I'd like to know why in this excerpt of the First chapter of The Great Gatsby the author writes "warm windy evening" while at the end of the same paragraph he says "wide open to the warm windy...

I'd like to know why in this excerpt of the First chapter of The Great Gatsby the author writes "warm windy evening" while at the end of the same paragraph he says "wide open to the warm windy afternoon". Is this a mistake? or do these words have the same meaning ?

And so it happened that on a warm windy evening I drove over to East Egg to see two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all. (...) The front was broken by a line of French windows, glowing now with reflected gold, and wide open to the warm windy afternoon, and Tom Buchanan in riding clothes was standing with his legs apart on the front porch.

Asked on by coutelle

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To further the excellent answer given above, with this ambiguity of terms, Fitzgerald suggests the illusionary appearance of the Buchanan home, specifically Daisy, after Nick Carraway walks through a lofty hallway "into a bright rosy-colored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows...." These windows are described metaphorically in nautical terms as "gleaming white" like a sail as a breeze that courses through the room blows curtains like "pale flags" and "rippled" over a wine-colored rug. An "enormous" couch holds two young women "buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon."

Certainly, there is an unreality created with the imagery and lyric descriptions of Fitzgerald that give rise to the description of Daisy as "sad and lovely" both, although there is "an excitement in her voice" that suggests to men "exciting things hovering in the next hour," whatever that hour may be.

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wordprof's profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Technically, "afternoon" is the precise time of day after noon and before 6 p.m., but "evening" is a general term with no exact meaning, other than "after the day's events."  Fitzgerald is using "paysage moralise" here, a literary term from the French, translated as "moral landscape," a literary device in which the atmosphere, the time of year, time of day, the weather, the state of disrepair, the ambience, etc. is a visible, physical symbol or representation of the abstract, non-physical personality or character or mental state of the character in the story. Here, the author is foreshadowing the rich but chaotic life of Gatsby, his world open to the elements but on the wane, about to decline in the flow of world events. (Open and glowing, but at the end of the day.) The most famous example is from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, in which Roskalnikov's garret room is a symbolic reflection of his trouble, cramped mental state. 

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