Techniques Used in the Great Gatsby

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Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Britain: Penguin, 1926.

1. Point of view – the view or perspective of how the story is narrated (i.e first person)

“Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction – Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn.” (pg. 8)

• This novel is narrated from a first person point of view. Nick Carraway is both a narrator and a character participant in the story. Seen that this novel is mostly about Jay Gatsby and how what happens to his life is narrated to represent general themes, there could be no other narrator than the character who is Gatsby’s neighbor, and someone who declares to be free of any preconceptions or judgments due to an important lesson his father taught him. Nick Carraway seems to be a narrator exempt from bias due to this aspect of his profile, and he leaves clear what are his specific opinions or observations.

2. Tone – throughout the connotation and denotation of words, it is what gives a mood or attitude to the story

“No – Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.” (pg. 8)

• The narrator keeps his tone always dry and realistic. This helps the readers understand that even though this seems like a romantic story due to Gatsby’s unconditional love for Daisy and his pursuit for his dream, it is completely sucked in by reality from beginning to end. When the narrator talks about love or dream he does not idealize them by using words with positive connotation. He is clear and concise about the relationship between those who love and how they love. In the example above for example, the narrator clings on to disillusionment and even pessimism as he foreshadows Gatsby’s fate.

3. Imagery – the creation of a mental picture through detailed description

“It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning – So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (pg. 188)

• In this passage the author is able to create two clear mental pictures to convey his message. One is of men stretching further and running faster – though we can picture that his true intention is to suggest that mankind is trying to grasp what seems far from their reach, like Gatsby trying to grasp his American Dream throughout five years of his life. The second imagery is of the boat tiredly pushing against the strong current, and with that any reader can understand that individuals have to strive against the repressive society in order to adhere what they truly want.

4. Symbol – using one smaller idea to represent a larger one

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.” (pg. 188)

• The colors in this novel are used to represent greater ideas or they give specific significances to characters’ profiles or the environment in each scene. In this last moment, the green light Gatsby believes in is his dream. The color green itself is a representation of hope or faith. Also, in a specific part of the novel, the light emitting from Daisy’s house has a greenish hue, corroborating the fact that this is what he has longed so much for.

5. Irony – when there is an outcome of events that is opposite to what was expected initially

“The minister glanced several times at his watch, so I took him aside and asked him to wait for half an hour. But it wasn’t any use. Nobody came.” (pg. 181)

• This quote is in relation to Gatsby’s funeral. This can be considered an irony since at the beginning the impression that Nick had about Gatsby was that he had many friends and was extremely popular due to all the parties he threw at his...
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