What is the significance of time in the novel?
In the novel The Great Gatsby, Time is one of the themes that play a key role physically, philosophical and biologically. Fitzgerald portrays time as being a relentless force that cannot be controlled by men. As time passes from past, present and to the future, Fitzgerald not only manipulates time in the novel, he refers to time repeatedly to reinforce the idea that time is a driving force not only for the 1920s, a period of great change, but for America itself. We will see Fitzgerald also turns a critical eye to the American concept of time, in effect warning us all to avoid becoming trapped in time. People are seen trying to live in the past and some wanting to skip ahead towards the future, all on a journey to achieve their dreams.
Throughout Fitzgerald’s novel, Gatsby’s entire life was shaped by his preoccupation with his past and so he does not live in the present but lost in a dream, it was his illusion of his ideal future that made time a key dimension in his life. He tries to relive his relationship with Daisy, believing that he could once again rekindle their love. Gatsby still imagined Daisy as a pure, perfect, amazing woman he fell in love with, completely blinded by the fact that Daisy was not to his ideal illusion of “perfect” anymore and had changed, this is seen in the phrase, “She used to be able to understand. We’d sit for hours –’’. As time went on so did Daisy, but Gatsby kept insisting that they were in love. From Gatsby's illusions of the past preoccupying all his thoughts, he forgets about the key dimension he exists in which is the present. This is seen when he says “Can’t repeat the past? Of course you can!” Gatsby was described as being “incredulously” and “wildly” as he spoke, incredulous means being skeptical, proving that he was obsessed about reliving his relationship. Nick also did go back to the past, contradicting what he wrote at the end of the novel to...
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