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Harkness Reflection

In Century Girl, core texts, discussions, passages, reflection on October 11, 2012 at 2:04 am

Our group discussed the text from page 34 to 41. On pages 34 and 35, there are descriptions of the Follies and the pictures show what the Follies looked like and what they actually represented. Page 37 tells about Ziegfeld’s trace to nobility of the Follies girls and talks about leaving conservatism and entering being more scandalous, the era of the new fashion style: sex appeal. The next page gives the profile of Ziegfeld from how he got started and his career at the point in the book. Pages 40 and 41 talk about how to be beautiful, how society abuses fake beauty, and how society was interacting and its response to the new fashion, beauty, era.
Through the Harkness discussion, we learned that beauty and appearance are extremely important at that time, and the new image of the ideal woman causes the male dominance to decrease and start to decline. Also, Follie girls’ attractive performance along with classy costumes were appealing and glamorous to people and served as the escape for people who were working hard in their daily life. Ziegfeld’s description and words that his girls were classy and have noble ancestry suggest that he also wants to be seen as a classy person. This is well represented by his purple tie on page 38 that symbolizes nobility. On pages 36-37, we learned about how Titanic is sinking in the blue ocean, which symbolizes that the sinking of conservatism. The ice berg image of the top of the page 37 represents the new ideas and new images of beauty, the sexual appeal. We came up with a structural question: Why is Ziegfeld brought up after he was introduced earlier in the text? For the answer, we thought that such introductions make readers more attached to the shows, and let them learn more about him. Perhaps, Redniss thought that it would be interesting knowing about him after his success. Lastly, we talked about the analogy of the phrase “…Urban background, the inviting semi-smile, the senous, sophisticated atmosphere, the silk and softness of the female, he thought, would be as good to city flok as a SEARS-ROEBUCK catalogue…” (Redniss 35). This shows the analogy that people watching the Follies are similar to a country person looking at a city catalog: how people want things in magazines and the viewers watching the shows either want them or want to be like them.
We are still confused about some portions of the text and came up with two questions:
1) Why do they give such detailed description and also give a picture of it as well? (page 34-35)
2) Why they have different color backgrounds and what is the significance?
We would like to expand more about the idea that we came up with on page 40: How and why does Doris, at such a young age, want to become a part of the Follies, the sex era. Also, if we had more time, we could have either analyzed a larger portion of the text or focused in on a specific page or small portion of the text.

Chapter 8 Harkness Reflection

In discussions, passages, reflection, The Great Gatsby on September 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Jay Gatsby’s Rolls Royce plays a significant role in the book. In itself it’s a prominent feature in several scenes, but it’s also important for what it represents. First, it’s yellow color can be seen as a symbol of wealth considering its brightness and similarity to gold. The car is also has a very masculine body style that reminds me of Gatsby, very macho. However, on researching on Rolls Royce I discovered another similarity.

Nick Carroway and Jay Gatsby’s relationship relates closely to that of Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, the two founders of Rolls Royce. In the late 1880’s Henry Royce established a small business off of borrowed money. And actually made what was called a “Royce” car. Charles Rolls also sold quality cars in London during the same time In the early 1900’s, the two met from working in the same industry. Rolls liked the Royce Cars Henry was producing to he decided to sell them. Just two short years later in 1906, the two formed the Rolls Royce Company.

Charles Rolls business was more established at the time, so I would compare him to Gatsby.  Henry Royce was more of the idealist, hence, Nick Carroway. The two worked together in the book as the founders of the Rolls Royce Company did.  For example when Nick and Gatsby arranged the meeting with Daisy they were working together just as Rolls and Royce would on a car.

