a) + c) The scene where Nick sees Gatsby for the first time in the 1974 film is brief. Indeed, Nick barely has the time to look up that Gatsby has already disappeared. But first, before that, Nick observed him from a low angle shot which reinforces the fact that he looked superior as if he was on a pedestal. The viewer can also see admiration in Nick's eyes by the way he's contemplating him and in the way his face is illuminated: his reaction can be assimilated to someone who's fascinated by a statue of a god in a temple for example or a winner on a podium. Later when Nick looks away a moment, Gatsby just vanishes like a ghost in a supernatural way, neither Nick nor the spectator sees him walk away He is elusive. Then, the addition of a scary and mysterious music gives even more suspense to this scene.
Again in a scene at the restaurant, Nick is with Gatsby but as soon as they see Tom Buchanan, the camera focuses on Tom and Nick before going back to Gatsby only to show that he's suddenly not here anymore and nobody actually saw him leave. The only difference with the first scene is that his rival Tom is also here in the restaurant.
b) In another interesting scene, the viewer sees him from the back which makes him look mysterious as his face is not visible yet. He's facing the immensity of the ocean and observing the skyline in the sunrise: it accentuates his loneliness, the typical loneliness of the romantic hero confronted to the immensity of nature. He's also clenching his fist as if he was nervous: the spectator may wonder why.
d) There are also a few scenes where he's facing a mirror. It gives the impression that there are 2 Gatsby, the private and the public one, like the myth of the double, which is arguably one of the main themes in the story. Moreover once again, he never directly faces the camera, the viewer always sees him from the back. So which one of the two is the real one, the one in the mirror or the one outside the mirror?
e) The mystery is also here when it comes to his identity and his past. In one of the banquet scenes the guests are all questioning one another about him. Everyone wants to know who he truly is and rumors are spread about him but this false information is not coming from Gatsby himself but from other people: it's just hear say. The problem is that everyone has a different answer, a different version and to a degree, they are making their own version of the Gatsby myth. Then, we can see in the dialogue that Gatsby is mocking them when he says in an ironical way "only one??" when Nick says he is suspected of killing a man, he doesn’t answer “yes” or “no”, he is quite unclear and mysterious again.
Marie, with Inès, Germain and Lou Ana
a) Highlights from various back-covers to the novel (1969, 2000 and 2011 editions):
1969. “Everybody at his glittering parties is debating his origins and mysterious past.”
2000. “Young, handsome and fabulously rich, everyone took advantage of Jay Gatsby’s fabulous hospitality. And it was really fabulous! In his superb mansion, he gave the most amazing parties, parties which never seemed to end. The most remarkable thing was that few of his guests could recognize him.”
2011. “Beneath the shimmering surface of his life, behind this façade, Gatsby is hiding a secret, everything he has built is not meant to impress the world, but to impress just one person, a girl named Daisy.”
Further instructions for doc 5:
1) Focus on his parties. Use the following key-words, "glittering", "the most amazing parties, parties which never seem to end" to illustrate a different aspect of the Gatsby myth.
2) Focus on the repetition of the adjective "fabulous" added to the adverb "fabulously". Think in terms of etimology and say what it means about his fortune, his hospitality, etc.
3) Use the 2011 back-cover to say what makes him a romantic hero. Use the images of the "surface" and of the "façade", use the fact that he is "mysterious" and that "only few [people] could recognize him" to find another aspect of Gatsby as a hero.
Part 2 (personal correction)
The first major movie adaptation was released (it came out) in 1974. Immediately, as we saw in class, the famous GQ magazine published an issue (un numéro) with Robert Redford dressed in pink near his yellow Roll Royce. Wearing a pink suit and driving a yellow car is so unusual, so unreal, that it really gives the impression Gatsby is like nobody else, that he is a sort of myth.Moreover the caption on the cover says that this film “influences” the way of dressing for men, it gives a code on how the modern man has to dress. It shows that this movie has a lot of influence and how it creates the Gatsby myth of masculine class, elegance, fashion and style. Recently, in 2013, another remake came out with (starring) Leonardo di Caprio. The funny thing is that again, GQ published another issue with the famous actor on the cover saying that the new film was going to “redefine the modern man” which again shows how the character / personae of Gatsby now symbolizes masculine class. The word “redefine” is important because it shows the myth needed to be refreshed, (modernized, updated) and Di Caprio was the best actor for that.
I also think a good film generally touches more people than a good book, it’s more visual and it’s also easier to sit and watch than to sit and read! Many more people can identify. Of course some people will disagree with me because with a book we can imagine our own story whereas in the movie we have faces / images imposed by others. But if the actors are Robert Redford and Leonardo Di Caprio, the film really helps the book because only mythical superstar can give life to a mythical character.
