The Great Gatsby Socratic Seminar Questions

7 July 2016

A tragic hero contains a fatal flaw, and is responsible for their own downfall. Jay Gatsby reflects a tragic hero as in loving Daisy he causes his own downfall. Gatsby continually loves Daisy for five years. Gatsby and Daisy fell in love before he left for the war, and vowed to wait for each other.

Circumstances arise and Jay is unable to return from the war as soon as he had hoped. During this time Daisy meets Tom Buchanan, and marries him; however, Gatsby does not give up on loving Daisy. Everything Jay does upon his return revolves around Daisy.He says that every decision he ever makes is with her in mind- everything is for her. Gatsby needs Daisy to tell Tom that she never loved him, and he believes she is going to. Gatsby confronts Tom and tells how Daisy has never loved him, Tom is in disbelief, as is Daisy: “She hesitated… as though she had realized at last what she was doing- and as though she had never, all along, intended doing anything at all. ” (Fitzgerald 132).

The Great Gatsby Socratic Seminar Questions Essay Example

Gatsby lays everything out on the line for Daisy, he puts so much continual effort into loving Daisy, and she never has true intentions of doing anything.Even after the encounter, where Daisy is supposed to confess to never loving Tom, fails, Jay is still unable to recognize that the hope of ending up with Daisy is perishing forever. Knowing that Daisy is staying with Tom, and that Tom blamed the death of Myrtle on Gatsby, Nick tries to convince Jay to leave, but “He wouldn’t consider it. He couldn’t possibly leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do. He was clutching at some last hope and I couldn’t bear to shake him free” (Fitzgerald 148). One of Gatsby’s fatal flaws is that he did not leave town.With the death of Myrtle pinned against him, Wilson, Myrtle’s husband, kills him.

Gatsby puts so much into loving Daisy and builds an empire with her at heart, though it is not enough. Jay believes that we are able to repeat the past however; in trying to repeat the past, he is killed on wrongful premises. Thus another fatal flaw reflecting Gatsby’s character as a tragic hero. 2. Fitzgerald once wanted to title the novel Under the Red, White, and Blue; however, The Great Gatsby better reflects Fitzgerald’s overall purpose- money does not buy happiness, or personal connections.The title Under the Red, White, and Blue holds connotations with capitalism, and success; however, would give the novel more of an impression focused around America itself. Whereas the title The Great Gatsby sets up the reader’s perception of Jay Gatsby and foreshadows his death- historically people are referred to as “The Great” after their death.

Readers are able to see that although Jay is “Great”, all his money and fame are unable to buy him happiness, and the connection he longs for with Daisy.As Jay awaits a phone call from Daisy, saying that she is going to follow through with leaving Tom, Nick has “an idea that he [Gatsby] no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream” (Fitzgerald 161). Nick believes that Gatsby does come to the realization that despite all his wealth, he has nothing without Daisy, and that his money was unable to make her understand. Although many perceive Jay as “Great”, he feels he never had anything without Daisy.The title The Great Gatsby, achieves the authors overall purpose as it better indicates the outcomes of the novel. 3.

Looking through a psychological lens, we can see that both Jay and Daisy are struggling. Gatsby wants Daisy, and Daisy wants him too, though they cannot be together because of the psychological issues they separately possess. As far Gatsby, he never loved anyone else. He did not even want to think of his parents as his real parents, from the time he was a little boy he set high ambitions. Once he met, and fell in love with, Daisy, Gatsby could not imagine his life with out her.He did not want to loose the feeling of love she brought him. Jay had a vision of what his life would be like, and Daisy’s part in it all, it could not be any other way.

After Daisy comes to a party at his house, Gatsby shares with Nick that Daisy did not like it. Jay wants nothing less of Daisy than that she tell Tom she never loved him, he tells Nick, “It’s so hard to make her understand… She used to be able to understand. We’d sit for hours” (Fitzgerald 109). Gatsby realizes that Daisy does not see things the same way she did five years earlier.For some reason, he cannot let go of what he used to have with Daisy, and all Jay wants is to go back and start where they left off. Gatsby is plagued with trying to repeat the past, and it motivates many of his actions. On the other hand, there is Daisy.

