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René Barjavel

Throughout the book, there are several quotations that "stand out" and have a high level of significance to the overall story. These are important to discuss, in order to see how they relate to the rest of the book and what deeper information about the setting and the time period they are actually working to convey.

Quotation One: I hope she'll be a fool — that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.

In Chapter One, Daisy says this about her little daughter, when she is talking to Jordan and Nick. It is not relevant in the sense of the novel's main themes, but it does provide quite a bit of knowledge about who Daisy really is as a person and the kinds of values on which she focuses. While she is not a fool, Daisy sees that intelligence in women is generally not valued, especially when it comes to rich women. They are expected to be beautiful and put-together, but they are also expected to do what their husbands say and not think too much for themselves. If her daughter ends up that way, she will have a better life in the sense of being attractive to wealthy suitors. While the older generation wanted docility and subservience, the younger generation wants women to seek pleasure and be giddy and happy in a highly thoughtless sort of way.

Quotation Two: He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.

In Chapter Three, Nick really gets the opportunity to examine Gatsby closely for the first time. The way he describes Gatsby's smile addresses the charm and charisma that he has, along with how theatrical of a character Gatsby actually is. Also, it shows how Gatsby is seen to the world outside of himself. Slowly, as the novel moves along, that image is deconstructed. Gatsby defined the role he wanted to play when he was a teenager, and now he is still acting out that role. Unfortunately, he has never really "grown up," and still sees himself the way he did when he was young. The only real difference now is that he has more money. The smile that he offers to those who see him is part of his role, but it is also the result of the hope and imagination he possesses so strongly. Nick talks about Gatsby's focus and the rarity of it. He can make people smile, and make them feel as though he has chosen them out of everyone in the entire world. Gatsby reflects onto others the most important and optimistic version that they have of themselves.

Quotation Three: The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God — a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that — and he must be about his Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invest, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.

Chapter six involves a description of Gatsby's history. Nick compares Gatsby to Jesus Christ in the sense that Gatsby has created his own kind of identity. It is likely that Fitzgerald was influenced by other writers in this comparison. He admired, for example, the work of Ernest Renan, who wrote a book about how Jesus decided that he was going to make himself into the son of God. He ended up ruined because he would not recognize any reality that denied the conception he had of himself. This is highly similar to what Gatsby had done with himself, and how he created something that turned him into someone else. When there were questions about how he came to be who he was, or when there were differences between what he said and what was discovered about him, he would not acknowledge that the information he provided was not the right information.

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