37 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2018
    1. Lawlessness has been and is one of the most distinctive American traits .... It is impossible to blame the situation on the "foreign

      This quote in particular highlights his differences with O'Kane's argument about the causes of organized crime and gangsters in America. While O'Kane argues that it is the discrimination against foreign groups that 'makes' the ethnic gangster, Adams (and therefore Lupsha who is quoting him) asserts that the lawlessness of gangsters is an essentially American trait, and that immigrants don't come to America lawless, but rather that America makes them lawless. These two points can be somewhat reconciled if we consider the discrimination that forced them to the crooked ladder to be the part of "the American atmosphere and conditions" that made some immigrants into gangsters.

    2. are also statements about culture.

      "In my beginning is my end." Is this not the culture that produces the gangster's story arc. To become successful, he (or she) makes enemies and stands alone so that he/she is seen as succesful enough to partner with. Then those same enemies that the gangster made earlier will come back to be their "end." And eventually, one will succeed.

    3. In America caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, was a ruling principle of commerce until this generation of consumers began to seek to restrain it.

      The mindset that business are supposed to be fair is pretty modern. Many people found their success by fooling (quack medicine).

    4. In such an early_ paradise, where the good things of life were for the taking, one would seem a fool to work long hours for low pay and slow advancement.

      The basis for the American dream inspires criminal behavior. Why work if all of that wealth is just available for the taking.

    5. Discussion Questions

      1) If, as Lupsha suggests, organized crime preceded and grew along side our Nation’s founding, how can we accurately identify it?

      2) The Keyterm “wise guy” has become part of gangster / mafia films parlance; however, are the labels “wise guys,” “sharpies,” and “suckers” necessarily limited to people who move in the world of organize crime?

      3) What contemporary figures (fictional or real) who fit these roles?

      4) Can you identify + make a case for “wiseguys,” “sharpies,” and “suckers” in The Great Gatsby?

      5) Can you identify and make a case for “wiseguys,” “sharpies,” and “suckers” in Hamilton?

      6) What if Nick Caraway is right about Gatsby’s dream being corrupted: is the American Dream as an abstract idea susceptible to corruption, much like the American values it represents (those that Lupsha identifies)? What does that say about the routes available to achieve it?

    1. these ".unwashed masses/'

      Immigrants were hated because of the results of a poor life either in their home country or in America. It was easier to point out their lack of cleanliness as proof of their inferiority than to admit that many people had been given no real opportunity, forcing them into this kind of life.

    2. es representing a startling contrastto the lives of their ethnic breth­ren.It was a.s though the dominant societyha.d said, "Here, follow

      These people were only praised because they were the exception. If everyone had truly been able to achieve success, then there would not be specific heroes.

    3. a move largely dependent upon the benevolence and good will of the··· dominant established society

      Viewing people as equally human and worthy was not the norm; people had to work to be viewed in this way.

    4. Discussion Questions:

      1. What are the keyterms that are important in O’Kane’s argument?

      2. What is O'Kane's argument?

      3. In what ways did ethnic immigrants try to particulate in the cultural narrative of the “American Dream”? How was that participation viewed and by whom?

      4. In what ways and by whom were immigrants prevented from participating in the cultural narrative of the “American Dream”?

      5. O’Kane provides a new way of understanding HOW + WHY some ethnic immigrants resorted to pursuing the American Dream in a different way than the American cultural narrative suggested. How + Why did they pursue it? Identify one fictional or real gangster who you think took this path to try to achieve the American Dream.

  2. Jan 2018
    1. After reviewing the characteristics of Greek Tragedy, would you say that the Gangster is a modern tragic hero?

      What characteristics of ancient tragedy remain in Warshow's understanding/application of tragedy to gangsters?

    1. insubstantiality of modern identity is incompatible with substantial, meaningful relationships. Gatsby's motivating vision of his beloved Daisy Buchanan, itself a dream, is shattered when confronted by the hollow woman who plays the game of illusions even more brilliantly than he. Daisy, the respect-able, "careless" society woman, turns out to be no more ethical than the bootlegger. The danger of superficial style and personality was not merely that decent folk would allow scoundrels to infiltrate their ranks. Gatsby and his associates, like countless other underworld characters, warned that modern Americans, seduced by the sirens of the artificial, were headed toward the shoals of moral disaster.

