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Drew Haha You Wish You Knew

on 22 April 2015

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Transcript of Language

The language utilized in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is overly-complex and difficult to understand. This places an emphasis on the rich's attempts to create an image of themselves as extremely sophisticated and above others. This image falls apart in the few weeks of the novel as we are exposed to the true nature of the luxurious. The mirage that their classiness attempted to create, is clearly a facade to overcompensate a lack of self-fulfillment or internal well-being.
Synopsis: Language in "The Great Gatsby"
Synopsis: Language in 1984
1984's language is very unique to the world in which the story unfolds, utilizing a vast and complicated language known as "New Speak" to uncover the underlying philosophies of Oceania. While the narrative is written in our tongue it exudes more of an air of our world than of theirs. This helps the reader fully understand Winston's unique position in the novel (as he has the ideology of our world and lives in another) and also to show the dichotomy between our reality and theirs.
Synopsis: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Synopsis: Language in "Things Fall Apart"
Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart", uses a very direct, simple language style, stating most of the details of the story directly.
This lends itself to what the story is attempting to present, the basics of a foreign civilization and the reality of what a relatable person is like, simple and open. In order to further this the book distinctly makes use of a wide variety of common terms of the igbo people. In addition, included in the book is a dictionary in order to make communication extremely straightforward, despite the vast differences between the Igbo and white man's culture, which the book utilizes very well.
Drew N. Thomas M. Sam A.
'Their Eyes Were Watching God' is a novel about life as an African American in the post-reformation era of American History. As such, the language in the novel exemplifies the culture and life of such a culture. This aides the reader's understanding of the struggles and conflicts presented in the novel that are uniquely owned by said era. The narration itself is standard level, but the dialogue in the piece, which makes up the majority of the book, is written as it would be spoken in the dialect of a post-reformation African American. This at first overwhelms the reader, then he/she gradually slips into it, and the culture of the novel, thus gaining deeper understanding of the themes and morals of the work.
Someone spilled my book!!
Bonus level!
Here, we will look at two of these four texts in regards to language: F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby", and Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart". These two texts are fine examples of the particular utilization of language for purpose of critical effect, and each use language in a thoroughly unique and contrasting manner: while "The Great Gatsby" utilizes very eloquent, sophisticated and gilded language, emphasizing Gatsby's and the other members of the story's high-class society's gilded nature by acting as a facade for the poor truth that lies within all of those words, "Things Fall Apart" utilizes very simple, straightforward language that would initially seem to leave little to the imagination, putting an emphasis on details that a reader may wonder about in not hearing, as well as specific Igbo language, combinatively showing the drastic difference between Igbo culture and the "white man's" culture.
Gatsby: The King of Class
F. Scott Fitzgerald writes 'The Great Gatsby' in a highly sophisticated style. Here are a few examples:
Gatsby Examples
Chapter 1, P. 2
"When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn."
Chapter 5, P. 8

I walked out the back way-just as Gatsby had when he had made his nervous circuit of the house half an hour before-and ran for a huge black knotted tree, whose massed leaves made a fabric against the rain. Once more it was pouring, and my irregular lawn, well-shaved by Gatsby's gardener, abounded in small, muddy swamps and prehistoric marshes. There was nothing to look at from under the tree except Gatsby's enormous house, so I stared at it, like Kant at his church steeple, for half an hour.
Chapter 9, P. 19

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter-to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . and one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Introduction to Further Text Analysis
Things Fall Apart: Worlds Apart
Achebe utilizes a very straightforward language style, along with Igbo-specific language terms, to emphasize the distance of cultures (between Igbo and the white man). Examples below:
Chapter 12, Pg: 94
"Their children carried pits of water. Ekwefi was tired and sleepy from the exhausting experiences of the previous night. It was not every long since they had returned."
Chapter 12, Pg: 97
“And so everybody comes,” said another man, “honest men and thieves. They can steal your cloth from off your waist in the market.”
Chapter 4, Pg: 30
"He even remembered how he had laughed when Ikemefuna told him that the proper name for a corn cob with only a few scattered grains was
, or the teeth of an old woman."
Gatsby: Implications
The fanciful and articulate language found in the previous quotes, especially the last one serves an interesting purpose. First off it adds a sense of immersion into the culture of 1920s upper-class, but it also has a secondary purpose, in my opinion: it serves to hide the moral. It seems to me that it would be reasonable for Nick, the narrator, would speak in a casual way as he is not of this higher class he associates with, so why have him write as such? To me, it's almost like Fitzgerald wanted to make us think more on the morals presented in the novel. By forcing us to interpret and translate, we unintentionally derive meanings beyond the text in front of us. It also would be very difficult to present such a complicated moral in simple language. Thus, maybe it serves the purpose of aiding the reader understand the morals, by hindering them.
Things...come together:
The language in TFA is extremely important to understanding the novel. The novel utilizes the Igbo language and culture to aid the reader in understanding the world of the characters in Umuofia. The language itself is a direct parallel to the daily lives of the people and is an example of the integration of the Igbo culture into everyday life.
In addition the simple language that is used helps make the characters more real and relatable. They speak as we do in our daily lives, not overly complex or fake, but understandable and simple.
Conflict between the two cultures is exemplified by the differences in language and the ways that language is used.

In conclusion, the choices one makes in language, are extremely influential and create meanings that would not be there otherwise.
Be it the irony and illusions created in The Great Gatsby by the use of language of sophistication, the simplistic and realistic approach taken by Things Fall Apart, or something else such as 1984 or Their Eyes Were Watching God.
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