How are color and light imagery used to describe the events of the “autumn night” when Gatsby and Daisy had their first kiss?  

In the description of the “autumn night,” the primary color and light associations are white and moonlight, which contrast with the darkness of fall. A key phrase is “white with moonlight,” and “stars” are also mentioned. Along with the “cool” temperature, there is an exciting feeling associated with the changing seasons. Mystery and secrecy are also connected with the night, and white is further associated Daisy’s face and the “milk of wonder” that she signifies for Gatsby.

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As Nick recalls what Gatsby told him, the description of an “autumn night” five years earlier is strongly associated with the color white and the glow of moonlight. Gatsby had recalled him and Daisy walking outside that night. A scene that is turned “white with moonlight” is contrasted to the “darkness” of the nighttime setting and the autumnal atmosphere, as “the leaves were falling.” Other references to light includes a paradox through association with the sense of hearing, as “quiet lights” in the houses are “humming,” and it even seems as if Gatsby can hear the distant stars, from which he detects “a stir and bustle.”

Further associations of mood with light and dark also connected with autumn and with transformation. The passage refers to the “cool night” as having “mysterious excitement” owing to the changing seasons. The moonlit night offers a glimpse into a “secret place” and stimulates Gatsby’s imagination and sense of “wonder.” White is further associated with nourishment and life itself, as Gatsby seems like a reborn infant eager to “suck” and “gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder.”

This eagerness to experience life is clarified as a reference to his being with Daisy, whose face is described as “white.” Another reference to a star follows, again associated with sound, this time of a “tuning fork.”

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