Tony VossThibeaultEnglish 330 January 2018Literary Device: MotifDefinition: “Motif is an object or idea that repeats itself throughout a literary work. In a literary work, a motif can be seen as an image, sound, action, or other figure that has symbolic significance and contributes toward the development of a theme. Motif and theme are linked in a literary work, but there is a difference between them. In a literary piece, a motif is a recurrent image, idea, or symbol that develops or explains a theme, while a theme is a central idea or message.””Motif.” Literary Devices, 2018. Web.
Example: “Instead of rambling, this party had preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the country-side-East Egg condescending toWest Egg, and carefully on guard against its stereoscopic gayety.” (Fitzgerald 44)Fitzgerald, F. Scott.
The Great Gatsby. Scribner, New York. 2004. Print.FunctionContext: Nick, a man from the midwest who now lives in west Egg, is attending a party thrown by Gatsby. Nik runs into Jordan Baker and her acquaintances from East Egg, and joins them in Gossip.
Nick hears rumors that Gatsby might have been a german spy. ANother person say that Gatsby must have killed someone, which sends chills down everyone’s back. Nick in the quote reflects of the conversations of the East eggers and their attitudes towards West Eggers like Gatsby at Gatsby’s West Egg party.Concept: Nick comments on the “staid nobility of the country-side-East Egg” and the rowdiness and wild thoughts of west egg to explore the motifs found within American Geography.
Nick is the best candidate to give us this insight for he is from the Midwest, a place we commonly associate as neutral, agricultural, and rather boring. This gives us a clear, outsider’s definition of the older, previously established, and conservative East Egg, and the West Egg with its “Stereoscopic Gayety”, newly established riches, and freer thought/expression. These descriptors draw many parallels to American geographical stereotypes and by looking into and applying these motifs, we can better understand these characters within their microcosm of the United States. An example of this is Tom Buchanan, a proud East Egger, whose money is from his family’s wealth, and holds a conservative and racist set of principles. On the opposite side of the Spectrum is Gatsby, a man shrouded in mystery but boltering in new extravagant ideas, living among the newly rich and throwing some of the wildest parties of his time in West Egg. The Valley of Ashes, although not mentioned within the quote, represents all of the areas in the middle of nowhere that surround the big cities. Their worn down features, poorer economical state, all heightened in comparison to the cities which they shadow, have an effect of both despair in their current state yet hopeful desperation. This is seen in both George Wilson with his business, and Myrtle, who is in an affair with Tom Buchanan, an East Egger, as she tries to get out of her dump into glamourous nobility-like status.