How Does Fitzgerald set up contrast within the first chapter? In ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald the author uses various techniques to set up contrasts and con? icts within the ? rst chapter to show the corruption of the American Dream in the 1920’s when the book was set and also the corruption of the people during the roaring twenties. Examples of the techniques used to express these themes are characterization, dialogue, ? gurative language, diction choices , symbolism and foreshadowing.
Throughout the book our narrator is Nick Carraway who comes from middle west America and in the ? rst chapter he “went East to learn the bond business” and rents a house in West Egg, Long Island. One of the con? icting aspect in the ? rst chapter done by Fitzgerald was through showing the broken marriage of the Buchanan’s. The author uses foreshadowing ,dialogue and diction choices. Nick goes over to the Buchanan’s home in East Egg for dinner with Daisy and Tom Buchanan and family friend, Jordan Baker. During dinner Daisy burnt herself and blamed Tom saying “…
That’s what i get for marrying a brute of a man… hulking physical specimen of a-” – ‘ … objected Tom crossly ‘ The words “brute” and ”physical specimen” are all animalistic adjectives and ‘specimen’ suggests that he isn’t even human this shows Tom’s violence and savageness which foreshadows Tom’s violence towards Myrtle further into the book. Also the fact that Daisy describes Tom as this vicious man and she still stays married with him anyway implies that she isn’t independent and can’t survive on her own almost as if she needed him.
Additionally the way Tom cuts off her sentence “objected crossly” shows how he doesn’t respect Daisy and is the more assertive and dominant person in the relationship, the word “crossly” would show the reader how patronizing Tom is because to be cross with someone it would typically be between a parent and a child where the parent is more superior. Another thing the reader ? nds out is that “Tom’s got some woman in New York” from Jordan who is “honestly surprised” that Nick doesn’t know saying “I thought everybody knew” this affair shows complete carelessness from Tom towards Daisy because he doesn’t even try to hide his in? elity showing his utter disregard towards Daisy’s feelings. I think Fitzgerald is saying that in the 1920s men were the more dominant gender and women have to take physical abuse and have to cling to men for power and support because they can’t look after themselves. Daisy during the night also says to Nick that “the best thing a girl can be in this world” is “a beautiful little fool” I think what Fitzgerald is trying to say here is that during the 1920’s women de? ne themselves by their ability to attract men so the best women are attractive and know how to ? irt and by saying that , that is the best a girl can be.
I think the author is mocking gender roles in America. This is how Fitzgerald sets a con? ict in chapter one. A contrast Fitzgerald sets up is the contrast between East and West egg. Techniques used are ? gurative language,diction choices , symbolism and foreshadowing. Nick describes Gatsby’s mansion in West Egg as a “colossal affair… Hotel de ville in Normandy… more than 40 acres of lawn” I think the way in which Fitzgerald makes this description such a long sentence emphasizes the extravagant monstrosity in which the Gatsby’s mansion is and that it’s as large and stretched out as the sentence.
The authors diction choices such as “colossal” ,“40 acres” again also emphasizes this and also the fact that one man himself lives alone in such a humongous house here Fitzgerald introduces and criticizes the theme of conspicuous consumption in the novel because it’s completely unnecessary to have a house that huge to live alone suggesting that Gatsby likes to show off his wealth and that most ‘new money’ people in America were like Gatsby in this aspect. Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg… ” describes Nick, this “courtesy bay” that “separate(d)” is symbolic and foreshadowing because the bay acts as a barrier between these two different types of people (old money and nouveau riche) and keeps them apart from each other which foreshadows the different backgrounds and social status in which Daisy and Gatsby comes from, keeps them apart from each other, in the way that the bay keeps the two Eggs apart.
I think what Fitzgerald is criticizing by this, is that the women during the roaring twenties only wanted to be with men for their elite and wealthy background and neglected men that can’t offer them that or social power. “white palaces” – “white” readers would typically associate with a very classic color, more modern buildings are colored and also its a blank color that could represents emptiness whilst “palaces” shows that it’s old and implies royalty, and royalty pass on the heir and money to the next generation.
What is being implied here is that these ‘old money’ people are as blank and empty as their white colored “palaces” and their “white… dresses” because they’ve done no work to earn the money they own and what I think Fitzgerald is also mocking all ‘old money’ people in the same way he is mocking the inhabitants of East Egg and all this is a strong contrast set in chapter one. Another con? ict Fitzgerald sets up is done through the way he shows the boredom of people in East Egg. The author uses techniques such as ? gurative language, dialogue and diction choices.
When Nick goes over for dinner at the Buchanan’s he sees and describes Jordan to be “extended full length at the end of her divan” and she also says “I’ve been lying on that sofa for as long as I can remember” , at one of the wealthiest places in the country , Jordan is seen to have nothing to do for as long as she can remember and when Nick sees Daisy for the ? rst time she “laughed an absurd charming little laugh” even though nothing funny was said or done which also comes to show how she’s trying to cover up the dissatisfaction and pain in her life caused by her husband .
I think Fitzgerald is trying to show the purposeless lives of these people because of their large wealth inheritance they have nothing to do with their time and lives. Another example of this is when Daisy says the longest day in the year is coming and then Daisy asks “What shall we plan” “What do people plan? ” What I think Fitzgerald is showing through these type of people is that they have so much spare time.
The fact that Daisy doesn’t know what to plan shows how maybe wasteful their lives are as it suggests that higher class ‘old money’ people such as the Buchanan’s spend most of their days doing nothing but lounging around with little concern about people who are not in their social environment. What I also think Fitzgerald has showed through this is the fact that money doesn’t buy you happiness Jordan , Tom and Daisy all are extremely wealthy people living in a wealthy place but Jordan seems to be doing nothing all day, Tom is having an affair and Daisy is unsatis? d with her life and tries to cover it up this is another important con? ict set up in chapter one. Overall I think Fitzgerald sets up really well, a lot of different contrasts and con? icts to express many different themes: men more dominant than women, conspicuous consumption, money doesn’t buy you happiness, people are de? ed by where they are on the social elite hierarchy etc. One of the techniques I think Fitzgerald used that was most signi? ant was de? nitely the dialogue because I think it really shows the nature of the characters and also shows their characterization which I ? nd important because all the characters seem to symbolize different sorts of people in America in the 1920’s such as old money and new money or Tom the assertive alpha males and Daisy the inferior women etc which Fitzgerald talks about and expresses a lot through the persona of each character to link up to the themes.