      This is some indictment in this conclusion. The wealthy are even more morally corrupt than the gangsters?!?!?

      The point about the "instability of identity" is key here. Gatsby believes (or makes Nick believe that he believes) that he can "repeat the past." Does he also believe that people are/become what they wear/consume? And that who they were simply disappears or gets covered over? If identity is like a palimpsest, those old, former identities will show through...

    2. Gatsby ascended from dull ordinariness to Olym~social heights on a fragile structure of elaborate illusions. Realizing "the unreality of reality;' the great man "sprang from his Platonic conception of himself." 88 It little matters that Gatsby's :'eneer of refinement is 2,.aper-thin, transparent to one who listened to his cautious speech or con-.--sidered his supposed boyhood in the "Middle West" city of San Fran-cisco

      "elaborate illusions"--does Gatsby use fashion and possessions to create an elaborate illusion? Is he an illusionist of consumerism? (Kind of like the Wizard of Oz)

    3. Gatsby__:aefiijed by his palatial home, fabled parties, gleaming motorcar, ana·w~obe of expensive suits and thick silk shirts-was not the man he at first ·seemea·i:oDe:This bootlegger was a master of "personal;ty," that: "un-broken series of successful gestures." Gatsby's mastery of the superfi-cial inevitably brings narrator Nick Carraway;TiFeothers;uru:Ierhis spell:

      Ruth gives a shout out to Fitzgerald's creation of Jay Gatsby as an example, in fiction, of what he is writing about RE: real self-invented and (media) invented gangsters!

    4. cabaret scenes were an almost i obligatory element of late twenties and early thirties gangster films.

      While Gatsby's house is not a cabaret, the parties held there every weekend do share some similarities, with the food, drink, and performance.

    5. More than ever before, products were important not only because of the immediate function they served, but because of the images they conveyed.

      This concept is one that 'old money' was brought up to understand, but 'new money' gangsters did not, hence their lack of taste.

    1. Trueasthismaybe,NickneversuspectsthatGatsby'selaborateplansmayhaveinvolvedusinghimasanagentforhisbonds.

      Nick is an unreliable narrator because he has been conned!

    2. "You'reworththewholedamnbunchputtogether,"

      Irony: the criminal is a figure of a higher value to Nick than the the wealthy Buchanans/his cousin Daisy...

    3. Troubledbyhisage'sawardofrespectabilitytotheBuchanansandwealthtogangsters,Nickcan'thelpadmiringGatsby'sresolutecommitmenttosuccess,love,anddreams.

      THE AMERICAN DREAM NARRATIVE?

    4. AlthoughRothsteindifferedfromGatsbyinhismetropolitanbackground,hismorerefinedtastes,hisvastnetworkofcriminalassociates,andhiscallousedselfishness,hewasthatparadoxicalblendofgentleman"dandy"andcriminalsuccessattheheartofGatsby'scharacterization.

      An example of an excellently focused, detailed, and evaluative claim in this topic sentence.

    5. ThosesamequalitieswhichdifferentiateGatsbyfromhiscriminalassociatesthreatenhisbelievabilityastheeffectivegangsterheissupposedtobe—unless,ofcourse,thereismoretoGatsbythanhisungangsterishappearanceandmanner.CriticsusuallyassumethatFitzgeraldchanneledthemodelofAr

      Is this part of FSF's overall organizational scheme for the novel?

    6. ReadersareledtobelievethatGatsby'swealthderive

      suggesting that FSF is leading readers to believe this...which goes along with Pauly's claims from the first few paragraphs about Gatsby being "cloaked in mystery"--the subterfuge is intentional and partly responsible for Nick Carraway's unreliable narration of Gatsby's story.

      In other words: FSF conned us readers just like Gatsby cons Nick! What do you all think?

    7. AuthenticatedbyFitzgerald'smarginalnotation"IhadtoldBunnymyplanforGatsby"inhiscopyoftheplay,15thisdescriptionevidencestellinganticipationsofhisnovel.First,Fleischman'spartybearsastrikingresemblancetoGatsby'sin

      Pauly uses this detail as evidence of the influence of the gangster Fleishman in Edmund WIlson's play on the creation of Jay Gatsby...

