing the story to kind of clear the air about Gatsby. Since nobody seemed to know who he truly was, I think Nick feels like he is the only one who can do something about it. He might not be writing for anyone in particular, but I think he feels it is his responsibility to write down the story.

    4. I too remember talking about “The Eyes” over and over again during high school. This is my third reading of the book and the only thing I ever remember when I pick it up is how much I am going to hate everyone and those damn eyes staring down at my from that sign. Everything else gets blocked out of my memory.

    5. I agree that yes, it is a classic. But I think it is strange that we all read it in high school (did I guess that right?) but none of us seem to remember much about it or seem to have liked it. It isn’t until now, as adults, that we can fully appreciate it. Does that mean we shouldn’t be forcing high school kids to read this book? Or does it just mean that we should always give things a second chance no matter how we reacted to them in high school. I vaguely remember most of the books I read and remember disliking most of them (for school assignments). Maybe I should go back and revisit some of them…

  3. 3 ngtlindsay March 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    So I’ve been thinking a lot about disliking this book in high school and whether or not it’s a good idea to force high school kids to read classics.
    What I’ve finally decided my opinion on this topic is, is that I don’t think I was taught to appreciate good writing. I remember in all my english/lit classes that we were taught that certain books were classic and therefore good and worthy of our time. However, I mostly never enjoyed any of these books. Probably because I couldn’t figure out how to relate to any of the characters or scenarios taking place. And I’m not trying to say that I can really relate to anything in Gatsby, but at the same time, I now understand that even though I can’t relate to something, doesn’t mean it isn’t well written. And now that I’m older and have read a great deal more than when I was high school aged, I can recognize and appreciate good literature, even if the characters are all terrible people.
    I think it would have been really beneficial (to me at least) if instead of focusing only on plots and symbols and themes, etc. we focused at least a little bit on why or why not we did not like a book or character or whatever.
    I think that maybe I could have learned earlier on to appreciate and enjoy aspects of books instead of outright loathing certain books because of certain things.
    But at the same time, I most definitely will be giving some books a second read. I honestly never considered that I was part of the problem until we read Gastby.

  4. 4 Amber March 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    First off…I am really bad at videogames…I totally didn’t make it past the interior of Gatsby’s house…

    I think Gatsby’s end is totally tragic and horrible. The funeral so much more than the death. And I was so so sad while reading it, however, now, I kinda think that it was so melancholic and perfect. Gatsby put all of his faith in the wrong people. He is the one who chose to surround himself with people he didn’t know or care about to attract the attention of one girl who didn’t care about him. It is almost like he could sense that he was at the end of his life at the beginning of the summer and so sought out Nick because he knew he needed someone decent in his life. His funeral was made up of his Father to represent his past, Nick to represent his present, and the one lone party-goer who I think kinda represents us as the reader. Nah, that symbolism isn’t fleshed out but I don’t feel thinking about it anymore.

    Daisy definitely takes a downfall at the end of the book. And I didn’t even need for her to end up with Gatsby; I would have been happy with her if she just hadn’t remained with Tom. Although, if I was making this into a film, I would probably try to make it look like Tom was controlling her to make her weak, yet a little sympathetic.

    I totally like Lindsay’s idea that Nick is telling this story to clear Gatsby’s name. Almost like he is going to write it and then seal it up in a time capsule somewhere.

    Hahaha the eyes. Everyone hates the eyes! I just get so irritated just thinking about them 🙂 But funny because if they do represent God, then I wonder the eyes cringed when Wilson killed Gatsby–he was all “gosh dang it, Wilson! wrong person.”

    I think i liked it in high school, but I probably did like it more in college–and to be honest I think I liked most of the classic books I read in high school…hmmm if it was a class led discussion. Like, I don’t think I enjoyed Romeo and Juliet very much because it was out of a textbook. Nothing is very good when read out of a textbook. Most of the time though, I feel like my teachers gave us a list of classics and we could choose our own to read. I pretty much always chose Jane Austen.

    I wish Wishbone had done a Great Gatsby episode!

  5. 5 ngtjennifer March 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Wishbone totally should have had a Gatsby episode!! I would have loved to see how he dealt with all of the “adult” material 🙂

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