The Great Gatsby
“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.” This quote by author F. Scott Fitzgerald describes his life perfectly. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 24, 1896. In June 1918 Fitzgerald was assigned to Camp Sheridan, near Montgomery, Alabama. There he fell in love with a southern belle, 18 year-old Zelda Sayre, the youngest daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. The Fitzgeralds went to France in the spring of 1924 seeking quietness for his work. He wrote The Great Gatsby during the summer and fall in Valescure near St. Raphael, but the marriage was damaged by Zelda’s involvement with a French naval aviator. The story begins when Nick Carraway, a young man from Minnesota, moves to New York in the summer of 1922 to learn about the bond business. He rents a house in the West Egg district of Long Island, a wealthy but unfashionable area home to the new rich, a group who have made their fortunes too early to establish social connections, and who only care about displaying their wealth. Nick’s next-door neighbor on West Egg is a mysterious man named Jay Gatsby, who lives in a giant Gothic mansion and throws extravagant parties every Saturday night. As the summer progresses, Nick eventually receives an invitation to one of Gatsby’s legendary parties. He encounters Jordan Baker at the party, and they meet Gatsby himself, a surprisingly young man with an English accent, has a remarkable smile, and calls everyone “old sport.” Gatsby asks to speak to Jordan alone, and, through Jordan, Nick later learns more about his mysterious neighbor. Gatsby tells Jordan that he knew Daisy in Louisville in 1917 and is deeply in love with her. Various literary techniques are evident in this novel.
First of all, symbols are an example of a literary technique. There are many symbols located through-out The Great Gatsby. For example, situated at the end of Daisy’s East Egg dock and barely visible from Gatsby’s West Egg lawn, the green light represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. Gatsby associates it with Daisy, and in Chapter One reaches toward it in the darkness as a guiding light to lead him to his goal. Because Gatsby’s quest for Daisy is largely associated with the American dream, the green light stands also as a symbol of the American dream.