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How is the tone set for chapter 8 of The Great Gatsby?  

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user7392648 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 16, 2013 at 3:49 AM via web

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How is the tone set for chapter 8 of The Great Gatsby?


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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 16, 2013 at 4:05 PM (Answer #1)

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The tone at the end of Chapter 7 is intense, on account of the violence of the car crash, and that intensity continues with the characters' reactions. Gatsby is left worrying about Daisy from the end of Chapter 7, continuing into Chapter 8. At the beginning of Chapter 8, the tone is set by Nick's restless sleep and anxious thoughts: 

I couldn’t sleep all night; a fog-horn was groaning incessantly on the Sound, and I tossed half-sick between grotesque reality and savage, frightening dreams. 

There is also the sense that Gatsby is now hopelessly clinging to his dream of getting back together with Daisy. Even the descriptions of his house suggest the end of the entire Gatsby project: 

There was an inexplicable amount of dust everywhere, and the rooms were musty, as though they hadn’t been aired for many days. I found the humidor on an unfamiliar table, with two stale, dry cigarettes inside. Throwing open the French windows of the drawing-room, we sat smoking out into the darkness. 

In this chapter, Gatsby relates his real story to Nick, the story of how he became Gatsby. At this point, Gatsby can only experience his dream of Daisy in memory. At Wilson's place, Michaelis tries to console Wilson after having lost his wife. The tone is intense and suggests irrecoverable loss: Wilson's happiness and Gatsby's dream. The intensity and irrecoverable loss will lead to the desperate act which concludes the chapter. 


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