Another event that could be compared between the two pairs of men is the night Nick attended his first party at Gatsby’s house and Gatsby invited him to go fly with him the next morning. First of all, Charles Royce died in an aviation accident so I find that to be ironic because Gatsby also died in a not-so-common way. Paragraph number three of the website sited says, “At their first meeting, Royce took Rolls for a spin in the car. Legend has it that as he climbed aboard, Rolls asked Royce to “start her up.” Royce replied, “My dear fellow, she’s already running!” Soon after, they reached an agreement that Royce Limited would manufacture a range of cars to be sold exclusively by CS Rolls & Company. The success of these Rolls-Royce cars led to the formation of the Rolls-Royce Company just two years later – in 1906.” This paragraph very much reminded me of the rapport that Nick and Gatsby possess. This also reminded me of them because Nick has something that Gatsby wants. Just like Rolls wanting Royce’s car, Jay wanted Daisy, and through nick he got to her.

Ritzy Citrus

In core texts, passages, The Great Gatsby on September 25, 2012 at 3:32 am

Throughout the book, The Great Gatsby, parties are showed up several times, which I believe that the author symbolizes something through these parties.

In chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby, there was a party that Jay Gatsby hosted. In the party, I noticed that there are oranges that Jay Gatsby provides for about two hundred guests. Then, I searched on google about the price for oranges at the 1920’s, and here is the result: a dozen oranges cost 63 cents. If we assume that each guest would have two oranges, then the total amount would be 400 oranges. The money that cost on simply oranges would be 21 dollars. By putting 21 dollars into inflation calculator, 21 dollars in 1923 had the same buying power as 280.42 dollars in 2012 . Imagine that: paying 280 dollars for only one kind of fruit on a party. And obviously, oranges are not the most expensive costs for the parties.

The cost of only oranges has shown that how luxurious and how expensive these parties can be. It then made me question why Gatsby is willing to spend the huge amount of money on parties. And the answer would be Daisy. In order to attract Daisy’s attention, Gatsby has paid more than we could think of. By calculating the cost of oranges for parties, can we figure out other costs for parties and add them all together to see how expensive a party can be in the 1920’s?

Great Gatsby by teasertrailer

Tea Time With Gatsby

In core texts, passages, The Great Gatsby on September 25, 2012 at 3:16 am

When Jay Gatsby has tea with Daisy and Nick, I realized that they dressed up for it. Mr. Gatsby was wearing “a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and a gold-colored tie,” and Daisy was wearing a dress with “a three-corned lavender hat.” Mr. Gatsby wanted to impress Daisy by wearing a fancy suit to prove to her that he is in the same class as her. Fitzgerald did not describe what Nick wore because what Nick wore probably did not even compare to what Gatsby was wearing because Nick is not very high up in the social status.

Today, women usually do not wear their best dresses to a tea party; instead they wear a fun, party dress. Tea parties are usually a way to have fun and laugh with friends, but the tea party that Mr. Gatsby and Daisy went to was the opposite of that. Their tea party was more formal and not very relaxing. After all, in the beginning it was awkward, and then Daisy was crying. Tea parties are not suppose to be like that!

I did some research about tea parties in the 1920’s and I found a website that helps me understand how tea parties worked in the 1920’s. I found out that tea parties were mostly for setting a good impression on the people who were attending them. That is why the women wore their best dresses and wore fancy hats; they wanted to impress other women as well as the men. Women tried to out do each other by wearing a better dress than the other to show that they were in a higher class than the other. Tea parties in the 1920’s are basically equivalent to a baby shower party today.

In the 1920’s, tea parties were a big deal because people never knew who was going to show up at the tea party and surprise them. The tea parties were never quite the same because the people who attended the parties made the tea parties unique, like how Gatsby made Nick’s tea party with Daisy unique.

20s and 30s teagowns
On the left hand side in the picture above, it shows the types of dresses and hats women would wear to an afternoon tea party. The picture on the right hand side shows the types of dresses that women wore at an evening party.

The photo in this blog post is courtesy of http://www.artdecosociety.org/gatsby/htg_ladies_overview.htm. 

It’s All About the Smile

In core texts, discussions, passages, reflection, The Great Gatsby on September 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Imagine the ultimate  friendship that began with a single smile.

