11/6/2008 Debate: The Great Gatsby

On Thursday November 6th, the Society gathered to debate whether or not the Great Gatsby is an indictment of the American Dream.  The Society was excited to revitalize its tradition of literary debates with such a classic work of American fiction.

The debate was a double induction, with Ms. Ludden (Negating) and Mr. Carlozzi (Affirming) joining the Society.  Ms. Caroline D’Agati and Chancellor Rugg keynoted alongside.  Chancellor Rugg, on the affirmation, urged the society to remain focused on the piece of literature itself, and to keep in mind the the telling ending of the novel. Ms. D’Agati, speaking on the negation, argued that the society should consider the life of Fitzgerald and his troublesome romantic life.  Ms. Luden argued that there is a difference between indicting the American dream and indicting  a specific group of people pursing it.  Last, Mr. Carlozzi spoke about the pervasive irony in the book and its constant negative message. 

The Debate was lively and spirited, with much focus placed on the character of Nick and whether he represents a possibility for hope and the fulfillment of the American Dream.  After the closing keynotes, the debate was affirmed.  Mr. Rendleman received the award for best affirmative floor speech.  Ms. Sarah Olsen won the best negative floor speech.  The President’s gavel, for best overall floor speech, went to Mr. Cantirino.

The Society will next debate Resolved: Bill Gates is a Greater Philanthropist than Mother Teresa.

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