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Flashcards in Chapter 2 Deck (26)
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1

Give a brief description of the chapter.

- Nick meets Tom's mistress Myrtle and her husband, George. They own a garage on the edge of the valley of ashes between West Egg and New York.
-Myrtle agrees to go to New York with Nick and Tom.
-Myrtle hosts an impromptu party in Tom's New York apartment. She invites her sister and the McKees, who live in the apartment below, who live in the apartment below.
-They all get drunk. Myrtle and Tom argue and he breaks her nose.

2

How does Nick try to narrate this chapter?

Nick steps in as an observational bystander rather than a participant in their immoral lifestyle. He doesn't explicitly give his opinion, which suggests that he wants to sound objective.

3

How does he ACTUALLY narrate this chapter? (along with most of the others)

His language shows that he judges them harshly. he thinks that tom is 'supercilious' and Mrs McKee is "shrill".

4

How does he try to maintain the moral high ground?

He tries to maintain the moral high ground, claiming that only meets Myrtle because Tom 'literally forced' him.

5

What does Nick admit to being in the chapter?

'enchanted and repelled' - he feels 'entangled' and can't leave.

6

Which two new settings are we introduced to in the chapter?

-The Valley of Ashes
-New York

7

How would you describe the Valley of Ashes?

The Valley of Ashes is a place of poverty that is used as a dumping ground for all the waste produced by the city - it's the ugly by-product of consumerism that is forgotten by the wealthy Egg communities.

8

What does the bleak and barren setting provide?

The setting provides a contrast to the brightness and loudness of NY and beautiful exterior of the Egg communities - but also symbolises the moral decay and ugliness that is hidden underneath all of them.

9

How do the upper class view the valley?

They try to ignore the reality of the valley. E.g. Nick imagines that there are 'romantic apartments concealed overhead', but actually the entire garage is 'unprosperous and bare'.

10

'This is a valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.'

Talk about contrasts.

'Wheat', 'growth' and 'gardens' are associated with life and nature. 'Ashes' are dead and depressing. Combining them shows that beauty has been destroyed.

11

'This is a valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.'

Talk about imagery.

The image of '*transcendent effort' shows how all the men's energy is taken up in just existing. But despite their efforts to survive they're 'already crumbling'.




*transcendent: beyond or above the range of normal or physical human experience.

12

'This is a valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.'

Talk about lists.

Fitzgerald gives long lists of the objects made from ash to emphasise the scale of decay. Repetition of 'and' (syndetic listing) slows the pace, emphasising the trudging drudgery (hard, long work) of life in the valley.
It also shows how vast and busy the space is because Nick keeps remembering things that he saw in the Valley and feels he needs to immediately include it.

13

What does New York represent?

New York represents wild, selfish behaviour and the pursuit of pleasure. this is illustrated by the fact that it is the setting for Myrtle and Tom's affair - want for pleasure ;) and selfish behaviour (cheating on their SO - selfish).

The drunken *debauchery of Myrtle's party demonstrates the city's lack of moral depth - people feel they can act how they want without fear of the consequences.

*debauchery: excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol, or drugs.

14

What does Myrtle claim her opinions are on clothes?

Myrtle claims not to care about clothes - "I just slip it on when I don't care what I look like" but actually she is obsessed with her appearance - she changes clothes regularly and buys cold cream and perfume.

15

How is it shown that she thinks breeding (class/appeal) is all about appearance?

She wears bold colours, in contrast to Daisy who wears white. But when Myrtle changes in to a cream dress, her 'vitality' changes to 'hauteur' (snobbish/arrogance). She also goes on to address her sister as "my dear" which is a very upper class, term of address meaning that she feels being in such expensive and elegant clothing increases her stature. It can also create a mocking tone because she feels she is now better than her sister.

16

How is Myrtle shown to care about other people's appearances?

She was seduced by Tom's clothes when she first met him, recalling that he wore "a dress suit and patent leather shoes" as well as a "white shirt-front".

17

Why is it significant that Myrtle is shown to be 'looking at the advertisement'?

Myrtle was pretending to look at the advertisement instead of Tom because both Tom and the advertised product represent Myrtle's greed for material objects and wealth.

18

There are a lot of unhappy marriages.
State three things about the Buchanans:

Myrtle's description of how she met Tom suggests that he has had many affairs. She says "he knew I lied" - this shows that he is confident and practiced in his seduction.

Catherine says that Daisy refuses to divorce Tom because she's "a Catholic" but Nick knows she isn't. This implies that Tom has lied to Myrtle to hide the fact that he doesn't want to leave Daisy as she helps to provide a respectable and upper class exterior.

He refuses to allow Myrtle to even say Daisy's name and breaks her nose when she starts shouting it. This suggests that Tom has strong feelings of possessiveness towards Daisy; conforming to the Husband-Wife relationship of the time.

19

There are a lot of unhappy marriages.
State three things about the Wilsons:

Myrtle resents and despises. Wilson when he's mentioned, her response is 'violent and obscene'.

She thinks he's beneath her socially, and claims that "he wasn't fit to lick my shoe".

She won't accept that it was her choice to marry him, claiming she mistook him for a "gentleman".

20

There are a lot of unhappy marriages.
State two things wrong with the McKees.

Mr McKee has photographed his wife "a hundred and twenty-seven times", which could suggest that he is obsessed with her as a visual object, rather than as an individual.

Their lack of communication reinforces this - he ignores Mrs McKee for most of the party, shushing her at one point and one acknowledging her 'in a bored way'.

21

What is the difference between Daisy's bruised knuckles and Myrtle's bloody, broken nose?

Daisy's bruised knuckle is an accident. Myrtle's nose is deliberate. It's easy for Tom to violently injure Myrtle - its just a 'short deft movement'. This suggests that the working classes are vulnerable to the whims of the upper classes.

22

How/Why is Tom cruel towards Wilson?

He raises his hopes by promising to sell him a car, but keeps putting it off until 'next week'. This gives Tom power over Wilson.
"Next week; I've got my man working on it now"
"Works pretty slow, don't he?"

23

How would you describe Nick's descriptions of Myrtle at the party?

Mocking and unsympathetic. He says she has a 'mincing shout', becomes 'violently affected' and 'flounced' around her flat. His critical tone suggests that he judges her for pretending to be upper class.

24

How does Tom behave under the influence of alcohol?

Nick describes Tom as having 'tanked up' and then claims that Tom's Behaviour 'bordered on violence'. After more drinks, Tom breaks Myrtles nose - this clearly links alcohol and violence.

25

What does Myrtle do to Tom after drinking?

After drinking whisky, Myrtle sits on Tom's Lap with no discretion. This shows that alcohol lowers inhibitions.

26

How does the alcohol affect Nick?

Nick's narration is confused and fragmented because the alcohol has affected his memory of events. This contrasts with his normal narrative style and ad highlights the loss of control caused by alcohol.