Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Great Gatsby - The Characters

You should all have started reading The Great Gatsby. There are 9 chapters, so we'll be discussing two chapters each week.

The book starts right out with the narrator, Nick Carraway. Nick is the child of a well-to-do Minnesota family. He went to Yale (graduating in 1915) and then decided to go to New York to work with bonds. Remember, Fitzgerald wrote this book in 1925, so he had no idea what was going to happen in 1929. So, it sounds like Nick is in for a pretty big shock in about seven years!

We also meet Tom and Daisy Buchanan, and their friend Jordan Baker. (It takes a while before we find out Miss Baker's first name.)

And we see (but not meet) Jay Gatsby.

Here are all the characters we'll eventually meet in this book:

Nick Carraway: Minnesota native. Son of a well-to-do family, in the wholesale hardware business. Nick is working in the bond business in New York. Lives in a small house next door to Gatsby's mansion, on West Egg. Nick's father is supporting him for a year, while Nick gets established in his new career. Daisy Buchanan's second cousin, once removed. Graduated from Yale in 1915. Wrote editorials for the Yale News. Everyone seems to feel comfortable confiding in Nick.

Tom Buchanan: Former star football player at Yale. Scion of a wealthy Chicago family. Went to school with Nick. Working at being a racist. Is described as being a bully, and violent. Has a mistress, Myrtle Wilson.

Daisy Buchanan: Sophisticated socialite. Spent her childhood in Louisville Kentucky, where she met Jordan Baker. Mother of a three year old daughter, Pammy (whom we meet briefly, in passing).

Jordan Baker: Daisy's childhood friend. Grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. Is an enthusiastic golfer (about the only thing she's enthusiastic about.) She becomes romatically involved with Nick.

Jay Gatsby: Newly rich, and probably got his money through illegal activities. Met Daisy in Louisville, when he was an officer in the military, before World War I.

George Wilson: Garage owner, and husband to Tom's mistress, Myrtle.

Myrtle Wilson: Tom's mistress. Flashy and enthusiastic - everything that Daisy is not.

Catherine: Myrtle's sister

Chester & Lucille McKee: Have an apartment below Tom and Myrtle's "love nest."

Owl-Eyes: A middle-aged acquaintance, who regularly attends Gatsby's parties.

Meyer Wolfsheim: Gatsy's "business associate." A gambler and racketeer.

Ewing Klipspringer: "Hanger on", living at Gatsby's house.

Dan Cody: Gatsby's former employer

Mr. Sloan: Friend of Tom's, contemptuous of Gatsby.

Michaelis: Owns a coffee shop near Wilson's garage.

Henry C. Gatz: Jay Gatsby's father

Having read the first chapter, what do you think about the characters so far? Are they people you'd like to meet? Would you be interested in spending time with them?

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