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The Great Gatsby: Quote Analysis

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Part I: Significant Quotes

1. “She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

The speaker in this particular quote is Daisy Buchanan, she says it in chapter one (pg 21) when Nick comes to visit her and Tom’s house. During Nick’s dinner with the Buchanan’s and Jordan Baker, Tom receives a phone call from his mistress and Daisy goes off to get him. Shortly after the phone call ends and Daisy returns with Tom dinner ends and Nick goes out onto the veranda with Daisy to talk. Daisy tells Nick about her marriage and how unhappy she is and then about her daughter Pammy which is when the quote above is said. I think that the quote is significant to Daisy as a character.

It says a lot about her and how she views her life as a woman and what she expects her daughter’s future to be like. I think that by saying that it made her upset that her child was a girl and that all she’d ever be would be a “beautiful little fool” Daisy is saying that women suffer a lot and that they aren’t given the chance to be anything. She is also saying that women are only good for their looks and for being fooled or taken advantage of. This quote adds on to what she says about having a very bad time and being cynical about it.

2. “Daisy! Daisy! Daisy! I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai—!”

This quote is said by Myrtle in chapter two (pg 41) when Nick and others are at the apartment, Tom keeps for her, for a small party. Some of the people around when this is said are the McKee’s, Myrtle’s sister, Catherine, Tom and Nick. At the party everyone is drinking and towards midnight Tom and Myrtle get into an argument about whether Myrtle has the right to mention Daisy’s name or not. During this argument Myrtle says the quote above and Tom, angry, hits her breaking her nose.

I think that the significance of this quote is for Myrtle as a character. This quote helps develop her jealousy towards Daisy and Tom’s preference for Daisy over Myrtle. Tom wants to maintain Daisy out of his double life with Myrtle and I think that this is out of a sort of respect which he wants Myrtle to have toward Daisy. Myrtle understands this and by this quote she rebels against Tom’s wish to respect Daisy’s name. She is also drunk and angry and does this because she truly feels anger towards Daisy for being married to Tom.

Part II: Choice Essay

The Great Gatsby, what is that?

Could you imagine a classic novel or story such as Romeo and Juliet being re-titled? What about Of Mice and Men being re-named? I myself cannot imagine that and I especially cannot imagine calling the “Great American Novel,” The Great Gatsby, anything else. Even after his book had so much success, F. Scott Fitzgerald was never happy with the title The Great Gatsby. There were at least seven other titles that he considered, some better than others. In fact Fitzgerald even tried to get his editor to change the title to “Under the Red, White and Blue,” last minute, but it was a little too late.

One of the earliest titles Fitzgerald considered was “Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires.” This title to me refers to the ash heaps in the valley of the ashes where Myrtle and George Wilson lived. The valley of the ashes and the Wilson’s represent the lower or working class people. Meanwhile the millionaires are obviously those in East Egg, including the Buchanan’s. This was a fairly decent title given that the book is very much about class differences and not being able to fit in with the millionaires if you come from “ash heaps.”

Both the titles “Trimalchio in West Egg” and “Trimalchio” referred to a man who threw huge parties in the Latin work, The Satyricon by Petronius. By titling his book after this character, Trimalchio, Fitzgerald would have been comparing the two lavish hosts, Trimalchio and Gatsby. I don’t think that doing this would have been a very good idea; it is somewhat unoriginal to name your book after a character, in another story, which parts of your novel were potentially based on.

“On the Road to West Egg” was another title in the running for this novel. This title makes sense to me because Gatsby was essentially trying to find a “road to West Egg.” In my mind West Egg symbolized Daisy and all the millionaires born into their wealth, Gatsby was after these things or on the road to them but was never able to fully make it there. This is a good title with symbolism behind it that can be interpreted in many ways but it doesn’t seem all that original to this particular story.

Another interesting title that Fitzgerald considered at one point was “Gold-hatted Gatsby.” This title would fit the story for a few different reasons. Gatsby being “gold-hatted” somewhat symbolizes him as an outcast or someone trying too hard to fit in. None of the millionaires of East Egg would ever felt the need to wear a “gold hat” to prove their wealth but Gatsby, not being born wealthy may have done so. I personally like this title; I think it has a reasonable, symbolic, meaning behind it and would fit the story and character, Gatsby.

“The High-bouncing Lover” is a title that was also considered. I don’t think I would have ever chosen it. This title mainly refers to Gatsby as a lover, which he was but that is not the only thing that the story is about. The “high-bouncing” part refers to Gatsby tying to get on the level of his lover, Daisy, who is much higher than he is. This title symbolizes that Gatsby must “bounce high” to ever reach her. The plot of The Great Gatsby goes into themes other than love and although Daisy and Gatsby’s love is one of the main parts of the story I don’t think it would have fit for the novel to be titled that.

Fitzgerald’s last minute choice for a title, “Under the Red, White and Blue,” seems like a really great title to me. Although I could not picture myself calling Fitzgerald’s novel anything besides The Great Gatsby, I think that “Under the Red, White and Blue” would have been an excellent title.

I see why Fitzgerald was crazy about it and wanted the title changed to this. Because The Great Gatsby is a “Great American Novel” about the American Dream I think that a title about patriotism would have been perfect. I think that Fitzgerald was going for a title on the patriotic/ American side to bring the focus of his novel to some of the other themes incorporated such as class differences or the American Dream.

In the end I don’t think that the title that Fitzgerald ended up with was all that bad. The Great Gatsby, in my opinion, ended up being a good title regardless of its simplicity and straight forwardness. Sure the title might sound a little generic or even unoriginal at first but it does raise some curiosity and it seems to fit the story perfectly. The entire story and the way Nick tells it makes it seem as a sort of tribute to Gatsby and everything he represented and the novel being named this adds to his tribute and “greatness”. I couldn’t imagine calling this Fitzgerald novel anything else.

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