The passage we discussed took place at Gatsby’s party and explained how Gatsby and Nick first met. Nick had been looking for Gatsby throughout the party and eventually gave up and sat outside with Jordan. While there, he ran into a man who recognized him from the military. They talked about their time in the war. Nick figured that the man lived close by, for he had a hydroplane. Throughout the conversation, Nick wanted to ask the man his name, but he never got the opportunity. Eventually, he told the man how he had been looking for the host, Gatsby, for some time. The man then replied exclaiming how he was Gatsby. Gatsby then smiled an “eternal” smile.

When discussing this passage, we came to the conclusion that Gatsby already knew who Nick was and deliberately came up to him to befriend him. This explains why Gatsby never introduced himself before Nick brought him up. Normally, people introduce each other upon meeting. Because Gatsby wanted to ease into a conversation, he did not introduce himself. He thought it easier to befriend Nick using this tactic. We concluded that Gatsby wanted to befriend Nick to gain access with Daisy. This explains why Gatsby “picked his words with care.” He did not want to startle Nick by coming out and saying he wanted to talk with Daisy.

We also discussed how Nick and Gatsby bonded with each other because they had a strong commonality; they had both been in war, roughly around the same time as well. This gave Gatsby a topic of conversation to get Nick’s attention. Also, we concluded that because soldiers typically have a strong connection with each other because they go through similar experiences, Nick and Gatsby bonded over this commonality.

If we had more time, we would analyze the significance of Gatsby’s smile. Nick describes Gatsby’s “eternal smile” for a prominent amount of time. We would discuss the idea Nick is trying to portray and how it is significant to the book. We would also talk about the relevance of “the triangular silver scales.” Why is this included in the passage? There is also a lot of imagery at the beginning of the passage. Why is this relevant or important to Nick?

 – By Sarah, Soobin, Luna, Paris, Amanda and Jenny

Green light and hope

In discussions, passages, The Great Gatsby on September 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm

This article from The New York Times written by Sara Rimer talks about a new perspective and thoughts on the green light in The Great Gatsby. The article mentions a girl named Jinzhao who immigrates from China to the US a couple years ago. In her school, she reads about The Great Gatsby. After she reads it, she finds it inspirational. Moreover, she offers a different thought about the symbolism of green light.

She considers that ”the journey toward the dream is the most important thing.” However, others think the American dream is about either money or working hard. Jinzhao provides her opinion by giving the example of her intent to go to Harvard University. She mentions that going to Harvard is her green light, which symbolizes her hope. Interestingly, she does not view the final result as crucial as the process she needs to go through. Furthermore, she tells us that she has”…a green light beyond a green light,” which is that she dreams to utilize her knowledge and education to help improve her native country, China.

After reading the article, it helps me understand The Great Gatsby in a different way. Gatsby’s only one green light is to marry Daisy. However, he is too focused on achieving Daisy, which means he neglects a lot of things in his life. He has no friends, and he seldom meets with his family. He pays all his attention to his final green light: to be with Daisy. Unfortunately, in the end, he does not achieve his dream. Moreover, no one comes for his funeral except his father and Nick. In this article, I notice that even though dreams are important, the journey, the process of achieving the dreams is as crucial as well.

This article teaches us a lesson about although dreaming is important, the pathways that we have to been through are more crucial. It is fine if we do not achieve our green light because while chasing our green light, we will gain knowledge and experience from the journey. Moreover, we should not be like Gatsby who focuses too much on the single and final green light. There are many dreams that we could hope for, just as Jinzhao mentions, we all have “a green light beyond a green light.”

Chapter 3 Harkness

In core texts, discussions, passages, reflection, The Great Gatsby on September 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm

In Chapter 3, Nick pauses from telling us about his life in West Egg to telling us about his life in New York. He works in the bond business and spends his time working and studying securities. We learn that he had a short affair with someone. He people watches, but he feels alone in a crowded city. This is the first time we see the story focus on Nick Carraway and therefore understand his character and narration more.

