Journal of English Teaching through Movies and Media 2011;12(1):77-98.
Published online June 30, 2011.
The dream for a utopian community in Jack Clayton's film, The great Gatsby
Ok Rae Kim
영화 위대한 개츠비에 나타난 이상향에의 꿈
김옥례
Abstract
As language is a part of culture, it is necessary for students to understand other cultures in their mastering foreign languages. For that purpose, a classic movie based on a novel seems to be suitable. As one of the world's most famous classic novels, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby reflects an historical perspective on the American culture, focusing on its utopian dream. There are four 'Gatsby' movies. Among them, Jack Clayton's 1974 film is estimated as the best educational material. This paper aims to research Americans' utopian dream and their frustration as revealed in Clayton's The Great Gastby. Through the symbolic use of green, Gatsby's dream of his long-lost lover, Daisy, is connected with the American Dream, that is, the dream that Americans have of building a paradise on earth. However, in the process of realizing his dream, Gatsby is forced to compromise with corrupted reality. As a noted artistic movie director, Clayton not only preserves the original main plot of the novel but also adds his own viewpoint on American society. I have taught this film for Freshman Screen English for several years, and I found that this material is able to satisfy two basic educational purposes, first to increase students' English skills and, second to help them understand American culture and human society in the larger context.
Key Words: utopian community;American Dream;artistic movie director;American culture;Jazz Age;Valley of Ashes;The Waste Land
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