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I should have pointed this out from the first mention of this novel, but please make sure as you write things in this and other discussion boards on Gatsby, that if you are familiar with the entire story of Gatsby, please do not bring events or characters into your discussion from the rest of the book. We are considering Chapters 1 and 2 ONLY on this week’s board. Please do not bring your knowledge of other events of the book into your discussions!
Please respond to the following prompts, and also reply to at least two of your group members’ posts. And again, please make sure you are posting replies of some reasonable amount on thought and substance; responses that are a single line of “I agree with you” or something like that will not deserve much in the way of points awarded!
1. What reaction do you as a reader have to the description of the area called the valley of ashes? Consider the physical description of the place, as well as the description of Wilson’s business, and George Wilson himself. How is this place so different from what you saw in Chapter 1?
2. Find the paragraph about halfway through the chapter that begins with “Mrs. Wilson had changed her costume.” Reread this paragraph and interpret what is going on there. Why do you think Myrtle behaves this way? What might she be expecting?
3. Comment on ethics and morality in this chapter. What sorts of unethical things go on? What are the characters’ reactions to these things? So far in the book, do you see Nick the narrator as ethical or unethical? Explain.
4. What do you think of Tom’s behavior, dialogue, attitude, and demeanor in this chapter? Is he an admirable person? Is he honorable? Is he someone you would like, or is he grating? Do you see issues in his ethics and views of family, or does he seem like an okay guy? Give your first impression of Tom as a person.
5. Making sure to read ALL of the lecture for the week, which includes a preview of Chapter Three of Gatsby, and comment upon it in some way. What in the lecture stood out to you? Why?