How does Fitzgerald's use of figurative language enhance the novel The Great Gatsby?

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A chief way that Fitzgerald's use of figurative language enhances the novel is by projecting a sympathetic and romantic portrait of Gatsby. The soul-killing Tom's hard-headed appraisal that Gatsby is a low-life criminal is not wrong, but, as Nick shows, it does not capture the essence of who Gatsby is and what makes him "great." For that, we need Nick's lyrical language.

Nick's figurative language surrounds Gatsby with a soft glow. Whether he is describing the preparations for one of Gatsby's great parties or the tragic grandeur of Gatsby's dream of reconnecting with Daisy and starting over, Nick conveys his admiration of Gatsby's willingness to dream and live expansively.

Some of the most famous quotes in this novel express the poetry of Gatsby's life. In this one, Nick likens Gatsby to the American dream itself, the capacity for wonder:

Gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered...

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