In The Great Gatsby, Jordan says,"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." How is Jordan's statement ironic?

3 Answers | Add Yours

katemschultz's profile pic

katemschultz | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

In traditional literary analysis, the season have specific symbolic interpretations: spring usually symbolizes rebirth, a new beginning, youth, innocence.  Fall is spring's opposite--fall brings the harvest, the end of summer, the "beginning of the end", nature starts to decline and die.  Fall is often associated with middle to late life.  It is ironic that Jordan indicated that life begins in the fall because it is counter-intuitive to the natural cycles of the earth and nature.

kmj23's profile pic

kmj23 | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

It is also worth noting another irony in Jordan's statement which becomes clear when we look at its position in the text. At this point in the story, for instance, Nick recalls that this is the hottest day of the year so far and Daisy is about to suggest that the group go into the city. It is during this journey that Daisy runs over and kills Myrtle, her husband's lover and, in retaliation, Gatsby will be wrongly accused and killed by Myrtle's husband, George.

The idea, then, that the fall will bring rejuvenation is ironic because it is the opposite of what really happens. For many members of this group, these events will cast a long shadow over their lives and will bring many negative effects. Gatsby's funeral, for example, is only attended by a handful of people while Nick becomes so jaded with this area that he returns to his hometown.

Sources:
favoritethings's profile pic

favoritethings | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Fall is symbolically associated with declension precisely because it becomes "crisp" and cool outside. Thus, it is autumn's crispness that actually causes what seems like death in nature: the withering of leaves, the browning of grasses, and so forth. The drop in temperature that Jordan refers to is the circumstance that precipitates death (and winter), not new life.

Such a statement reveals Jordan's privilege as well. Jordan's biggest care right now seems to be how hot it is, though she handles it somewhat better than Daisy does. However, ironically, Jordan would be one of the individuals better able to handle the intense heat: she can lounge idly on white couches in big houses outside the city, fanning herself and drinking cold beverages. Others, like George Wilson or the man selling puppies in New York City, are far less capable of managing the heat because they must work and because the areas in which they live are more crowded and prone to trapping such heat.

We’ve answered 318,928 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question