The first thing that we were confused by is if Nick feels so lonely why doesn’t he establish relationships? He’s so focused on being an objective narrator and not getting involved in other people’s affairs. As a result, it seems like he’s narrating his own life and not actually living it. He tries to avoid conflict and an example of this is when he stops having an affair with a women simply because her brother gives him a mean look. By not having these relationships, he’s only hurting himself and that’s what makes him lonely.

We learned that Nick Carraway experiences a lot of contrasts in his life. There’s a stark contrast between the city and him being lonely. He says he’s starting to like New York City, but he provides no positive imagery of it. Instead, he describes it as energetic and racy. Racy isn’t typically used to describe something in a positive light. Even when he’s trying to talk about how he likes the city he contradicts himself. He says he enjoys visualizing what couples’ lives are like, but that only intensifies his loneliness. The city isn’t doing anything to help him as a person. The reason being is because in the city he’s surrounded by Eastern values. He works in the finance industry, which probably doesn’t exactly align with his “Midwestern” values.

We don’t really know a lot about his daily life because he doesn’t like to share things about himself. Even when he focuses this entire passage on his day-to-day life he just describes the motions he goes through – it’s extremely vague. If we had more time to discuss we would have liked to talk about what exactly his characteristics were.

The main point of the passages was to provide insight into Nick Carraway’s character.

Allie, Katrina, Kathy, and Kiro.

“Ain’t you still love me?”

In core texts, passages, The Great Gatsby on September 20, 2012 at 5:20 am

There was this very talented and very smart man. This man shared the spacious castle with Jay Gatsby and  used his agile finger jumping back and forward in the black-white keyboard. As a pianist, he did a wonderful job playing music; and as a person who loved piano, I was so interested in this musician when I found out that he lived in Gatsby’s mansion. In The Great Gatsby, there were four songs that actually existed, but for me, the song played by him was very attractive to me.

This man was named Ewing Klipspringer, and this song was called “Ain’t We Got Fun.”

“Ain’t We Got Fun?” is a popular foxtrot published in 1921 with music by Richard A. Whiting  and lyrics by Raymond B. Egan and Gus Kahn.

“In the morning,

In the evening,

Ain’t we got fun?

Not much money,

Oh, but honey,

Ain’t we got fun?

The rent’s unpaid dear,

We haven’t a bus.

But smiles were made, dear,

For people like us.

In the winter, in the Summer,

Don’t we have fun?

Times are bum and getting bummer

Still we have fun.

There’s nothing surer,

The rich get richer and the poor get children.

In the meantime,

In between time,

Ain’t we got fun!”

Before Gatsby has Klipspringer play this song, he is so fidgety and worried whether Daisy is coming to his house. While Nick tells him the answer, he is like the happiest person in the world, and when she comes he just quickly asks her to dance with him. Gatsby doesn’t just randomly choose this song;  he selects this song for a reason. At the first time he sees his old lover Daisy, perhaps he just wants to seek for a key to her heart. In addition to showing Daisy that he is rich and wealthy, probably he wants something else for Daisy—-their love back to then—indigent, but happiness life. In that moment, he doesn’t try to express how rich he become, he wants to feel the true love between him and Daisy. The song talks about having no money, but having a lot of fun. The song also says a  poor life doesn’t really matter. What is important according to the song  is that the people love each other, and that’s enough for them.

Gatsby never tells Daisy that he still loves her while they are meeting back in the house. He keeps quiet and use a much more materialistic way to show her his position in the society. He could be trying to tell her that her decision to marry Tom was wrong, and that he scorns her for totally throwing their past away. But more likely, I believe, there’s a sorrowful feeling in his mind. Gatsby doesn’t want to meet her like that, letting money and fame tarnished their love. He wants her back.