The Gatsby myth is spreading all over the world, in fact some brands use Gatsby’s name for their products in order to catch people’s attention more easily. Indeed, we studied some example of ads, which came from India ( for hair gel), Japan (for face cream), China (hair gel again) and Italy (for luxury clothes and bags). These products are all called Gatsby.
The question is to know how the Gatsby myth is used to represent masculine elegance, style and perfection.
The first ad is a video from India featuring a hyperactive man. The viewer can see him sky diving from a helicopter, fighting at war and dodging bullets like Neo from Matrix, and he is also a loving son, a great dancer and artistic director. Actually, whatever the situation is, his hair is always perfect. Therefore, what is explicit in this ad is that he is a perfect man, in fact his mom is proud of him, women are fascinated by him and because he can dodge bullets, he is invincible like a super hero, the implicit is that he has a perfect life thanks to the hair gel he put on his hair.
In the second ad which is a video from Japan, there are two characters; there is an ordinary-looking man and an attractive super model who is probably famous in Japan. In the video the first man (the ordinary one) becomes an upgraded version of himself in an instant, actually when he rinses the face cream, the second man appears. Because the subterfuge is obvious, a voice over says « not real », but it doesn’t prevent people from believing it is true and so, from buying the Gatsby cream. Furthermore, the ad is in English the illusion of the Gatsby myth must be complete, men have not only to look like Gatsby but also to speak English like Gatsby. The third ad is a Chinese website where there are European models and it is also to complete the illusion of the Gatsby myth, which is to be a handsome and rich white man.
The fourth ad looks like a short film and it is from an Italian brand of luxury features and the new “Gatsby Collection”. In fact there is no voice over, just classical music which sets an atmosphere of wealth and romance, like in the novel.
The elements in this ad remind me of the cover of the GQ magazine with Robert Redford.
The absence of dialogues in the Italian ad shows that being Gatsby is not a question of language anymore but it is about the products that men use. In fact, the Gatsby myth of class speaks for itself, because it is understandable for all men.
Every man, all over the world can be Gatsby, in fact China, Japan, India, not to mention Italy and America represent about 50% of the world’s population, so the Gatsby myth is now a global and (a) universal myth.
Rappel DS jeudi 23/11, deux possibilités au choix:
Rédaction sur "God Bless America" dans le cadre de "Spaces & Exchanges", c'est à dire en quoi ce texte peut illustrer les termes de la notion
Rédaction sur les deux textes à la fois, "Zokar Travels" et "God Bless America", qui englobe les remarques de façon synthétique, en insistant sur les thèmatiques communes, les différences, etc.
400/500 mots (minimum) dans chaque cas.
Travail 2 ( GatsbyDOC_2 ) Consigne: Focus on doc 2 and explain the decisive role played by the two most famous movie adaptations in the development of the Gatsby myth, more than half a century after the novel came out. You will first need to decide what exactly this myth is about and for that, you should interpret the messages conveyed by GQ Magazine (colors, style, caption, the car, the actors themselves of course, etc.)
« The Great Gatsby »
Part one: defining the terms « myths » and « heroes », asking what makes Jay Gatsby both a myth and a hero, introducing the novel.
a) A myth can be several things. First, it is a story that is partly true and partly invented and that is supposed to advocate or promote a certain set values in a given society, even though these values are not always within everybody’s reach, even though some people don’t always manage to enjoy the benefits of these values. The example of the American Dream illustrates this in the sense that theoretically (in theory) everybody can climb the social ladder, but only a happy few actually manage to do that.
A myth can also be a person whose public image is a bit idealized due to his or her exceptional fame or outstanding achievements, while some other, less glorious parts of his or her existence are overlooked (ignored). The case of Marilyn Monroe can be given, she was a worldwide superstar, but only a few people knew that she was addicted to drugs and alcohol.
To that extent it can be argued that a hero – a person of exceptional courage, with outstanding qualities and capable of incredible achievements – may sometimes be a bit of a myth.
b) This what I would like to show with the example of Jay Gatsby, the main character of the novel “The Great Gatsby”.
c) [BY LINA] The novel was written by Francis Scott-Fitzgerald in 1925. The scene takes place in 1922.
The Narrator is Nick Caraway , he's not very rich and lives in a small house near NYC.
His neighbor, called Jay Gatsby, is very very rich. Every week-end he organizes (throws) fantastic parties in his huge mansion. Nick’s other neighbors , Daisy and Tom Buchanan are also incredibly rich.
