An Analysis of Two Scenes in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
Juxtaposing two scenes in a narrative allows them to be easily compared and contrasted. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, two such scenes require specific attention. The impromptu party that is thrown by Tom Buchanan and his mistress, Myrtle Wilson, followed immediately by Jay Gatsby’s party at his house, call for the attention of the reader because of the implications of these contiguous scenes. The result of analyzing the two scenes is that one can infer certain qualities of each man’s character. By paying specific detail to the decor of the parties, the respect that each character commands from people at their parties, the guests who arrive at the parties, and the overall purpose of hosting the party, one can deduce that Tom and Gatsby are polar opposites.
The first element of the parties that should be examined is the decor of Myrtle Wilson’s apartment compared to that of Gatsby’s house. In the first line describing the apartment, the narrator, Nick Carraway, informs the reader of the lack of comfort in the apartment and the ensuing awkwardness of the setting: “The apartment was on the top floor – a small living room, a small dining room, a small bedroom and a bath” (33). Nick’s description makes it amazingly clear to the reader how unhappy and unpleasant the situation was, not only for himself, but for Tom and Myrtle, as well as the other guests in attendance, Catherine, Myrtle’s sister, and the McKees, neighbors who live in the same building. One can imagine the walls virtually closing in because of the overcrowding furniture, the overpowering size and strength of Tom and his ego, and the oversized picture of Myrtle’s …
…orks Cited and Consulted
Allen, Joan. “The Great Gatsby” and Modern Times. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1994.
deKoster, Katie, ed. Readings on “The Great Gatsby.” San Diego: Greenhaven, 1998.
Higgins, John A. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Study of the Stories. New York: St. John’s UP, 1971.
Hindus, Milton. F. Scott Fitzgerald: An Introduction and Interpretation. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968.
Matterson, Stephen. “The Great Gatsby.” London: Macmillan, 1990.
Pelzer, Linda Claycomb. Student Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Westport, CT: Greenwood P, 2000.
Piper, Henry Dan. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Critical Portrait. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965.
Zhang, Aiping. Enchanted Places: The Use of Setting in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Fiction. Westport, CT: Greenwood P, 1997.