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Fecha actual Dom Ene 21, 2018 11:34 am

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NotaPublicado: Lun May 30, 2011 10:58 pm 
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The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in 1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922.

The novel takes place following the First World War. American society enjoyed prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers. After its republishing in 1945 and 1953, it quickly found a wide readership and is today widely regarded as a paragon of the Great American Novel, and a literary classic. The Great Gatsby has become a standard text in high school and university courses on American literature in countries around the world and is ranked second in the Modern Library's lists of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century.


Nick Carraway, a young Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbor, the nouveau riche Jay Gatsby. He is drawn into Gatsby's circle, becoming a witness to obsession and tragedy.

Filmed in 1974, by Francis Ford Coppola.
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¿Quién acerca las obras extranjeras a los lectores? Nombrad a los traductores, por favor.

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Última edición por DarkLady Juliet el Dom Jun 12, 2011 10:38 pm, editado 1 vez en total

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NotaPublicado: Jue Jun 02, 2011 6:03 pm 
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Thank you, Juliet.

In "The great Gatsby" (and all of a sudden I remember "El gran Meaulnes", both books showing a specific form of "greatness") we are reading the testimony of Nick Carraway. He comes from the Middle East and has moved to New York to find in Long Island a fascinating but albeit dangerous playground. There he meets former acquaintances and knows about a mysterious Mr. Gatsby; their lives start to unfold before him. He is a rather impassioned witness: he does not understand everything, but he's not at all ingenuous ("The instant her voice broke off, ceasing to compel my attention, my belief, I felt the basic insincerity of what she had said") and sometimes speaks from somewhere beyond ordinary experience. I would like to quote some of his sentences from this first chapter (I don't share the view that every quote and almost every opinion should be considered an "spoiler": when I entered this forum, I got one of my messages edited without warning nor apology, just because I described what any reader was to find in the very first paragraph of the book being discussed):

Fitzgerald escribió:
"Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope".

"[...] temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and shortwinded elations of men."

"If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures [...]"


which I found extremely beautiful and makes me pay full attention to what he is saying. So I might have been somewhat disappointed when he nonchalantly mentions his participation in WW I (again WW I!): "I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughly that I came back restless." But some knowledge about Fitzgerald’s life gives us a clue: it was one of his great puerile regrets that he never fought in the war. He was always envious of men who went to war and were therefore more manly, more worldly. Of course, the "restlessness" alluded here is sometimes interpreted as some lite, repressed form of post-traumatic stress: after fighting in a war, some restlessness seems at least understandable; but it’s more likely that it’s a romantic projection. Perhaps the real thing would have discouraged him.

Through Nick's mind, it seems we are going to witness a rather rude Tom Buchanan's sexual affairs just before the eyes of his neglected wife Daisy. What about Gatsby? With just a glimpse of him (or his silhouette) this first chapter ends: I guess we will never know him very intimately.


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NotaPublicado: Jue Jun 02, 2011 8:59 pm 
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I got the book. I don't know when I'll be able to start reading, but I'll try to do so as soon as I can! Your post is a wonderful teaser, ignotus :D

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NotaPublicado: Vie Jun 03, 2011 7:47 pm 
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I started reading this evening, and after a couple of chapters I'm afraid I have to say I don't like Nick Carraway at all. He seems to feel he's better than most of the people he meets, his asides on these people are beautifully written but full of poison. It reminds me a bit of The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham, but Maugham knows how to be witty without being caustic, and he also knows when to stop adding up adjectives.

I'll try to keep an open mind in the following chapters, maybe I'll like Mr. Gatsby better than Mr. Carraway...
:101:

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NotaPublicado: Dom Jun 05, 2011 11:24 pm 
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Carmen Neke escribió:
I started reading this evening, and after a couple of chapters I'm afraid I have to say I don't like Nick Carraway at all. He seems to feel he's better than most of the people he meets, his asides on these people are beautifully written but full of poison. It reminds me a bit of The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham, but Maugham knows how to be witty without being caustic, and he also knows when to stop adding up adjectives.

