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The Great Gatsby Essay Sample

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The Great Gatsby Essay Sample

‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald opens effectively and prepares the reader for the rest of the novel. Fitzgerald does this by using techniques such as symbolism and setting.

The symbolism in the first few chapters of the novel is very important as it prepares the reader for the rest of the novel. A good example of this is in the first chapter when Daisy, Tom and Nick go into Daisy’s garden. ” ‘Why candles?’ objected Daisy. She snapped them out with her fingers.” This is important as light represents Gatsby’s hope, which Daisy is snapping out. This also shows how Gatsby is associated with light and Daisy is associated with the absence of light, which is important in the rest of the novel. The snapping out of the candles is foreshadowing what will happen. Gatsby is also seen on the pier. “He stretched out his arms… a single green light.” This signifies Gatsby reaching out to Daisy. The green light is the symbol of Gatsby’s hope for Daisy.

As the light is artificial, it shows that Gatsby’s hope is false. The importance of the symbol of light is first shown in the opening of the book. “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths.” This simile subtly introduces the symbols importance. Gatsby throws all his lavish parties in the hope that Gatsby will attend. He hopes she will see the lights. “Several hundred feet of lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden.” The importance of light is shown in the opening of the novel. Fitzgerald subtly introduces symbols at the beginning of the book in order to prepare for the rest of the novel, as the symbol of light is extremely significant.

The setting in the novel is particularly important in the opening. The setting helps to distinguish the characters as Nick and Gatsby are both from the West and have traditional morals and values. Both Nick and Gatsby have hope, whereas Tom and Daisy have no hope and they are from the East. This provides a contrast between the characters, which becomes important towards the end of the novel. The first two chapters are contrasting; the first chapter is light and the second chapter is set in the wasteland, which is very grey and dark. “A certain desolate area of land.” Nick also describes this area as “a valley of ashes” showing the area is dead, contrasting to the liveliness of the first chapter. The most significant thing about this chapter is the introduction of the Dr T.J Eckleburg billboard. The eyes on the billboard are “blue and gigantic” which make them stand out. The eyes represent perception, which is a warning from Fitzgerald to look out for how characters are perceived. This is an important factor throughout the book, and reminds the reader that things may not always be what they seem and also hinting that Gatsby may not be what he seems to be. This is significant as Gatsby’s hope is fake and refers to the main theme of idealism.

The opening of the book is also important as it presents the theme of The American Dream. When Gatsby is introduced in the first chapter he is standing in his garden reaching out towards the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way… I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light.” The green light symbolises Gatsby’s dream of meeting Daisy again. The opening is also effective because it introduces the theme of wealth and materialism. Daisy is very materialistic, and her only ambition in life was to be rich. Now that she has fulfilled that dream, she has no drive or ambition. “The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up.” This clearly shows Daisy has no direction in life and she is only rich because she married Tom. She married for money, not love. This is effective because this theme is constant throughout the novel and is important in the understanding of Gatsby and Daisy’s characters.

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