Great Gatsby Commentary on Pages 100-103

Great Gatsby Commentary on Pages 100-103

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I have chosen to write a commentary on pages 100 to 103, Gatsby's second party because I feel it brings out true messages of the book and it portrays the more realistic, hones, darker side of the supposedly glamorous, high-class parties. It negatively shows how people are knowingly and openly breaking the law (National Prohibition Act), making fools of themselves, and putting on fronts in order to satisfy the equally false and shallow `celebrities' they wish to measure up to. Really, the only people who deserve to be admired are the truly honest ones, who are content within themselves and feel no urge to compete against the insecure status seekers. These people want to be remembered with respect and admiration, but in order to summon up the courage so speak up and be fun yet intelligent they get heavily drunk, forget about manners and etiquette and the plan to seem interesting and end up making utter fools of themselves, thereby being remembered with humiliation and pity. This party shows people as they come across throughout the book; Tom being domineering, Daisy being confused and indecisive and Gatsby still trying his ever best to impress Daisy. We can also witness the anonymity of the guests who are supposedly Gatsby's friends. Gatsby's previous party was elegant, glamorous and cheerful, whereas this one has "turned septic on the air." This party ids the antithesis on Gatsby's previous party.

The opening lines of the chosen passage, "Tom was evidently..." immediately states Tom Buchanan's key characteristics- dominance and oppressiveness, "His presence gave the evening its peculiar quality of oppressiveness." People are intimidated by his hulking power. Tom oversees the crowd as he is standing raised on the steps, which creates a vivid image similar to that of a powerful dictator on a platform surveying his country, people, soldiers, worshippers, slaves. He later leaves his wife at dinner to accompany a funny gentleman, but, as Daisy knows he is really accompanying a "common but pretty" girl. Here we can witness Tom's sheer nerve, audacity and idea of self importance, as he blatantly leaves his wife to join another woman. The book makes reference to "Tom's arrogant eyes" on several occasions throughout the book (p.12, p.101). As is commonly believed and suggested throughout the book the eyes are the door to the soul, so the book is clearly implying that Tom is an arrogant and oppressing person, even when stripped down to his bare, selfish soul.

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As Nick mentions Daisy "wasn't having a good time," This is most likely due to the pressure she is under to keep Tom's suspicions at bay, and yet not extinguish Gatsby's hopes of a relationship. In the very near future Daisy will have to chose between the two.

There is certain chemistry between Daisy and Gatsby, but is this true love or simply the short-lived spark of re-igniting an old flame? Daisy knows that Tom is not her true love, but they have grown comfortable with each other and the flaws that come with any person and they now have a child together. Tom and Daisy needed each other equally; Tom was looking for a pretty, high class trophy wife to reflect his success and Daisy wanted a wealthy husband who would provide for her a life of leisure. "And if you want to take down any addresses here's my little gold pencil." Although Daisy is aware that he is accompanying a pretty young girl, the fact that she offers him her pencil shows how she has grown to accept Tom's tendency to stray, but she knows that he will always return home to Daisy. Tom is suspicious of Gatsby and that something mischievous is going on between him and Daisy, but that Tom is happy to leave them alone shows either that Tom is comfortable that Daisy will not leave him, or that he is so selfish that he is more pre-occupied with having a `fling' with this other "common but pretty" girl, than stopping the relationship strengthening between Daisy and Gatsby.

"If you want to kiss me at any time during the evening, Nick, just let me know." "Or present a green card. I'm giving out green-" Green often symbolises fertility and `Go'. This is an obvious link to page 25, the first time we see Gatsby. He is reaching out across the bay towards a single green light, the light of Daisy's dock. Now the `green light' is there, right in front of him. This is a chance to finally act out the dream he has been perfecting for 5 years.

I believe a key theme or aspect of this party is the guest's anonymity coupled with their desperation to shake off the anonymity. The first reference to this is when Tom exclaims "I don't know a soul here." This is a major and key phrase, which partly sums up the parties and also the entire book. Tom is not simply mentioning that he has never met these people before, the phrase goes far deeper. The meaning of this phrase, not just directed towards tom, but to all the characters, is that the people and personalities met and experienced are not pure or even real. They are made up characters moulded to fit in with the crowd of the glamorous jazz-age, and have built a wall separating their true, honest selves from the desperate attention seekers. In the book we notice that people do not care about the real, caged person, only their status. Person's names are not remembered, only something prominent about their façade; "the polo player", "the man with the blue nose", "the small producer." On occasion Gatsby shows off to Tom about all his close, famous `friends', the friends who turn up weekly, uninvited to Gatsby's party, gladly drink his cocktails and stretch his hospitability and in return cannot even find the decency to show their presence and pay their respect and express their gratitude at his funeral! It is ironic how the people trying their desperately hardest to be a beacon worth admiration and remembrance, are the people who are first and foremost forgotten, most of all so the great Gatsby. Even his love, his dream whom he has pursued for years forgets to call him, forgets to attend his funeral. Whereas the delicate, reserved woman under the white plum tree, with interest only for the man opposite her, sticks in both the readers and Daisy's minds.

Throughout this passage we witness some of the themes, which run throughout the book such as Daisy's choice between Tom and Gatsby, Tom's oppressiveness, the falseness of the partygoers and Gatsby's elaborate attempts to impress Daisy. Fitzgerald also creates for us a very acute idea of the atmospheres of such parties in the jazz age. In contrast to Gatsby's first party this passage leaves the reader feeling subdued and rather than felling in awe of the party we feel almost repulsed and ashamed.

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