What are five examples of onomatopoeia using quotes in The Great Gatsby?F. Scott Fitzgerald,

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several literary devices that F. Scott Fitzgerald employs in his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, among which are imagery, metaphor, simile, and onomatopeia.  With onomatopeia being defined as the use of a word whose sound imitates or reinforces it meaning, here are some examples:

1.  Jay Gatsby's name imitates his life:  Jay gets by with creating an illusion of himself as a respectable self-made man.

2.  Meyer Wolfscheim, a predator from the underworld who wears a man's molars as cufflinks, is a character who preys upon others.  He is a insensitive, subhuman criminal, modeled upon the real-life gangster who fixed the 1919 World Series.  The latter part of his name denotes that he is a Jew as Fitzgerald states; at the time of the novel, Jews were stereotyped as unconscionable dealers in money who had little sense of honor in their relationships.

3-4. In Chapter 2, Fitzgerald describes the Valley of Ashes, using onomatopeia:

Occasionally a line of grey cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud which screens their obscure operations from your sight.

The word creak imitates the sound that it means, while ash suggests the color in its meaning.

5. In Chapter 4, Nick narrates,

I heard the familiar "jug-jug-spat!" of a motor cycle, and a frantic policeman rode alongside. 

The sound of the motorcycle imitates the words that Nick uses.

6. In Chapter 3, Nick also narrates,

The caterwauling horns had reached a crescendo and I turned awway and cut across the lawn toward home.

Both these words in boldface suggest the sounds that they define.




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The Great Gatsby

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