The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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47 ‘moving her hands like Frisco’ – Joe Frisco (1889-1958) was a popular vaudeville performer, famous for his jazz dancing and, later, comic routines.

47 ‘Gilda Gray’ – American actress and dancer (1901-1959), famous for popularising the ‘shimmy’. She performed in the Ziegfeld Follies in 1922.

47 ‘they conducted themselves according to the rules of behaviour associated with an amusement park.’ – Gatsby’s low-key presence at his parties perhaps contributes to their behaviour. His ‘guests’ have little sense of him as a person or as the owner of the house and its grounds.

47 ‘robin’s-egg blue’ – This is an ‘official’ shade, first recorded in 1873. It derives from the colour of American robin’s eggs, and joins the many other ‘blues’ of The Great Gatsby . The adjective itself is used twenty-one times against ‘green’ which occurs fifteen times, but only six times in a ‘normal’ context, that is, separate from the symbolism of the ‘green light’ for which Fitzgerald reserves his usage of the colour as much as possible. For reference, ‘yellow’ – an even more popular shade in Fitzgerald’s palette – is used twenty-four times (though quite a few of these instances are repetitions of phrases such as ‘yellow car’ and the like), while ‘red’ occurs nine time, ‘orange’ once, ‘brown’ seven times and ‘pink’ six. There are no purples, violets or indigos in The Great Gatsby . By comparison, Fitzgerald’s preferences in Tender is the Night are similar to those in Gatsby regarding ‘blue’ and ‘green’, with twenty ‘blues’ against twelve ‘greens’, but with reds and yellows the ratio is fourteen to five – a complete reversal of what is found in Gatsby .

48 ‘I was sure that they were selling something… They were at least agonisingly aware of the easy money in the vicinity’ – Gatsby’s parties have become a kind of Mecca for those on the make. These are ‘Englishmen’, an identification which gives the fleeting impression that Gatsby’s parties are of international fame.

48 ‘As soon as I arrived I made an attempt to find my host’ – Nick’s Mid-Western politeness provides a frame for his critical view of the behaviour of the other party-goers.

48 ‘the cocktail table – the only place in the garden where a single man could linger without looking purposeless and alone.’ – The reader is given a glimpse of Nick’s insecurities here as a single young male. He will soon join forces with Jordan Baker, perhaps largely as a result of his nervousness at being alone. There is a strong sense at this party of women actively searching out ‘purposeless and alone’ young men – and almost every women that Nick has met has flirted with him so far.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald
the Unkindness of Ravens If you have found our critical notes helpful, why not try the first Tower Notes novel, a historical fantasy set in the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.

Available HERE where you can read the opening chapters.

The Unkindness of Ravens by Anthony Paul