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A-level English - The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald: Analysis

A guide to resources on The Great Gatsby for your A-level English topic - compiled by your librarians

The obscene word

In a novel in which language is consistently seen to work against the demands of veracity, at least one formulation in The Great Gatsby rings true: Nick Carraway's pronouncement, near the start of the novel, that "Gatsby turned out all right at the end"(Fitzgerald 1999, 6). Jay Gatsby, a figure marked by failure and shadowed by death throughout most of the novel, nevertheless achieves a form of "greatness" in the final paragraphs of his story...

(source of introduction in attached file)

Will, B 2005, "The Great Gatsby" and The Obscene Word, College Literature, 32, 4, p. 125, Advanced Placement Source, EBSCOhost

The decadence of Tom Buchanan

Nick Carraway's description of Tom Buchanan in the The Great Gatsby

' His family were enormously wealthy - even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach - but now he'd left Chicago and come east in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance he'd brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest.' 

Source : Canadian Review of American Studies, Volume 28, Number 1, 1998, pp. 19-41

Daisy Buchanan

Source of "Her Story" and Daisy Buchanan : American Literature, Vol. 50, No. 2 (May, 1978), pp. 250-257 

Source of Fitzgerald's Daisy : The siren voice :  American Literature, Vol. 57, No. 1 (Mar., 1985), pp. 115-124

Reviews and critical analysis

 American author F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel  The Great Gatsby evokes interest from various aspects - Readers have analyzed the use of oxymoron in the novel, Business Ethics, queerness of relations between men, The American Dream, the life in the 1920s, cynicism. Articles that elaborate and discuss these aspects are introduced on this page. 

(The documents are stored in a secure location and require a password to access.)

Oxymoron in The Great Gatsby

There are significant paradoxes throughout F. Scott Fitzgerald’s  (life and) work frequently represented by oxymorons, of which Wolfsheim’s eating with “ferocious delicacy” is only one of the most apparent and, as such, very possibly a clue to the paradoxes in the novel. Kirk Curnutt in a review of Fitzgerald’s short stories remarks that the titles Flappers and Philosophers and Taps at Reveille “are clever conceits whose effectiveness depends upon one’s fondness for oxymoron”, writes Peter L Hays in Oxymoron in Great Gatsby

PETER L. HAYS is professor emeritus of the University of California, Davis, and is editor of the “News and Notes” section of the Fitzgerald Newsletter. 

Gatsby's mentors - Queer relations between Love and Money in the Great Gatsby

Abstract : This essay examines relationships between men and the role patriarchal capitalism plays in the construction of sexuality in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), a novel written during a critical period in the history of sexuality, as well as of gay and lesbian history. The ambivalence about male bonds—in particular the simultaneously loving and abusive dynamics of mentoring—depicted in this canonical work of American literature reveals the author’s unease about his relationship with Catholic priest and teacher Sigourney Fay and provides insight into the author’s well-known lifelong anxiety about his gender and sexuality.

Gatsby’s Mentors: Queer Relations Between Love and Money in The Great Gatsby by Maggie Gordon Froehlich

The Journal of Men’s Studies, Vol. 19, No. 3, Fall 2011, 209-226.

© 2011 by the Men’s Studies Press, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Blue Coupe dialog in Gatsby

This article discusses the symbolism of automobiles on the situation / storyline of the The Great Gatsby. Two particular passages are discussed in the context of the relevance of automobiles.

Author : Lauraleigh O'Meara

Source : Papers On Language & Literature, 30, 1, p. 73

Jay Gatsby

The title character of The Great Gatsby is a young man, around thirty years old, who rose from an impoverished childhood in rural North Dakota to become fabulously wealthy. However, he achieved this lofty goal by participating in organized crime, including distributing illegal alcohol and trading in stolen securities. More of Jay Gatsby analysed HERE

Business Ethics Inquiry

The  author argues for the use of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, as a "text" for studying business ethics. The author presents a  documented analysis of the major ethics themes in the book including, for example, moral growth, Gatsby's life of illusion, the withering of the American Dream, and the parallels between the 1920s and the 1980s.

Author(s): Tony McAdams

Source: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 12, No. 8 (Aug., 1993), pp. 653-660

Style as politics in the Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is valued for the vividness with which it renders an historical era; perhaps more than by any other American novel written in the 1920s, we are convinced that we hear the voices of people speaking from that decade before the advent of talking motion pictures. 

Author : Janet Giltrow and David Stouck

Source : Style as politics in The Great Gatsby, Studies In The Novel, 29, 4, p. 476, Advanced Placement Source

Race and The Great Gatsby's cynical Americanism

Few books have suffered Americanism's presumptions more unremittingly than has The Great Gatsby. This has again become apparent in the recent outpouring of work that draws attention to dynamics of racialization in the novel to how Fitzgerald's book engages discourses that render racial and ethnic difference recognizable, including how certain characters are made to bear distinguishing racial or ethnic markers. 

Source: Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 53, No. 2 (Summer, 2007), pp. 153-181

Feeling Half feminine : Modernism and the politics of emotion

Over his lifetime, Fitzgerald made a number of statements to acquaintances that mirror the distinction often drawn by the modernist avant-garde between the intellectual and emotional vigor of true manhood and feminine debility.

Author : F. Kerr

Source : American Literature, 68, 2, p. 405