In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s extract from his book “The Great Gatsby” the narrator observes Gatsby’s world with a mixture of satire and jealousy. To counterbalance his longing for Gatsby’s life he describes it in intricate detail. He uses figurative and descriptive language to enhance the imagery of the passage. His use of tense changes from the past to the present half way through the extract. This creates a more vivid depiction of the world of his neighbour.
The narrator uses sensual language to create a vivid description of his surroundings, “there was music from the neighbours house through the summer. ” Music is very evocative and used with the word “summer” builds up a feeling of comfort. The opening line of the passage sets a welcoming view of Gatsby’s environment. The story teller’s use of adjectives gives the impression that he watches Gatsby’s life critically, “or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach….. his enormous garden. ” the narrator is experiencing the events of the household while he is describing them.
He gives the impression that the world is distant from his own but his longing to fit in with the lifestyle has lead him to analyse the guests closely, for example, he writes in the past tense for the first three paragraphs. This demonstrates that he is describing Gatsby’s routine. His imagery conveys the type of people that visit Gatsby’s house, “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moth. ” The narrator may be using this figurative language as a way of saying that people are drawn to Gatsby like moths are drawn to a light.
He may be using this simile as an insight as to why he is has such a fascination with Gatsby’s environment. For instance he is implying that Gatsby has the temperament and the lifestyle that draws people towards him. The narrator has the opposite character that has a contrasting effect therefore his interest in the world so close to him physically and so far away socially is magnified as he witnesses how different people live. The lifestyle that Gatsby leads is cause for some jealousy from the narrator.
He satirises upper middle class lifestyle of his intricate description of the jobs of Gatsby’s staff, “There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by the butlers thumb. ” The narrator is using the frivolous lifestyle of the American nouveau riche and ridiculing it as a way of making himself feel better about not being a part of it, “introductions forgotten on the spot. ” The narrator is hinting that everyone at the party is there to be seen rather than to make friends adding a hostile and arrogant feel to the scene.
At the end of the extract the narrator watches the group interaction during a drinks party, “girls who weave here and there…. become for a sharp, joyous moment the centre of a group and….. glide on” Again the narrator is focussing on the superficiality of the people associated with Gatsby. He passage begins with the sunset. It then progresses into the evening and leaves the reader with the impression that the party will carry on until the early hours of the next day. The fact that it is set at night surrounds Gatsby’s world in mystery, “and turkey bewitched to a dark gold.
The choice of words builds an image of a world above reality. The only time worth commenting on the world next door, is at night. This leads the reader to believe that Gatsby and his entourage lead a nocturnal existence thus giving a slightly non human element to his world. A way of stressing that Gatsby lives an above than normal life. The change from the past tense to the present tense signifies a change in the objective of the narrator. He has spent three paragraphs preparing the reader and introducing them to Gatsby’s world and in doing so has given an insight to his own life.
The tense helps build up to the climax of the passage. The narrator describes the event in intricate detail as if he is talking through the mind of Gatsby. He wants us to be thinking what Gatsby would wish us to think had we been at the party, “the orchestra has arrived, no thin five piece affair, but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones… ” There is a tone of resentment in the structuring of the sentence the words that starts with consonance have a harsh impact on the reading of the line.
The references to Gatsby’s “maids”, “butlers”, “caterers” create an imagery of the house that Gatsby lives in. Colours are constantly alluded to throughout the passage. This increases the idea that Gatsby leads a lavish lifestyle. The story was published in 1925. Therefore the idea that the proprietor of the house can afford oranges, lemons, turkeys and an orchestra shows that he is intent on showing his money. This is paralleled by the references to colour, “the verandas are gaudy with primary colours. ”
At the end of the essay the reader has become so encapsulated with Gatsby’s party that they feel that they know him. They know the minute details of his every day life. At the same time the narrator manages to fit Gatsby into a social stereotype but in doing that Gatsby has become an arc type. At the start of the novel the life that Gatsby leads is inviting and hospitable. By the end, a sinister, less friendly element has taken over. This may be due to the growing envy that is welling up within the narrator.