The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Contrast Tom and Myrtle's love nest to the Buchanan house in The Great Gatsby.  

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Nick Caraway, the narrator, describes his cousin, Daisy Buchanan's, house in chapter 1. He says that it is

a cheerful red and white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay. The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens—finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of its run. The front was broken by a line of French windows, glowing now with reflected gold and wide open to the warm windy afternoon...

This paragraph is full of imagery, descriptions of things that we would perceive with one of our five senses. In this case, visual imagery is used in the description of the red and white mansion, the vines that are bright with flowers, the line of windows that glows with a golden light. The house and lawn are pristine, classic, adorned but not gaudy with decoration. We get a sense of its immense size as well, especially because the front lawn alone is a quarter of a mile long. The connotation of "gold," as something incredibly expensive, is another significant indication of the house's grandeur and worth.

Nick's description of Tom and Myrtle's apartment in the city is quite different. He says that it has

a small living room, a small dining room, a small bedroom and a bath. The living room was crowded to the doors with a set of tapestried furniture entirely too large for it so that to move about was to stumble continually over scenes of ladies swinging in the gardens of Versailles.

Unlike the Buchanans' home, this one is small, as Nick repeats three times, and crowded. One gets the sense that nothing is in proportion: while the space is small, the furniture is so large that one trips over it while trying to get from one end of the room to the other. Further, the furniture is covered with scenes of the gardens at Versailles, as though Myrtle has tried to choose something classy, whereas the Buchanans feel no such compulsion. They don't need to try to make their home elegant; they are elegant. Myrtle tries to be elegant but doesn't really know how, and the effect is more ridiculous and gaudy.

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