I need some examples of literary devices (i.e,. simile, metaphor, personification) in The Great Gatsby.

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby is full of figurative language:

About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight. But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.

Simile (found later in the chapter): "I gathered later that he was a photographer and had made the dim enlargement of Mrs. Wilson’s mother which hovered like an ectoplasm on the wall."

Metaphor: Valley of ashes is a "farm," a "garden," a "dumping ground"

Personification: the billboard's eyes "his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground"  and "a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track"

Imagery/Symbolism: "Valley of Ashes," "The Eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckelburg," "West Egg," "Gray," "blindness."

The importance of Fitzgerald’s writing is incorporating figurative language into his work. Throughout The Great Gatsby there are many example uses of figurative language. Symbolism in the novel is shown to  certain qualities that surround each character. Many of the symbols in The Great Gatsby are connected with colors, which effectively mixes their importance. Almost every character or event in the novel is described by particular colors, therefore adding meaning to events that are taking place. The color green is used in many descriptions of Gatsby’s possessions and of Gatsby himself. The most important symbolic use of the color green is in association with the light on the end of Daisy’s dock.

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The Great Gatsby

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