Response to the article "The Importance of Setting in the Great Gatsby by
When speaking about Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby first thing that needs to be mentioned - except for the captivating storyline - is the unique and beautiful writing style of F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s felicitously marked in the article that “Using his extraordinary palette of words and language, he described the decade succeeding World War I. No other writer among his contemporaries possessed a more passionate sense of time and place”.
F. Scott Fitzgerald is a recognized talent of his genre with very natural ability to reveal people’s characters. Among the personages of the novel there are ones of different social and cultural statuses. Fitzgerald shows the reader how even more different people can be because even the rich people of the “the roaring Twenties” - old aristocracy and nouveaux riches - are divided by insurmountable barrier. Fitzgerald uses a metaphor to underline that gap; he makes up West Egg and East Egg, the two imaginary residential areas of Long Island separated by a courtesy bay. The two Eggs of the identical size and shape are inhabited by people who are as different from each other as they could ever be.
Fitzgerald reveals their characters through things those people possess; he supports the reader’s impression on those things by describing them in different manners. Fitzgerald uses words “marble”, “swollen”, “monstrous” and so on with regard to the nouveaux riches class blamed for their questionable taste. He claims those people for the priority of quantity over quality; that he expresses by mentioning the enormous size of their mansions, lawns and gardens.
When Fitzgerald refers to old aristocratic class, he uses words of vast and majestic meanings. Even the windows of their mansions are “glowing with reflected gold”. Thus Fitzgerald emphasizes the insurmountable barrier between them and the “grey” people of the Valley of ashes.
Fitzgerald points out in his novel how contrary those different worlds of people are; and even though they interfere sometimes, they would never join. On the land, which is inhabited by old aristocracy, everything is majestic and marvelously slow; the lifestyle of nouveaux riches is luxurious and impetuous; life is unpredictable in the City; and at the same time it is so despairing and grey in the Valley of ashes.
Fitzgerald’s use of setting is an effective way for better reflecting of personalities. Some traits of people’s characters are better shown than said.
- Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925. Print.
- Wood, Kerry M. “The Importance of Setting in the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Humanities 360: Every topic. Every angle. Humanities360., 5 May 2009. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.