In Chapter 8 of The Great Gatsby, how has Gatsby's house changed?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is clear that as Nick is unable to sleep and feels he needs to visit Gatsby to make sure he is OK, there is a definite change in the house. Consider what Nick says:

His house had never seemed so enormous to me as it did that night when we hunted through the great rooms for cigarettes. We pushed aside curtains that were like pavilions, and felt over innumerable feet of dark wall for electric light switches - once I tumbled with a sort of splash upon the keys of a ghostly piano. There was an inexplicable amount of dust everywhere, and the rooms were musty, as though they hadn't been aired for many days.

What is emphasised through this change is the vastness of the house - highlighting the emptiness of the space inside but also, implicitly, the emptiness of Gatsby's life. The dust and mustiness likewise reflect the fact that Gatsby's life and dream is over now - his house and its state represents his life. Now that he has decided to take the blame for Daisy for the death of Myrtle Wilson, he knows that all his hopes and ambitions have gone to dust, just like his house.

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