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The Great Gatsby Analysis

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Autor:   •  March 14, 2011  •  2,061 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,854 Views

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In the Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald utilizes a heavily elegant and sometimes superfluous diction which reflects the high class society that the reader is introduced to within the novel. The speaker Nick Carraway talks directly to the reader. The diction is extensively formal throughout the novel using high blown language the borders on being bombastic. An example of this formal language is seen when Nick states,"The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God--a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that--and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty." The words "platonic" and "meretricious" elucidate a sense of the education of the speaker it also has a tone of almost superiority. The diction seems peculiar to the reader because of the formal tone which contrasts greatly with the sound of normal speech. Color and light imagery saturate the entire novel allowing the reader to see things in a new light or draw conclusions through different connotative innuendos. Irony is also observed through the use of this opulent diction because it contrasts with the character of Gatsby. Before Gatsby got into "business" he was a normal middle class man and he will always be that man no matter how many material objects he obtains. The language used in this novel reflects the speakers social class very clearly and the reader can see that most of the characters are part of the higher levels on the social ladder. There are also a few references to religious association scattered throught he book with characters such as the eyes of Dr. Eckleberg and the valley of ashes. Most of the novel is long and flowing with a euphonous rhythm. Fitzgerald uses much poetic language literary devices in this book making some sections sound profound.


In the Great Gatsby, the narration by Nick Carraway predominantly uses complex and compound complex sentences. An example of a typical complex sentence is when Nick says,"It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor." Fittzgerald does, however, use simple and compound sentences as well, most oftenly used in the few heated arguments within the novel and the lazy and relaxed comments of the characters. The sentences within The Great Gatsby are long and often twisted together forming a formal tone. This differs greatly from the simple and boring structure of common speech. This contrast with normality mixed with the irony of the situations creates a fake and almost pretended syntax. The sentences and word order are carefully thought out, especially by Gatsby himself in an attempt to impress Daisy. There are not many run-ons or fragments aside from the drunken ramblings of Gatsby's guests. The word order is not usually inverted and the characters get their points across through clever choice of words.


If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes then thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the "creative temperament"--it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. 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 6-7)

The diction in this passage is extremely elegant verging on the point of superfluous. It is a long description of Gatsby as someone whom nobody would forget through his extreme sensitivity and dedication. His hope for his dream influenced the dreamy and easy flowing language used in this passage. The tone is hopeful and dignified. Much detail is used and even some ironic detail such as Gatsby being "gorgeous." Even though one would not normally describe a man with such a word it fits perfectly in this sentence. The language is formal and it reveals Nicks positive view on life and on Gatsby. The syntax in this passage is made up of strung-together sentences and clauses. All of the sentences within this passage are complex or compound-complex. These long and airy sentences emphasize the tone of upper-class people speaking as well as the emphasis on a dream. The sentences are extensively poetic and carefully thought out giving it a nonchalant and superior tone.

Passage 2:

"I didn't call to him, for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone - he stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward - and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness." (pg 16)

The diction in theis passage is a little less elegant than the previous passage because this passage is reflective of Gatsby's true nature. It is one of insuperiority and one of a dreamer who sees his dream right across the bay but yet it is so far away. It elucidates Gatsby's fakeness and it emphasizes the reality of his situation. Gatsby's dream of getting Daisy back lowers his guard and takes off his facade of a wealthy and superior individual leaving the lonely Jay Gatz. The sentences in this passage are strung together by a series of dashes which indicate pauses in the narrators speeech. These pauses are reminiscent of normal language. The tone is curious and quiet. Color imagery reminds the reader of the connotations for money and pride. The syntax in this section is typical of Fitzgeralds style. It is filled with complex and compound-complex sentences which give the passage a soft and rhythmic flow and contribute to the intensity of the dream-like situation. Words like "intimation" and "unquite darkness" emphasize the dreamy air around Gatsby and the green light.

Passage 3:

Page 171 "I became aware of the old island here that


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