The Great Gatsby Motifs

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In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, we follow a “commoner” around in a very rich environment. We witness the absurd and strange events that occur in East and West Egg, Valley of Ashes, and New York. Fitzgerald’s use of reoccurring motifs shows readers the characteristics of public and private parties. This motif ties all the events together, leading readers to make subconscious assumptions. At times of a big party or small meals, readers can expect alternate personas or the revealing of carefully guarded secrets. When Nick arrives at Gatsby’s parties, he learns to expect that others will wear alternate personas and everyone will accept them. “There is a burst of chatter as the erroneous news goes around that [the Gypsy] is lda Gray’s understudy from the Follies” (41) When people come to Gatsby’s extravagant parties, they can change personalities and identities to have a more crazy, loose time. At these parties, few people care about what people are doing because they’re probably doing the same thing. Ida Gray’s understudy was nearly unrecognizable, but people accepted her “new” personality. In addition to changing different personalities, these large, public parties are also times to show off your wealth. No one is really “invited” to the party, people just arrive. It is a time to mingle with other individuals from a higher stratum. Gatsby’s magnificent library with all the “right books” showed off his good taste, he “…didn’t cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?” (46) Gatsby cares enough to show off the fact that he can afford to buy all these expensive books and exhibits them proudly in his library. However, he didn’t bother to cut his books. This proves that at these parties, people will show off their wealthiness at these large parties where everyone is watching each other, and not care about anything else. Large, public parties like Jay Gatsby’s are quite different from the smaller, intimate meals with very few people. In...
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