I'll try to keep an open mind in the following chapters, maybe I'll like Mr. Gatsby better than Mr. Carraway...
:101:


Carmen, first of all I'd like to thank you your previous compliment. You wouldn't believe how much time I spend trying to put together just a few ideas! :D

I know, Nick Carraway is a biased witness indeed. But do not get stuck in just an emotional reading: this novel, I am persuaded, shows something beyond it. The plot, perhaps a bit twisted, requires Carraway's services (Fitzgerald tries, I think, to make us believe we can trust him; he failed with you, obviously). So I disagree in just this point: I think it is a mistake to "identify" Fitzgerald and Carraway.

On the other hand, Maugham ends its novel with the realization he has written a "happy" ending --and almost apologizing for it. This one is not happy, without having finished reading it yet I'd say it is rather somber. So give it a chance, until you can see the whole picture.

Unfortunately I don't have time more time now. But read you later...


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NotaPublicado: Lun Jun 06, 2011 7:57 am 
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When a writer uses a narrator in the first person, he usually wants to put a distance between the creator and his writing, it has been this way from the time Cervantes claimed having found a manuscript written by Cide Hamete Benengeli. And I think Scott Fitzgerald using Carraway to tell the story from his personal, subjective and not very wel informed point of view, allows the author not to be objective about his characters and the situations they find themselves in.

I already finished reading the book. And I liked it, I found it a good and interesting novel but I don't think it's the masterpiece some claim The Great Gatsby to be. I suspect people tend to judge the novel with the movie in mind, and I suspect also that for once the movie may be better than the book. I wouldn't know, for I haven't seen it yet, but now I have read the book I'd like to be able to compare both.

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NotaPublicado: Sab Jun 11, 2011 12:52 pm 
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This month I can't follow the reading, above all I have a lot of books before this one :? :? .
Although this book I read it when I was at the highschool and it was one of the english readings that I liked most.
I hope you like it and I'll follow your comments :D

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NotaPublicado: Dom Jun 12, 2011 10:32 pm 
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I'm not very happy because I don't have enough time to say all I'd like to. But I'll just point out a couple of things based on what you have commented.

I saw the film long, long ago. And I just remembered two things: Whiteness and Dr. Ecklenburg's eyes. When I read the book, these two aspects turn out to be very important.

The scene when Nick enters into Buchanan's house, and the two girls are resting on the couch, dressed in white, with the white courtains, the summer breeze moving them, I had the same "white" impression. Gastby is a man who wants to enter into high society, the whiteness of their clothes indicate their position, so clean, they don't get dirty by working (as the man in the garage).

He is
in love with Daisy,
so his opinions of the world he wants to belong to are always in reference to how his life
with Daisy
could be, why Buchanan
has a mistress, and is not ashamed of that,
Nick doesn't fit in that society, and yet he tries to. He tells us everything he sees under his own point of view. (Ignoutus, yes, I agree he is biased, but it's through his eyes and thoughts that we see the world he lives in)

Still much more to say, but sorry... gotta go :cry:

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¿Quién acerca las obras extranjeras a los lectores? Nombrad a los traductores, por favor.

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NotaPublicado: Lun Jun 13, 2011 9:05 pm 
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DarkLady Juliet escribió:
I saw the film long, long ago. And I just remembered two things: Whiteness and Dr. Ecklenburg's eyes. When I read the book, these two aspects turn out to be very important.


You have ruined what I was going to say! :(

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I also saw the film long ago, but I'm afraid my memory is also ruined, I barely remember anything. I even thought this detail was absent. But nevertheless,

Carmen Neke escribió:
I suspect people tend to judge the novel with the movie in mind, and I suspect also that for once the movie may be better than the book.


I am utterly devastated, Carmen, but cannot concur. As a matter of fact, the film almost prevented me from reading the book, which now I consider far more interesting. I feel the novel is vastly superior: the film lacks all its overtones and dissipates into the argument (but I insist, I would have to watch it again).

