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3. Chapter 2
About this Lecture
In this module, we explore the second chapter of the novel as Nick Carraway and Tom Buchanan drive to New York via the "valley of ashes". In particular, we think about the distinctiveness of the "valley of ashes" as compared to Long Island and New York, and what each of the locales might represent, the rumours that circulate about Gatsby before we even meet him ("Well, they say he's a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm's"), the similarities between Gatsby's wealth and success and that of America itself, and the dark underbelly of the American dream represented by George Wilson.
In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby. The course begins with a broader introduction to the novel, thinking about the context in which the novel was written and published, its alternative title ('Trimalchio in West Egg'), and introducing some of its key themes – love, loss, wealth, ambition. Each of the following nine sections is dedicated to one of the chapters of the novel, providing close reading and in-depth analysis of the novel's major characters, themes and motifs.
John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.
Cite this Lecture
McRae, J. (2018, August 15). Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby - Chapter 2 [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/fitzgerald-the-great-gatsby/chapter-2
McRae, J. "Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby – Chapter 2." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/fitzgerald-the-great-gatsby/chapter-2