How Does Fitzgerald Achieve A Melancholic Mood In The Beginning Of This Chapter

In chapter 8 of The Great Gatsby, how does Fitzgerald achieve a melancholy mood in the beginning of this chapter?

Fitzgerald achieves a melancholy mood at the beginning of chapter 8 by employing strategic word choice, constructing sentences that reflect broken dreams, and shifting the characterization of Gatsby and his house.

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At the beginning of this chapter, Fitzgerald achieves a melancholy mood through sentence structure and employing strategic word choice.

The chapter opens with Nick 's inability to sleep, immediately connoting a sense of unease. The sentence then breaks with a semicolon instead of a full stop; the sentence itself is...

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At the beginning of this chapter, Fitzgerald achieves a melancholy mood through sentence structure and employing strategic word choice.

The chapter opens with Nick's inability to sleep, immediately connoting a sense of unease. The sentence then breaks with a semicolon instead of a full stop; the sentence itself is fragmented and unsettled. Fitzgerald then employs personification, noting that the foghorn groaned, a sound of sadness and mourning. Nick is "half-sick" and finds comfort neither in being awake or asleep. The reality he must face from the previous night is "grotesque" and his dreams are "savage" and "frightening." Each of these descriptors connotes a strongly negative mood in these opening sentences. Fitzgerald again breaks up the sentence by employing an em-dash, further fragmenting Nick's thoughts.

As he rushes to Gatsby, Nick notes that Gatsby's vivacious and eternally hopeful character has shifted. He no longer finds him reaching toward Daisy's green light but instead leaning, seemingly unable to even support himself. He is now "heavy with dejection."

Gatsby reveals that he waited outside Daisy's house all night. Nothing happened. She had not come to him. Instead, she came to the window around 4 a.m. and after looking out briefly, surely knowing that Gatsby was waiting for her, she turned out the light and returned to her husband.

The descriptors of Gatsby's house have also shifted. Once a place of liveliness and festivities, the house now stands empty. Nick observes that it is dusty, musty, and stale.

Even Gatsby is losing hope in this moment, and the opening of chapter 8 reflects that. Neither Gatsby nor his house offers a promising sense of eager anticipation any longer. The mood of his house reflects the truth that Gatsby is coming to terms with: Daisy will never be his.

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Fitzgerald evokes melancholy in the wake of Myrtle Wilson's brutal death and Tom and Daisy's callous behavior with Nick's bout of insomnia. Unable to sleep, Nick's mental distress is amplified by the "incessantly" "groaning" fog horn, a haunting sound that signals bad weather moving in. This is surely a metaphor for the fallout from Myrtle's death, Tom and Daisy's conniving behavior, and Gatsby's empty hopes.

Nick's night of restlessness is characterized by him tossing "half-sick between grotesque reality and savage, frightening dreams." As the novel's moral compass, Nick's sensibilities are offended by Myrtle's death, Daisy's disregard for her role in it, Tom's smugness in the face of Gatsby's pain, and Jordan's obliviousness to the human tragedy that has characterized the previous night's events.

The urgency that Nick feels about getting to Gatsby to warn him adds to the chapter's unsettling opening. The two men grope around in the dark and empty mansion and smoke stale cigarettes, tangible evidence that the parties and good times are over.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the traditional artistic device of contrast to help evoke the mood of melancholy in Chapter 8. In contrast to all the dramatic interaction in Chapter 7, with most of the novel's principal characters involved, Chapter 8 opens with the narrator all alone. The first sentence employs imagery to suggest the mood.

I couldn't sleep all night; a fog-horn was groaning incessantly on the sound, and I tossed half-sick between grotesque reality and savage, frightening dreams.

Nick couldn't sleep because of all the things he has seen and heard, and all the emotions he has experienced in the previous climactic chapter. The fog-horn seems to be expressing his own feelings of weariness and despondency. When he goes over to Gatsby's house he finds his friend in a similar mood. The big house seems haunted. They search for cigarettes and only manage to find two stale ones in an establishment that once overflowed with an abundance of everything.

Once I tumbled with a sort of splash upon the keys of a ghostly piano.

This sentence seems intended to remind the reader of the happy time when Gatsby invited Nick and Daisy to his home and got the perpetual guest Mr. Klipspringer to play the sprightly popular tune "Ain't We Got Fun?" Now the piano sounds ghostly because Nick's "splash upon the keys" makes it seem as if all the notes of "Ain't We Got Fun?" have dissolved into one cacophonous crescendo. Not everything is over--but the good times are over and now the bad times are about to begin.

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Look at the language Fitzgerald chooses and the environment he describes as chapter eight opens. The morning of the day after the accident and Myrtle's death - it's foggy and still dark. Nick and Gatsby move about in dank, distasteful, gloomy darkness, searching for light switches, stumbling over obstacles, stirring up the dust as they grope for cigarettes. When Nick finally locates two, they are rather unappealing but better than nothing.

There was an inexplicable amount of  dust everywhere, and the rooms were musty, as though they hadn't been aired for many days. I found the humidor on an unfamiliar table, with two stale, dry cigarettes inside.

There is nothing appealing or cheerful or positive in the opening of the chapter. Everything feeds into the depression and melancholy of the event that overshadows Gatsby's thoughts and words at that point in the story.

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