LauraCo escribió:
Although this book I read it when I was at the highschool and it was one of the english readings that I liked most.


Excellent, Laura! But, would you venture an opinion? Go ahead! What do you think is The Great Gatsby about?

There's indeed a lot to say, but I haven't finished the novel yet, in spite of being short. I will comment longer on a next occasion...


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NotaPublicado: Mar Jun 14, 2011 9:43 pm 
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ignotus escribió:
What do you think is The Great Gatsby about?

That's a tricky question, because the facts in the novel are told by a very unreliable character. When I finished the book, I felt I had been cheated out of the truth. And I didn't like this feeling.

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NotaPublicado: Mar Jun 14, 2011 9:53 pm 
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Did I put an extra "n" in Doctor's name? Sorry.

Why do you say Nick is unreliable? Because he doesn't know all about Gastby or the other characters?

I personally find it interesting to be discovering the turns of the novel at the same time as the character. Makes me feel I'm "in it".

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¿Quién acerca las obras extranjeras a los lectores? Nombrad a los traductores, por favor.

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NotaPublicado: Mar Jun 14, 2011 10:57 pm 
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DarkLady Juliet escribió:
Why do you say Nick is unreliable? Because he doesn't know all about Gastby or the other characters?


Julia, our dear Carmen goes beyond this, she maintains he's very unreliable. I had to concede he's biased, as every witness is (you can pick up examples even from "The Mysterious affair ..." if you want), but Carmen, I wonder why, adding insult to injury, you consider him nothing short of unreliable now. It is no surprise you have disliked the book! There must be something "personal" between both of you ;)

Let me extensively quote a newly discovered essay without elaborating on it (I don't have time), but I feel it hits the nail on the head. The bolding is mine:

Citar:
Fitzgerald decided to employ a narrator who was a participant in the story, but was more an observer than an actor. This creates a complex point of view, which involves us, as readers, in acts of interpretation, which eventually lets us make judgments about the narrator. The qualities that Fitzgerald has given to the narrator, Nick Carraway, are those of a privileged background. But from the advice that was given to him by his father, this makes him aware that some people may not have the same privileges and opportunities as himself, which allows him to make good judgments, for example, “In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments.” So from this the reader can see that he looks at all sides of opinions, and does not make snap decisions, which allows people to tell him their secrets because he is trustworthy, impartial and holds back his judgments. Which is why in the story, so many people open up to him. This impartiality allows the characters in the novel to be open with him, which is a good quality for a narrator, because he has their confidence, “Listen, Nick; let me tell you what is said when she was born. Would you like to hear?” This proves that he is the ideal listener and as such is accepted by the reader.

In the opening Nick has returned to the Midwest, and is writing a book about events that occurred during a period that he had spent on the East Coast of America. He begins his narration with some self-analysis, trying to pin down relevant aspects of his own character. He remembers his father’s advice to show tolerance towards others, and to reserve judgment, adding that, “Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.” Here the reader can see that Fitzgerald uses a narrator who is aware of his own limitations, so that it gives the impression that he is not biased. However it does reveal that Nick is privy to intimate revelations and secrets, therefore he can make an analysis on what he has been told. Fitzgerald also says that Nick stands back, so Nick does not allow his own judgment to prejudice his own opinion, which means he is confident in his judgments.

Later although Nick describes how scornful he is of certain aspects of Gatsby’s character and behaviour, other attributes of Gatsby’s “heightened sensitivity to the promises of life” and his “extraordinary gift of hope” make the reader aware of Nick’s ability as a narrator to show not only the negative but the positive sides of a character. Despite his dislike of Gatsby it does not interfere with the unlimited respect he also feels for the man. Therefore the reader aware of this can respect Nick’s role as the narrator. It is the romantic dream that Nick admires and stimulates his curiosity about Gatsby, “what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.” Although this is a subjective judgment the reader now trusts the narrator in Nick Carraway sufficiently, to become as interested in Gatsby as Nick himself.