She tries to convince herself that she never loved Tom, but she cannot admit it to Tom because it would be a lie. During Tom and Gatsby’s confrontation, Daisy forces herself to tell Tom that she “never loved him”, although he makes her question herself further when reminding her of “that day I [Tom] carried you down from the Punch Bowl to keep your shoes dry?” (Fitzgerald 132). This reinforces Daisy’s feelings and she finally tells Gatsby, “Oh you want too much! I love you know- isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past” (Fitzgerald 132). Psychologically, Daisy feels as though she has wasted time with Tom. She wants to be with Jay but is unable to give him what he wants. Because Daisy loves Gatsby it motivates many of her actions. Even though she attains the notion of never loving Tom, it is not true.

4. Looking through a feminist lens we see Myrtle and Daisy trapped in patriarchal roles. Myrtle’s role as Tom’s mistress keeps her in just that position- Tom’s mistress.Although Tom loves Myrtle very much, and is devastated when she is killed, Daisy is still his wife. When Tom takes Myrtle to their flat in New York she complains, “Daisy! Daisy! Daisy! ” and then with “a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand” (Fitzgerald 37). Myrtle is stuck in her role as mistress. She tries to make Tom leave Daisy, and he quickly puts her in place.

Instead of staying with Tom, as his mistress, Myrtle needs to give him an ultimatum- her or Daisy; however, Tom keeps her in a patriarchal role through intimidation.On the contrary, Daisy feels trapped with Tom, and wishes that she could have been with Gatsby all along. Daisy tries to tell Tom that she is leaving him for Gatsby, and then things escalate. Tom pushes Gatsby to the breaking point and he “explodes” on Tom. This frightens Daisy much, and Jay tries to talk to Daisy, though “With every word she was drawing further and further into herself… Her frightened eyes told that whatever intentions, whatever courage she had had, were definitely gone” (Fitzgerald 134-135). Daisy, just like Myrtle is held in a patriarchal role through intimidation.She sees how angry Gatsby gets because of the accusations Tom makes about him, and she retreats to Tom.

It is somewhat evident that Tom intimidates Daisy, although the burst of anger from Jay is what ultimately puts her back into her male-controlled role under Tom. Although they are different, Myrtle and Daisy are similar in their patriarchal roles. 5. Looking through a Marxist lens we see the dangers of capitalism- carelessness. Daisy and Tom prove that wealth can make people careless, and self centered. Daisy proves to be self centered, as she seems to care littleabout her child. When Gatsby and Nick come for lunch the maid brings the child into the room, which makes Daisy happy for a while, and then she, “sat back down on the couch.

The nurse took a step forward and held out her hand… the well-disciplined child held out her hand and was pulled out the door” (Fitzgerald 117). Because Daisy has money she can afford a maid to take care of her daughter all the time. She hardly at mentions the child at all throughout the novel, and certainly does not make choices with her daughter in mind.The readers sense a very little relationship between Daisy and her child. Because of Daisy’s wealth she seems to have very little time for anyone but herself, thus proving her negligence. A maid raises her child, brings her around every once in a while, and when Daisy has had her fill, she merely sits back down. Together, Tom and Daisy take two lives.

Daisy kills Myrtle while driving Gatsby’s car, and Tom wrongfully pins the murder of Myrtle on Gatsby, urging Wilson to kill Gatsby.Daisy does nothing about Myrtle, and Tom knows he is somewhat responsible for Gatsby’s death, “So what if I told him [Wilson]” (Fizgerald 178). When Nick runs into Tom in New York, Tom remarks about Gatsby, “That fellow had it coming to him” (Fitzgerald 178). On the day of Gatsby’s funeral, Nick recollects, “that Daisy hadn’t sent a message or a flower” (Fitzgerald 174). After all she goes through with Gatsby, and all she puts him through, Daisy does not have the decency to make even the smallest gesture.Nick is able to finally reach to a conclusion about Daisy and Tom, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever is was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess that they has made” (Fitzgerald 179). Through a Marxist lens readers are able to see the dangers of capitalism.

Excessive wealth, a higher class, is capable of turning people careless and self centered, as Tom and Daisy Buchanan undoubtedly expose.

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