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Analyze the language in the paragraph. How does the language create a dreamlike...

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bakerness | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 6, 2010 at 10:40 AM via web

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Analyze the language in the paragraph. How does the language create a dreamlike world?

"But his herat was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the washstand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor. Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing."

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 6, 2010 at 10:47 AM (Answer #1)

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This passage is in Chapter 6, in a part where we are seeing the time when Gatsby was still a nobody in Minnesota.

I think that the language in this paragraph creates a dreamlike world both in the words that are used and the way the sentences are made.  Some of the words that Fitzgerald uses just sound dreamlike.  He talks about "grotesque and fantastic" images.  He talks about the "ineffable gaudiness" of the "vivid scene(s)" of Gatsby's thoughts.  All of these words can have a very surreal connotation.

In addition, some of the sentences seem convoluted and dreamlike themselves.  I am thinking particularly of the one that goes

A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the wash-stand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor.

This sentence is, to me, somewhat run-on and disjointed, just like dreams often are.

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dstuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 6, 2010 at 11:39 AM (Answer #2)

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In this passage from The Great Gatsby, the diction, or word choice, and the content itself create a dream-like world.

The writer reveals Gatsby's thoughts as a "constant, turbulent riot"--irrational, rather than rational.  "Grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night"--grotesque and fantastic situations and stories run through his mind.  The "moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor"--"wet" light is a description one would not think of if fully conscious.  Gatsby's thoughts are of "fancies."

Other words contribute to the dream-like state as well:  drowsiness, oblivious, reveries, imagination, unreality, and "fairy's wing."  The effect is certainly surreal and dream-like.

Incidentally, the writer here depicts a moment that the romantic poets considered to be the most creative moment a human mind experiences:  the moment between waking and sleeping.  The idea is that rational constraints are inactive at this moment, but full unconsciousness has not yet set in.

 

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