The Art of Being a Terrible Father–A Harkness

In core texts, discussions, passages, reflection, The Great Gatsby on September 20, 2012 at 5:00 am

In the last chapter, Nick Carraway holds a funeral for Jay Gatsby. Before the funeral starts, Nick has a conversation with Gatsby’s father, Mr. Gatz. Instead of being somber and sad, like you would expect from a parent who has to bury their child, Mr. Gatz is excited and extremely upbeat about all of his son’s possessions. He shows Nick a picture that has obviously been shown to many people over the years, and is of Gatsby’s house. He reveals that he hasn’t seen his son in two years, and that when Gatsby left home, the two men had a falling out. He understands why his son left and is seemingly grateful for all the things his son has provided for him. He doesn’t want to put the picture away but quickly shows Nick a book about a cowboy that Gatsby had written a schedule in. The schedule is very specific, and includes all things that will help him move up in the world. There are also goals for him to accomplish in no particular time frame, but all have to do with self-improvement. He says all these wonderful things about his son, talking about what a driven individual he is. He also doesn’t want to close the book and put it away, and Nick feels that Mr. Gatz thinks that Nick should be taking notes. Their conversation ceases while they wait for people to show up, but nobody comes.

Our discussion focused mainly on the aspect of Gatsby and whether or not that Gatsby really got ahead in life. The general consensus was that Gatsby did get ahead in a financial sense, but in an emotional and mental sense, he was extremely stunted. We thought that the main reason that he was so emotionally stunted was the fact that he didn’t have a good relationship with his father ever. The only thing that his father really cared about was the material possessions and financial worth of his son. Mr. Gatz admits that there was a fight and period that they weren’t talking to each other and it only was resolved because of Jay Gatsby’s money.

Our two questions that we are still confused about is that why did he choose the cowboy book over any other book in the house or in his life? What is the significance of Hopalong Cassidy? Our other question was why did Mr. Gatz go through Gatsby’s things? What was his motivation?

If we could continue, we would talk about why Gatsby wrote in a book about a cowboy over every other book. Also, we would examine the father-son relationship and how that is instrumental in the emotional development of a young boy.

-Alexa, Karina, Grace, and Sydney

Tea Time With Gatsby

In core texts, passages, The Great Gatsby on September 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm

When Jay Gatsby has tea with Daisy and Nick, I realized that they dressed up for it. Mr. Gatsby was wearing “a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and a gold-colored tie,” and Daisy was wearing a dress with “a three-corned lavender hat.” Mr. Gatsby wanted to impress Daisy by wearing a fancy suit to prove to her that he is in the same class as her. Fitzgerald did not describe what Nick wore because what Nick wore probably did not even compare to what Gatsby was wearing because Nick is not very high up in the social status.

Today, women usually do not wear their best dresses to a tea party; instead they wear a fun, party dress. Tea parties are usually a way to have fun and laugh with friends, but the tea party that Mr. Gatsby and Daisy went to was the opposite of that. Their tea party was more formal and not very relaxing. After all, in the beginning it was awkward, and then Daisy was crying. Tea parties are not suppose to be like that!

I did some research about tea parties in the 1920’s and I found out that tea parties were mostly for setting a good impression on the people who were attending them. That is why the women wore their best dresses and wore fancy hats; they wanted to impress other women as well as the men. Women tried to out do each other by wearing a better dress than the other to show that they were in a higher class than the other. Tea parties in the 1920’s are basically equivalent to a baby shower party today.

In the 1920’s, tea parties were a big deal because people never knew who was going to show up at the tea party and surprise them. The tea parties were never quite the same because the people who attended the parties made the tea parties unique, like how Gatsby made Nick’s tea party with Daisy unique.

20s and 30s teagowns

In the picture above in the left hand side, it shows they types of dresses and hats women would wear to a afternoon tea party. The picture on the right hand side shows the types of dresses that women wore at an evening party.

The photo in this blog post is courtesy of http://www.artdecosociety.org/gatsby/htg_ladies_overview.htm.