Why is Fitzgerald's style in The Great Gatsby described as "lushly evocative"?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First of all, let's define lush and evocative; I Googled the words and found these definitions:

lush: "very rich and providing great sensory pleasure"

evocative: "bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind"

Clearly, the critic describing Fitzgerald's work was praising the author's ability to captivate his readers and transport them to the fictional world he creates, introducing them to characters richly drawn and easy to envision. In The Great Gatsby, he makes Tom Buchanan leap off the page with this description from chapter one:

"Now he was a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body--he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage--a cruel body."

Through superb diction, Fitzgerald is able to convey not only his commanding physical presence, but also his menacing personality and egotism without having Tom Buchanan utter a single word. Fitzgerald's description of Tom Buchanan's physique, the way his clothes fit his body, the arrangement of his facial features, his posture and movement--even the texture of his hair--"lushly evoke" the character rather than simply describing him.

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

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The Great Gatsby

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