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The Great Gatsby Passage Analysis

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by

Isa Branco

on 14 November 2013

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Transcript of The Great Gatsby Passage Analysis

The Great Gatsby Passage Analysis
Imagery
"Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight."

"This is a valley of ashes — a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air."
Figurative Language
"...a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens;". This is a perfect example of Fitzgerald's figurative language. He describes the Valley of Ashes as a farm where ashes sprout like crops. This probably means that there was so much ash that it seemed to be growing everywhere. As the ash was "growing" everywhere, the sight was grotesque as Fitzgerald suggests.
Detail
"...the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile,
so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land."
This piece contains one of the many great details written by Fitzgerald. He is describing in few words how the motor road ran parallel with the railroad. He is showing how gruesome and repellent the landscape was by saying that it made the motor road shrink away.
Diction
In this passage, it is possible to find
diction
:

"This is the valley of
ashes
— a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and
grotesque
gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a
transcendent
effort, of men who move
dimly
and already crumbling through the powdery air."

This passage contains diction because the author chose certain words in order to create a certain tone.

Ashes
- the author chose "ashes" because he wants to pass a dark, gloomy tone. He could have used the word 'smoke', but 'ashes' is darker and provides a certain feeling that 'smoke' wouldn't be able to bring.
Grotesque
- Grotesque was used for the reader to understand that the gardens weren't only big, they were extravagant and abnormal.
Transcendent
- the author picked this word to demonstrate that the ashes take the form of men with
absolute
effort. (incomparable, superior, exceeding effort).
Dimly
- This word was used by the author so that the reader understands that the environment is grayer, and that the images seen through the air are blurred, shadowy, cloudy, and faded.
Syntax
F. Scott Fitzgerald tends to use long, lingering sentences when he is describing something, i.e. 'Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.' This makes it more detailed and interesting, when the action happens, the sentences are shorter making it easier and more interesting to read. Since the sentences are choppier, the action is more fast paced.
Tone
The overall tone of this passage is rather dark because of the word choice and way that Mr. Fitzgerald writes it. He writes the inhabitants of this 'desolate' place as if they were creatures that peep every once in a while to see what all the commotion is about takes away these people's humanity and gives them a more rudimentary and uncivilized description. Even his description of what is supposed to symbolize god is run down, just like everything else in the bleak valley of ashes. He also perhaps wants to illustrate the difference between the Eggs and the Valley of Ashes, since West and East Egg are shining, golden, and pure, the contrast would have to be bleak, disgusting, and dark.
‘About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes — a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight. But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic — their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.
The valley of ashes is bounded on one side by a small foul river, and, when the drawbridge is up to let barges through, the passengers on waiting trains can stare at the dismal scene for as long as half an hour. There is always a halt there of at least a minute, and it was because of this that I first met Tom Buchanan’s mistress.
The fact that he had one was insisted upon wherever he was known. His acquaintances resented the fact that he turned up in popular restaurants with her and, leaving her at a table, sauntered about, chatting with whomsoever he knew. Though I was curious to see her, I had no desire to meet her — but I did. I went up to New York with Tom on the train one afternoon, and when we stopped by the ashheaps he jumped to his feet and, taking hold of my elbow, literally forced me from the car.’
pages 27 & 28
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