Tom cheats on Daisy with another woman named Mrs. Wilson. Before the first world war, Gatsby and Daisy were in love but she refused his marriage proposal because he was poor. So, he went to war , returned home and became rich, in the hope to rekindle Daisy's love and reconquer her heart.
Tom becomes suspicious and provokes Gatsby. Daisy is shocked, she and Gatsby go for a ride in his car. Daisy drives but she is so shocked that she runs over Mrs. Wilson by accident and kills her.
Mr. Wilson recognizes the car and shoots Gatsby before killing himself.
Suite des documents à commenter:DOC_3
Final part, activity N°6 (N°5 en attente...)
Christos belongs to a no man’s land: he is torn between two countries. He has complicated and feelings towards his “adopted” country. The implications of the word “adopted” are that he was not born there: he immigrated from his native country to a new one, therefore adopting it. He returns to Greece from time to time. Indeed, the readers is made aware that he returned there in order to get married, procreate, and every time he is on sabbatical. If we do the math, that would make at least six trips for his marriage and the birth of his children, and a few more for the holidays. Therefore, he often goes back and forth between his two countries: he never belongs to one. He is torn between them both. He belongs to neither country and spends more time in between them. He leads a double life.
Nicholas says Christos never became American. Even though he has been in America since he has been 17, he isn’t truly a part of it, and will never be American. From the day he set foot on American soil to the day he died, he never was able to truly become a part of the country, to become its citizen, which means he never really stopped being Greek, though only partly.
The people from his native land (Greece) call him a “little American” (line 19). Not only is he not truly integrated into his adopted county, he is also rejected by the inhabitants of his native one. The verb “served” suggests he is little better than a slave. The bottom line = the truth to the matter is that he is rejected by both sides. The remark of his fellow Greek men is derogatory in a qualitative way. In the quantitative sense of the word, he would be qualified as “partly American”. All his life he has remained partly American and partly Greek.
His feelings towards America are quite paradoxical. Indeed, he criticizes America with the point of view of a person with strict moral values. However, he lets himself go and loses the vast majority of that side of him. He gets sucked into the American “comforts and fancy life”, while being aware of its dangers. As we said, he leads a double life.
Nina, Lou Ann and Sabrina.
“God bless America” is an extract from Eleni, a novel by Nicholas Gage. This excerpt covers events that took place both in Greece and in America during and after the Greek civil war, in the late 1940s. Nicholas Gage is the narrator; he went to America after his mother’s brutal death. In this extract, the narrator is telling his father’s story: his father went to America when Nicholas Gage was young in order to earn money to help his family.
We can see on the one hand that the narrator’s father has a very positive view of America. In fact we can say that he has been seduced by “American comfort and the bachelor life” he found there, which clearly enhances how poor a country Greece must have been, and how strict life must have been too. It is also said that he “absorbed the country’s optimism and naiveté” which is the exact opposite way of life of his country. It means that he is probably more American than Greek. The father also often said “God bless America!” which shows that he may love the United States more than he does Greece. The father being called “naive” could also mean that he thought everything would be great and he would help his family, but also that everything is perfect in America. But it is actually different from other countries. In fact, he said that America was “full of fallen women” and that is one of the reasons he didn’t want to raise his four girls there.
The reasons that he keeps saying "god bless America" are that America represents the land of milk and honey, somewhere immigrants will have a better life than the life they had in their own country. The narrator explains to the reader that when he was a child his father told him "god bless America", to thank the country that allowed him to live a better life, let alone the fact that America literally saved his son from the horrors of the civil war.
While we have seen the main character’s opinion of America, it does not show us the entirety of the dynamics between him and the Americans. He loves the country and he praises it. It is, for him and every other immigrant, the “promised land”.
But on the other hand he might not have expected that he’d end up working “sixteen hours a day”. To boot, it seems that corruption runs rampant in the United States. In Greece, people had to follow an “ethos”, a moral code. In their village, any kind of immorality would be seen and criticized by the neighbours, but it is not so in America. Moreover, the main character is not treated with the respect a human being deserves just because the “rich Yankees” don’t believe he holds a respectable job. The narrator evokes the way immigrants like his own father “serve” the Americans, thereby implying a kind of master-servant relationship. When he emigrated, he thought he would become wealthy, and although he managed to make his family the most well-off in his Greek village, he himself can be considered quite poor, if he were judged by white American standards. He is, after all, “a struggling vegetable peddler”, which is a difficult job that does not pay off very well.
Sabrina, with Victor, Giulia and Luana