    8. Still,theseanticipationsofGatsbyareoffsetbytheindignationofthisobserveratFleischman'svulgarityand"terribletaste,"unlikeNick'sreactionstoGatsby.Contrarytohisintentions,Fleischman'sexpensivepurchasessimplyconfirmhisoriginstobewelldownthesocialladder.Thespeaker'scharacterizationofFleischmanas"agentlemanbootlegger"shadesintoironyasitbecomesclearthathedoesn'tconsiderhisloudhostagentlemanatall.Hisobsessionwithhistapestries,diamond-studdedrevolver,andonce-wornshirtsbecomedamningevidenceofhispoortasteandshallowvalue

      Did FSF borrow ideas about how to develop Gatsby from the character of Fleishman from Edmund Wilson's play ItalicThe Crime in the Whistler RoomItalic

      [unrelated annotation: is WIlson's play a forerunner of the game Clue?

    9. MaxGerlach,1

      A third model for Gatsby as a gangster...

    10. ArnoldRothstein

      Another model for Gatsby as a gangster (and Wolfsheim)

    11. GeorgeRemus

      One model for Gatsby as a gangster...

    12. houghreadersstillfindGatsbytooromantic,tooidealistic,andtoonaivetobeacriminalsuccess,Fitzgeraldcounteractedthisimpressionbycloakinghisgangsterinmystery,thenfrustratingNick'seffortstopenetrateit,andfinallysuggestingthatGatsby,likeAsbury'sdandy,maybemoredangerou

      Is Paul's claim here strong enough to be the article's thesis?

    13. ayGatsbyeffectivelyoverturnedthedatedassumptionthatgangsterswerelowlifesfromtheBoweryandreplaceditwithanupscalefigurewhowasenviablywealthyandfashionablystylish.

      Is Pauly's claim here strong enough to be a thesis?

    14. Unwittinglyhis"dandy"anticipatedtheinnovativegangsterwhichF.ScottFitzgeraldintroducedafewweekslaterwiththepublicationofTheGreatGatsby

      Asbury is a contemporary of FSF!!!

    15. 1Asburyinvokedhisstylishgangstertoreturnenthusiastsforthesefictionstothehardfactthattrulysuccessfulgangstersdidn'tmakebrazendisplaysoftheirintent

      Real gangsters are "dandies" and "truly successful gangsters didn't make brazen displays of their intent" means that real gangsters dress stylishly and hide their "intent" meaning their criminality...?

    16. sbury'sbeliefthatthegangstersofhisageowedtheirnotorietytoambitiousjournalists,novelists,playwrights,andscriptwritersfiercelycompetingforaudiencesandpaychecks

      We can connect this to Leo Braudy because Pauly suggests that Asbury believed that journalists, playwrights, and scriptwriters creating "talked of selves" for gangsters!

    17. NickcomesfromaveryproperbackgroundthathascarriedhimfromYaletotherespectablebutunprofitablecareerofabondsalesman

      Nick is everything Gatsby is trying to pretend to be, except for the lavish wealth. Nick comes from a family with "old money", he is respectable, and he was born as part of the society Gatsby had to work to enter.

    18. hemadeaconcertedefforttoobscurethecourseofeventsthattransformedhisinnocentproductofmidwesternmoralityintoabigtimemetropolitangangster

      This statement explains some of the debate surrounding whether or not Gatsby is truly a gangster. Concealing certain part of his past makes it particularly difficult to get a solid grasp on his true character.

    19. Pauly's overal agrument in this article is that Gatsby's characterization as a "dandy" is not a lack of support for Gatsby as a gangster, but a reference to several real world gangster dandies which reinforces the conceptualization of Gatsby as a gangster.

      Words that stood out to me include "dandy," "extravangant," and "emergence."

    20. Pauly's major claim is that Gatsby is significantly more devious and "dangerous" than Nick ever notices.

      Some keyterms are "dandy", "status"/"social mobility", "front of respectability", and "evasiveness"/"discretion".

    21. ** What is the major claim--THESIS--that governs Pauly's overall argument in this article?

      What important words or phrases stand out as important KEYTERMS in Pauly's argument **

    1. becomes more acute

      To a certain extent, everyone's external image is different from the personal idea of themselves. In the context of the quote, a celebrity's external and internal personas can be so radically different as to become unrecognizable.