But Nick does say little about his own family, although his father runs the hardware business, at the time of the American civil war, in which he avoided service. Nick, on the other hand, was caught up in the First World War, and that had caused considerable disruption in his life. On his return from Europe, he found that the Midwest that was once, “the warm centre of the world” now seemed “the ragged edge of the universe.” Nicks experience of the world has grown therefore when he comes back he naturally sees things that he does not like, “makes me restless.” This makes Nick more aware of life, so due to his experiences he is more understanding to other people, and their problems, which makes him sympathetic. The privileged background shows the reader that Nick’s family is well educated, for example he was well read, “one year I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials for the Yale News.” But despite all these things, it makes him less critical of other people, which makes him more tolerant and open minded, and these are good qualities, and establish his character.

Fitzgerald uses Nick Carraway as the narrator, because it allows the reader to feel closer to the action, “I enjoyed the counter raid so thoroughly that I came back restless.” At the same time, it is clear that the act of telling is part of the process by which he comes to terms with those experiences and develops his understanding of them. Nevertheless, it is immediately noticeable that Nick’s style of writing is challenging: his sentences can be grammatically complex, and his vocabulary is at times obscure. For example, “frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or hostile levity when realised by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon.” Which means, that he sometimes pretends to be asleep, when someone always wants to confide in him. Fitzgerald gives Nick pretentious literary qualities, to emphasise that he is well educated, enjoys writing and is intellectual. This is good for a narrator, as it gives a voice of authority to the reader to inform, educate and entertain, so the reader will respect and listen to Nick, and not question his ability as a good storyteller. Nick also establishes at the start that he is writing an account and Fitzgerald has attributed to him a certain amount of self- consciousness as a writer.

Nick’s self analysis of his own character reveals to the reader his open mindedness and therefore he appears to be more impartial, an important skill for a narrator, convincing the reader of his worthiness and ability in telling a story from an unbiased view point. “Now, don’t think my opinion on these matters is final,” he seemed to say, “just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are.” So the information he offers to the reader, although coloured by his own character, allows Nick’s narration to be more neutral. However this is also a reminder to the reader that Nick’s assessment of the other characters in the novel is inevitably going to be coloured by his own analysis. He even says, “after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit.” But by openly placing Nick as the narrator, Fitzgerald is allowing Nick to express his own limitations, and this allows the reader to access Nick’s ability as a storyteller.


In my opinion we are not cheated out of the truth, on the contrary, the truth is revealed, you only have to read "between the lines", as it were. I don't like to speak about masterpieces, but authentic books, like people, are scarce; I'm becoming convinced this is one of them.

So, it is really a pity you are missing it :) May I suggest you give it another try in some future time? ;)


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NotaPublicado: Mié Jun 15, 2011 12:45 pm 
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When a character in a novel says the following about himself (in this case, at the end of Chapter 3) I tend to become suspicious:
Nick Carraway escribió:
Every one 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.

And then at the end, Jordan Baker is able to see through his mask:
Jordan Baker escribió:
"You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver, didn't I? I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride."

This is what the reader is meant to believe: the reliability of Nick as a witness of the facts told. But at the end it seems Nick Carraway was as bad as the rest of them, and he admits it in his answer to Jordan:
Nick Carraway escribió:
"I'm thirty." I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor."

So, he was not so trustworthy as a storyteller as we were made to believe. We have been taken for a ride by a bad driver, but we only become aware of it at the end of the ride. I feel cheated by the author, and I don't think you can write a masterpiece by cheating your readers.

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NotaPublicado: Mar Ago 30, 2011 12:27 pm 
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Nick Carraway is not just the narrator; he is also a character in The Great Gatsby. As such, his character must develop and evolve, especially in light of the lifestyle and events he is exposed to over the course of this novel. He does, to some extent, get corrupted by the decadence and carelessness of the people around him, and if we are to believe Jordan, it makes him a less honest person. But in my opinion, it also makes him a less judgmental person. He finally seems to take his father’s advice, because by the end of the book he looks beyond Gatsby’s failures, flaws and lies, and instead understands what made him who he is. By the end of the book, he finally has a certain respect for Gatsby.


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