The "Dialectic" is a way of thinking about conflict and change developed by the philosopher Georg Hegel. It comes from an old word meaning conversation or debate. Basically, a dialectical understanding of change suggests that situations evolve through the working-out of contradictions between opposing ideas or forces (typically called the "Thesis" and "Antithesis"). This is especially relevant to chapter 7, where all of the conflicts in Gatsby come to head, leaving the situation dramatically different. A really simple example of this is the conception of a child. A sperm cell comes into a kind of conflict with an egg cell, which somewhat resists its entrance. But if it gets in, it becomes beginnings of a brand-new person - a "synthesis" where conflict creates something new. Of course, not every synthesis is a good one from everyone's perspective...
First, though, let's think about how this model applies to four short stories we read:
I. "Masque of the Red Death"
A. Thesis: The People want protection from the Plague
B. Antithesis: The Prince locks them and the Plague out.
II. "Repent, Harlequin! said the Ticktock-Man"
A. Thesis: The
C. Synthesis ................
III. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
A. Thesis: The narrator's husband thinks she's crazy and needs to be locked up.
B. Antithesis: The narrator does not think she's crazy, and that locking her up makes her worse
C. Synthesis ..............
IV. "A Mystery of Heroism" by Stephen Crane
A. The country sends the solders to perform "heroic" acts of glory in battle
B. Collins, who has never been heroic, engages in the heroic act of getting water
Your assignment for the chapter is to post a paragraph comparing and contrasting the way the conflict in one of these stories is worked out with the way a conflict in chapter 7 gets resolved.
Mr. Justin Biggs