What relationship does Fitzgerald establish between man-made objects (e.g., roofs, garages, estates) and natural phenomena (e.g., wind, night, trees, stars) in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The correspondence (or relationship, if you will) Fitzgerald develops between objects and nature is that of metaphor, imagery and personification. By personifying nature, through the specialized mode of personification called pathetic fallacy, nature's "actions" on objects creates implied metaphors of the state of nature, for example, "deep summer" on roofs is a metaphor for the hottest part of summer. In addition, Fitzgerald creates imagery of blazing hot light reflecting skyward in waving tendril of heat through the implied metaphor. Further, Fitzgerald creates a symbol of how nature acts upon characters through the metaphor and imagery that comes from the personification of nature: nature's heat is fierce upon characters.

Already it was deep summer on roadhouse roofs and in front of wayside garages, where new red gas-pumps sat out in pools of light, and when I reached my estate at West Egg I ... sat for a while on an abandoned grass roller in the yard.

In other mentions of nature, like "silver pepper of the stars," Fitzgerald develops only symbolism and imagery without personification. The purpose here is to relate nature to the characters, as in relating the vastness of stars to Gatsby, in order to locate them in their relationship to the universe. It is this relationship that contributes to the sense of vanquishing fate that permeates The Great Gatsby.

[He] was standing with his hands in his pockets regarding the silver pepper of the stars. Something in his leisurely movements and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that it was Mr. Gatsby himself, come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens.

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The Great Gatsby

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