Friday, 17 February 2012

Analyse the significance of references to songs in the novel

The Love Nest

"Shall we build for pride? Or,
Shall brick and mortar hold
worth and love inside?"
  • Shows the confusion of whether or not the love between Gatsby and Daisy is made of feelings or materialistic gain. Earlier when Gatsby talks of holding the meeting at Nick’s house so that Daisy can see how grand his own mansion is, illustrates his pride in what he has achieved, and how he thinks that he is more likely to win back Daisy’s affections by money and grandeur, than who he is and his personal ‘worth and love’.
  • However, when Daisy and Gatsby enter the music room, Klipspriner has just played ‘The Love Nest’ on the piano, implying how it could be now that the self-indulgent way of thinking has left the two lovers, and that they are considering whether there is more to life than the hedonism implied through the rest of the novel.

Ain’t we got fun?

"Every morning,
Every evening,
Ain't we got 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!"
  • The inclusion of the lyrics of this song highlights how now that Gatsby has Daisy back in his life and has seen that perhaps his mansion and wealth does not mean as much as he thought to her, that nothing matters anymore.
  • It perhaps also implies his ignorance at how quickly he assumes that all is well. The flippant attitude to anything but ‘fun’ in the song could symbolise his child-like, shallow approach to winning Daisy back, and how he presumes that everything from here onwards will be simple because the only thing of true value to him is Daisy.

Sheik of Araby

“Well I'm the sheik of Araby.
Your love belongs to me.
At night where you're asleep
Into your tent I'll creep – “
  • These particular words from the piece of Jazz music show how Gatsby views Tom and Daisy’s relationship and how he feels  Daisy’s love actually ‘belongs’ to Gatsby. Jordan explains after the words have been sung that Gatsby deliberately bought the mansion so that ‘Daisy would be just across the bay’.  The closeness of the two houses of the lovers are the ‘tents’ because they are in ‘creeping’ distance of each other. It foreshadows the affair before it has begun.
  • The improvisational style of Jazz music could also symbolise how nobody really knows what is going to happen next because the instrument that improvises changes its melody each time the accompaniment is played. This could illustrate the life-style of the characters in the play in the way that they live for the moment – whatever they feel like doing at that instant, they do. 

Three o’clock in the morning – (this is not mentioned in the book, but is included in the film and it seems to have some significance still from the time that it was written – in 1922)

"My heart keeps beating in time,
Sounds like an old sweet love tune,
Say that there soon will be a honeymoon."
  • This song could be interpreted to be a metaphor for how an old relationship has been rekindled, and that both Gatsby and Daisy’s hearts are still ‘beating in time’ with one another.
  • The suggestion that ‘there will soon be a honeymoon’ implies that that their meeting was the start of a wonderful time of love for them. However, it could also be interpreted that the lyrics are foretelling the tragedy that is to come, as it is also known that ‘honeymoon’ periods must come to an end.   
(Hannah James)


  1. thank you, helped me alot on my Gatsby paper

  2. Three O'Clock in the morning is playing as Daisy and Tom are leaving Gatsby's party in chapter 6. It's described as a neat, sad little waltz.