Paradox In The Great Gatsby

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Throughout the very artisitic work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, many literary devices are employed especially metaphor, simile, and symbols.  Then, to convey the illusion of the the American Dream, and the duality of some of the characters, Fitzgerald makes splendid use of paradoxes, or apparent contradictions that actually convey truth.

1. For instance, Jay Gatsby is described both as "wealthy" as though he is similar to the Buchanans, while also being called "an elegant young roughneck."

2. The narrator, Nick Carraway, tells the reader that

on a warm windy evening I drove over to East Egg to see two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all.

3. Later, he remarks after leaving Tom and Daisy's:

Their interest rather touched me and made them less remotely rich--nevertheless, I was confused and a little disgusted as I drove away.

4. At the hotel with the Tom Buchanan and Mrytle Wilson. Nick remarks that to the casual watcher on the street below, the

yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him, too, looking up and wondering.  I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.

5. A rather delightful one is the observation of Jordan Baker:

I like large parties.  They're so intimate.  At small parties there isn't any intimacy.

At Gatsby's party, a girl named Lucille declares, "I never care what I do, so I always have a good time."

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