The Great Gatsby

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Longing For the Past

With the moonlight beating down on Gatsby with an almost sad, dim glow, Gatsby’s heart slowly breaks watching Daisy and Tom share a meal, talking, neither of them unhappy, just peaceful. Gatsby knows he has lost, but he is unable to let go of Daisy, and thus, he waits outside of her and Tom’s apartment until the early hours of the next morning just holding on to the smallest bit of hope that he has left. At this point, Gatsby is pathetically waiting for what he had been hoping for throughout the whole novel, something he knows he cannot have. Perpetually stuck in his past and obsessed with his love for Daisy, Gatsby is unable live a day of his current life without striving to make the past become reality. Subtle symbolism is used frequently in Fitzgerald’s writing. In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald uses symbolism multiple times to reference the past. Throughout the whole novel Fitzgerald mentions the green light shining from Daisy’s dock. This green light symbolizes both the past and the future. Gatsby reaches out towards the green light either symbolizing the fact that he can’t seem to let go of his past love for Daisy or could be symbolizing his strive to get to her and rekindle their love. Another example of symbolism relating to the past is during Gatsby and Daisy’s first encounter. Gatsby is leaning against a mantelpiece with an old clock on it when he accidentally knocks it over, “Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back in place” (Fitzgerald 86). Gatsby apologizes and Nick mentions how old the clock is and that it doesn’t even work. The stopped clock symbolizes Gatsby’s desire to return to the time when he and Daisy used to be in love and stop time there so they could be together eternally. Even throughout the five years that Gatsby and Daisy were apart, he never could let go of her even the slightest bit. Over these...
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