Where is foreshadowing used in The Great Gatsby?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the more subtle and eerie uses of foreshadowing in The Great Gatsby appears in chapter seven and is accomplished through imagery.  All of the principal characters have gathered at the Buchanans' home in East Egg for a luncheon, and the events of the day and evening comprise the novel's climax. Fitzgerald builds the tension that leads to the showdown between Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby in many ways, beginning with the unbearably hot weather that precedes the chapter's violent conclusion and Myrtle Wilson's death.  The image that foreshadows Gatsby's death in chapter eight occurs when Tom Buchanan has left the salon described as "dark and cool."  Daisy and Jordan, "silver idols" in their white dresses, look on as  Nick, ever the observer, creates an image of the titular character: 

"Gatsby stood in the centre of the crimson carpet and gazed around with fascinated eyes."

Here Fitzgerald presents Gatsby in a pool of blood, wide-eyed and unaware of the malignant forces that will claim his life in just a few short hours. Though neither Tom nor Daisy will pull the trigger, they will be culpable in his murder: Tom lets Wilson believe that it was Gatsby who killed Myrtle and Daisy fails to reveal her role in Myrtle's death--or warn Gatsby that Wilson is coming for him. This image in chapter seven foreshadows Nick's last glimpse of Gatsby in chapter eight and echoes the crimson motif as his lifeless body floats in "a thin red circle in the water."

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fitzgerald foreshadows future events numerous times throughout the novel by using motifs, imagery, and character dialogue to hint at what will happen later on in the story. In chapter 3, Nick attends one of Gatsby's extravagant parties and witnesses an accident outside of Gatsby's home. One of Gatsby's inebriated guests attempts to drive and wrecks his car into a ditch about fifty feet from Gatsby's front door. Fitzgerald foreshadows Daisy wrecking Gatsby's yellow car towards the end of the novel by depicting Owl Eye's accident outside of Gatsby's home in chapter 3.

In chapter 4, Gatsby invites Nick to eat lunch with him in New York City and introduces Nick to his shady business partner, Meyer Wolfsheim. Gatsby then tells Nick that Meyer Wolfsheim fixed the 1919 World Series, which foreshadows Gatsby's occupation as an illegal bootlegger. Later on in the novel, Tom Buchanan will announce that Jay Gatsby is a bootlegger in front of Daisy, effectively ruining Gatsby's chances to be with her. 

In chapter 7, the main characters decide to travel into the city during one of the hottest days of the summer. The hot weather foreshadows the rising tension and growing animosity between Tom and Jay Gatsby, which will result in Tom exposing Gatsby as a criminal. Fitzgerald also foreshadows the end of Daisy and Gatsby's relationship when Gatsby tells Nick, "Her [Daisy] voice is full of money" (Fitzgerald, 65). Gatsby's comment indicates that the only thing truly important to Daisy is her financial stability, which is why she will not leave Tom for Jay.

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The Great Gatsby

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