Now with Carraway

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dan Cody

Though sparsely referenced in the story, Dan Cody is an important character. According to chapter 6, he was a mining/metal tycoon who had been touring the in a yacht when he met Gatsby. This meeting is the origin of the Jay Gatsby we know in the story. On impulse, he changed his name from James Gatz and invented the details of his life he would stand by until the end of the story.
Cody served as Gatsby's mentor, and may have been the one who taught him the business practices that would serve him as a bootlegger later in life. He was apparently a heavy drinker, as Gatsby's primary responsibility was to watch over him and prevent him from damaging anything during his drunken binges. This may have influenced Gatsby's tendency to not drink even though liquor is the star attraction at his parties.
It is implied that Cody was assassinated by a covetous mistress. He left Gatsby a $25000 inheritance, which he was never able to claim due to the use of some obscure legal device against him by the mistress. This formed the starting point for Gatsby's story, as without money to support him or Dan Cody to follow around he ended up in the army, where he met Daisy. This fact makes Dan Cody a sort of lynch pin for the entire story, without him, the rest would never have happened.

Source: The Great Gatsby,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

East Egg v.s. West Egg

There is one major difference between East and West Egg, and that is the kinds of people that live there. In East egg, live people that have family money, that is money that came from parents or grandparents. Their ancestors succeeded in business or other fields and accumulated money that they passed down to their family. They do not like the people that live in West egg because of the way that they accumulated money. Tom and Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby live in East Egg.

The inhabitants of West Egg became wealthy very recently through successes in business or some other form of trade. They do not have wealthy ancestors, these people are called New money. Gatsby lives in West Egg because he was poor most of his life and only recently came in to a great deal of money from selling alcohol illegally. He is involves in bootlegging and that is how he was able to buy his house in West Egg.

This is the only difference between the areas of East and West Egg.

Selfish People

Several characters in Gatsby could be characterized as selfish, either is a material or spiritual sense. Tom seeks to maintain both a wife and a mistress without consequences and without losing the love of either. Daisy on the other hand, is portrayed as too impatient and spoiled to wait for Jay to return for her, marrying Tom only because she herself wanted her future decided right then and there.

Throughout the novel, Tome displays a rather distasteful selfish trait: greed. Even though he purportedly can't stand Daisy, the idea of her seeing anyone else (while he is already cheating) infuriates him. He wants the people in his married life to sit around and wait for when it's convenient for him to acknowledge their existence whilst he runs around with other women, and the idea that they could get along independent of him fails to register in his mind.

Daisy is selfish in a slightly different way. She acts spoiled and impatient, and makes a snap decision without considering the consequences for others. She "want[s] her future decided right then and there, and by some for- love, money, practicality". This leads her to marry Tom, despite having promised to wait for Gatsby. This selfishness actually serves as the catalyst for the entire action of the plot, as it was Gatsby's failure to reach his goal of Daisy's love that draws him into the bootlegging business in the first place, and his conflict with Daisy's husband that eventually brings about his downfall. Had there been no fight in the Plaza Hotel, Daisy wouldn't have tried to sooth herself by driving, wouldn't have hit Myrtle, and Tome wouldn't have had the means nor the motivation to send a vengeful Wilson after him.