The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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In chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby, why does Fitzgerald emphasize the heat?

In chapter 7, Fitzgerald chooses to emphasize the heat as a way of symbolizing (and even foreshadowing) the rising tensions within the novel.

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Fitzgerald uses weather to reflect the characters and the plot. The physical heat of the weather forebodes the heated argument that kills Gatsby’s dream, destroys Wilson’s sanity, takes Myrtle’s life, and reunites Daisy and Tom.

Various scenes in the beginning of the chapter relate to the heat. Nick describes the day as “broiling,” and the conductor says it all, “Hot! Hot! Is it hot enough for you?” Everyone on the train is uncomfortably perspiring and miserable.

Fitzgerald uses this scene as a precursor to the coming misery. Tom is shocked when he realizes that Daisy has feelings for Gatsby, and “trembling with his effort at self-control,” declares that they’ll all go out. When they stop for gas, it’s clear that Wilson is ill. He has just discovered that Myrtle has a lover, and he’s locked her up to prevent her from running away. Nick remarks about the “relentless beating heat” and recognizes that Wilson and Tom are alike in that they both have discovered their wives...

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