Great Gatsby, Detailed Analysis, Passage Chapter 1 (p.13-15) Essay
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In this passage Nick Carraway is visiting his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan, a former member of Nick’s social club at Yale University, on East Egg. Inside, Daisy lounges on a couch with her friend, Jordan Baker, a competitive golfer who yawns as though bored by her surroundings. As Nick enters he describes his two female companions in extreme detail.
F. Scott Fitzgerald uses imagery on many occasions to aid the reader to picture the setting. He describes the women’s dresses fluttering in the wind as though they had “just been blown back in after a short flight around the house” (p.
13). Fitzgerald also illustrates the women seeming to be “buoyed up..upon an anchored balloon” (p.13). He repeats the metaphor of balloons as he recounts that they seem to be “ballooning” to the ground as the wind calms. Nick, the narrator, goes on to describe his company. He does so in extreme detail. The author does this as to help us visualize Nick’s situation.
The theme of white is inaugurated in this passage (“They were both in white”, p.13) emphasizing the innocence and pureness of Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker.
Fitzgerald makes the visualization of the visitation very simple for his readers by using vivid examples (“her chin raised a little, as if she were balancing something on her chin”, p.14). He makes her appear almost statuesque. Jordan is portrayed as having a bored and apathetic attitude about everything, which is all part of her “I am too good for you” appearance. Jordan Baker seems to be ignoring Nick upon his entry (“If she saw me…she gave no hint of it-“, p.14). This looks as though Jordan is playing hard to get. The mind games could be seen to be conveying that she is attracted to Nick. The narration stops and we hear Daisy’s voice for the first time (“I’m p-paralyzed with happiness”, p.14). Nick mentions her lightheartedness Daisy Buchanan’s illustration is very descriptive.
She seems to have taken a greater deal of interest in Nick although there does appear to be a hint of awkwardness in the room, possibly due to the fact that the two have not seen each other in a lengthy period of time. She is not labeled beautiful, the reader does however get an inkling that she is, as there seems to be a sort of aura surrounding her (“That was a way she had.” p.14). The narrator tells the reader a little bit about himself and how he is not used to the posh lifestyle of the people of East Egg (“..any exhibition of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me”, p.14). This could mean that Nick is used to a more family orientated lifestyle were friends and family supported and trusted one another more.
As the conversation between Daisy and Nick continues, Scott Fitzgerald decides to go into even more detail about Daisy. He catalogs her speech in extreme detail (“..in her low thrilling voice…the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down…as if each speech is an arrangement of notes.”, p.14). Nick does not only comment on Daisy’s voice but also her general appearance, her face, her eyes and even her mouth. The narrator’s portrayal of Daisy leads the reader to believe that she is a person of great beauty. A lady with whom one could easily fall in love with. Nick is almost obsessional about his cousin, Nick not being the only one in the course of the book.
F. Scott Fitzgerald really triumphs in his use of language. His language is full of concrete verbal images which are incredibly appealing to the senses. Furthermore his descriptions of setting, characters and symbolism are in such sheer detail, it is impossible for the reader not to begin imagining what it, she, he or they must have looked or even sounded like. This passage introduces us to two of the novel’s major characters, Daisy and Jordan. It it also the first time we get a real taster of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s descriptive abilities.