What major literary devices are used in the first paragraphs in chapters 3 and 6?The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition to the natural imagery of Chapter Six of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, there is much color imagery, imagery that prevails throughout the course of the novel.  

For instance, during the chronicle of Gatsby's history, Gatsby is described as having in his youth as a clam digger, a "brown, hardening body [who] lived naturally."  In contrast to his naturalness, Gatsby wears a blue coat after he goes to work for Dan Cody.  This allusion to blue for Gatsby is a recurring one, for his "blue lawns" of Chapter Three mingle with the "blue smoke of his brittle leaves" in one passage; and, his chauffeur wears "robins' egg blue" in Chapter Three.  Like the eyes of T. J. Eckleberg on the billboard in the Valley of Ashes, blue signifies illusions and alternatives to reality.  Curiously, at the party Daisy notices a lovely girl who talks with her director, a man with a "sort of blue nose" that Daisy says she likes. 

Grey is also mentioned.  As the color of the ashes in the area of destruction, this color represents lifelessness and possible decay.  Dan Cody, " a grey, florid man with a hard empty face."  Representing more decay, Cody is the man who has given Gatsby his "legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars." 

Decadence is suggested by yellow: "yellow cocktail music": of course, in connection with Daisy the color gold is used:  "...here's my little gold pencil..."  And, she, too, is associated with grey:  "A breeze stirred the grey haze of Daisy's fur collar." 

While the party has "the same many-colored, many-keyed commotion" as Nick feels an "unpleasantness in the air, a pervading harshness that hadn't been there before."  At the end of the evening, Nick sits on the front steps where

It was dark here in front:  only the bright door sent ten square feet of light volleying out into the soft black morning.  Sometimes a shadow moved against a dressing-room blind above, gave way to another shadow, and indefinite procession of shadows, who rouged and powdered in an invisible glass.

With such color imagery, illusion, decadence, and decay are suggested.  The unpleasantness that Nick senses is reflected in these colors as Chapter Six leads to the next chapter which contains the climax of Fitzgerald's narrative.

Back in Chapter Three, there are also several metaphors:

...an extra gardener toiled...repairing the ravages of the night before.

a pyramid of pulpless halves.

the opera of voices

the sea-change of faces and voices and color...

There are also oxymorons:

"enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names."

..."the rules of behavior associated with amusement parks."

mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 6 of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses much natural imagery to depict the carnival atmosphere coming from Gatsby's party:

There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam.

The description also uses simile (party-goers are "like moths") and anthropomorphism, the use of comparing humans to animals, in an effort to show how the guests are mindlessly attracted to the spectacle of a party the way a moth is drawn to light.  Later, Nick says:

his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains.

In all, these literary devices (imagery, simile, and anthropomorphism) show that human existence is fleeting.

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The Great Gatsby

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