Write About the Ways Fitzgerald Tells the Story in Chapter 7 of "The Great Gatsby"

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby Pages: 8 (3159 words) Published: February 7, 2012
Write about the ways Fitzgerald tells the story in chapter 7 (Page 132 onwards)

Chapter 7 mirrors chapter 1 in setting and structure, of the travelling to New York and the necessity to pass through ‘The Valley of the Ashes’ symbolic of the mythological River Styx and “The Waste Land” by T.S. Elliot. Also, the many separated sections in chapter 7 are reminiscent of the structure of chapter 1, used as a key way for Fitzgerald to effectively and emotively convey the story, by framing the two chapters together. The tragic events in chapter 7; the climactic revelation of Daisy and Gatsby’s affair and Myrtle’s death; come to light. The theme of mistaken identity is crucial in chapter 7, from the first half of the chapter where the prolonged discussion of who is driving which car creates a confused flurry of who is travelling with who; vital for the confusion after Myrtle’s death. Fitzgerald continues to use various images throughout this chapter, filtered throughout structural points in order to tell the story in chapter 7 effectively. The image of accumulative heat in this chapter symbolically emphasises the rising friction between the characters; being oppressed by the hot temperatures and the uneasiness of the situation. The key example of the stifling heat is the mention of Nick’s underwear; “my underwear kept climbing like a damp snake around my legs” providing a grotesque image to accompany the uncomfortable temperature; hyperbolising Nick’s experience. If the reader is to assume the image of the warmness is symbolic of the inter-character tension, then it is interesting to observe the hypocritical role Tom assumes by declaring “The thing to do is to forget about the heat. You make it ten times worse by crabbing about it”. The event of Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship being unveiled is incited by Tom; thus he is clearly not “forgetting about it” when this symbol of heat is applied to the foreboding argument. By this statement of disapproving of Daisy’s reaction to the heat, he is causing himself to appear not only hypocritical in hindsight, but also that if he is the only character declare that he is less bothered by the heat, this infers that he may have more important things on his mind; hinting at the outcome of this chapter in a dramatically ironic manner. The character of Tom is incredibly flippant in this chapter and the reader gets a much deeper insight into his emotive character beneath the masculine exterior, as previously shown throughout the novel. His transgressions from calm and decisive to manic and back again show a great fragility in his character, and this is exemplified in his speech. As tensions rise between Tom and Gatsby, Nick notes his voice to be “incredulous and insulting”; two strongly emotive adjectives to describe Tom’s masculine outer shell, with the alliterated “I” sound to create a particularly strong audible effect. Comparatively, as Tom begins to lose his control his voice is described as “[groping] unsuccessfully for the paternal note” when addressing Daisy, showing a weaker side to his character. Towards the end of the chapter when he learns of Myrtle’s death in the car crash accident his voice is hollow and echoic; “’Instantly killed’ repeated Tom, staring.” This incident where Tom seems unable to structure a decisive sentence is a climactic moment for his character; a possibility for him to express some heartfelt emotion, however when returning to the Buchanan’s house Nick states that Tom “spoke gravely and with decision”. The reader can deduce thus, that despite a momentary lapse of potential affection for his mistress, he retains his strong exterior and takes delight in being able to control some situation, since he loses his temper when confronting and verbally attacking Gatsby. Although the reader must consider that Nick is continually filtering the events through his own perspective, there seems to be an understandable truth about his interpretations of Tom. Further to the heat...
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