Excerpt:“Wilson’s glazed eyes turned out to the ash heaps, where small gray clouds took on fantastic shapes and scurried here and there in a faint dawn wind. ‘I spoke to her,’ he muttered, after a long silence. ‘I told her she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God. I took her to the window’—with an effort he got up and walked to the rear window and leaned with his face pressed against it—‘and I said ‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!’” Standing behind him, Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, which had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night. ‘God sees everything,’ repeated Wilson. ‘That’s an advertisement,’ Michaelis assured him. Something made him run away from the window and look back into the room. But Wilson stood there a long time, his face close to the window pane, nodding into the twilight.”
Narrator, The Great Gatsby, chapter 8, p. 159-160: As, Wilson is reflecting back on his wife’s tragic death and as he reminences when she was alive. He is speaking to Michaelis, but mostly out loud, looking through the window at the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg.
Commentary 1. Fitzgerald’s use of imagery in this passage helps to form a gripping mood. 2. At this time, Nick is telling the story through Wilson’s eyes soon after his wife’s passing. This indicates to the reader that the mood has switched from a positive and honest one to both serious and a bit incensed. Fitzgerald effectively uses imagery by mentioning the “ashheaps,” “gray clouds,” and “dissolving light” to create an eerie feeling in the atmosphere and his surroundings. The overall mood is depicted through Wilson’s words and attitude, that creates the image; “glazed eyes” and the phrase ,“You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!”.
Wilson’s behavior and language suggest that he is emotional and scarred by Myrtle’s death, creating a depressing and empty mood. 3. In the later part of the passage the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg appear once again and in the midst of despair. At once, Wilson seems to have become hypnotized by the image. He is drawn to the “..pale and enormous..” advertisement outside his window, and he repeats, “God sees everything”. At this point the reader can distinguish that the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg become more than an illustration.
The eyes now stand for those of God. They have transformed and now represent an all-seeing and understanding pair that witnessed not only the death of his wife Myrtle and her killer, but also the unfaithful and deceptive actions that have occurred. 4. Through the author’s word choice and depictive images, he creates an overall all-knowing feel. This nature of a peculiar sense supports the theme that God knows everything and hiding things is near impossible.