F. Scott Fitzgerald Questions and Answers

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Discuss the style that Fitzgerald employs with examples from The Great Gatsby.

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One of the most significant examples of Fitzgerald's style in The Great Gatsby would be the use of the narrator.  Fitzgerald's style as the observer/ partial participant/ full critic is evident with the employment of Nick as our guide through the world of the Jazz Age.  Nick is able to offer a glimpse into public spectacle and private cruelty.  We see Gatsby at his most frail and Tom and Daisy at their most frigid.  We see Jordan at her most conniving and we see human beings at their most forlorn.  All of this is seen through Nick.  Through the use of Nick as a narrator and in the manner through which Fitzgerald has constructed his consciousness, a dominant stylistic element is present.

Another example of Fitzgerald's style that can be seen in The Great Gatsby would be his use of symbols.  Fitzgerald finds objects as having meaning and develops them as meaningful metaphors to help convey the pain of being in the world.  Cars, for example, represent the pinnacle of opulence, power, and speed.  They are also used as tools of destruction, such as the use of the automobile in Myrtle's death and Tom's evasion of responsibility.  The pool is the source of so much communion as so many people use Gatsby and his pool.  The one moment when he would like to indulge in something that is his and something that has brought so much joy to others is when he is killed.  The celebratory party is a symbol of emptiness.  The very same people that throng Gatsby's home when he is alive abandon him in death.  The use of colors is another symbolic element.  Yellow comes to mean so much in way of wealth, privilege, and beauty.  At the same time, yellow is almost a symbol of doom, for as the novel progresses the color ends up yielding more damage and destruction than anything else.  For Fitzgerald, the use of symbols is another example of his style, seen in his novel, that makes him distinguished as a writer and thinker.

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