The following are a few terms and phrases that were important to my work in this class and to the novel The Great Gatsby.
The Roaring 20s- This is another name for the 1920s, the era that The Great Gatsby was set in. It is a time period known for its excessive partying, unique style, and carefree youthfulness. It’s also known for its consumption of alcohol despite being an era of prohibition.
Narration Style- The Great Gatsby is known for it’s unique narration style compared to other novels. The story is told by Nick Carraway, who is essentially a side character. He is not the protagonist, but merely an observer. The reader sees the story through his eyes, which presents discussions of bias and whether he’s a reliable narrator.
Tragic Hero- There are many different kinds of tragic heroes (Shakespeare and Aristotle). A tragic hero is the protagonist of a tragedy. There are some similar elements of the tragic hero throughout all types; a tragic flaw, a great turning point from within themselves, and a tragic ending (usually death but not always). Gatsby fits the mold for for a tragic hero in The Great Gatsby. Robert Warshow argues that the pop culture character ” The Gangster” is also a tragic hero in his essay “The Gangster as a Tragic Hero” in 1948.
Meritocracy- an ideology, the belief that success is granted to those who earn it, through hard work. It is the basis for the American Dream.
The American Dream- This is the foundational idea behind America. The name “The American Dream” was first coined by James Truslow Adams in 1931, but the idea existed long before it was given a name. The American Dream is the idea that anyone, so long as they work hard enough, can experience success and prosperity in America.
The Gatsby Curve- This is a function in economics that represents the relationship between income inequality and intergenerational mobility, which is the passing down of economic advantage/disadvantage to your children. The Gatsby Curve shoes that the higher the income inequality, the less intergenerational mobility, meaning a higher likelihood that children will stay in the same social class as their parents were before them.
Myth- a widespread falsehood
The color green- There is a lot of color symbolism in The Great Gatsby, but an important color is green. Green comes in the form of the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. This is the light that Gatsby worships throughout the book. Green is also mentioned in the end by Nick Carraway, and used to describe the New World. Green in The Great Gatsby symbolizes hope and longing for the future, and a better future at that.