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How does Fitzgerald's use of figurative language enchance the novel, The Great Gatsby?

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ohyeahmg | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:55 AM via web

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How does Fitzgerald's use of figurative language enchance the novel, The Great Gatsby?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted February 15, 2011 at 11:16 PM (Answer #1)

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Fitzgerald uses figurative language like personification to help readers visualize descriptions and actions.  Fitzgerald's style is to use long, rhythmic descriptions.  For example, in the first chapter when Nick describes his approach to the Buchanan house, his narration uses the words "ran", "jumping", and "drifting" to give the description vision and vibrancy.  By personifiying the lawn, the reader feels as though it is almost a living entity.  Later, in the same chapter, Nick describes Daisy by saying "...the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face....-then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk."  The personification and then the simile both help the reader more clearly envision how Nick sees Daisy.  Then, later, in chapter 3, Nick describes the first time he meets Jay Gatsby.  Nick describes one of Jay Gatsby's greatest gifts - his smile and charm.  In this description, by using detail and, again, personification, Fitzgerald lets the reader see just how Gatsby's smile could be used to open doors for him.  This helps the reader better understand this character.

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