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Madeline R

on 28 February 2013

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The Great Gatsby A Study of Synesthetic Imagery

Madeline Rosato
Purpose - Connections Connections Purpose Describing Darkness Water Imagery Warmth Synesthesia

"A loud, bright night"(20).

"Unquiet darkness"(21). "We drove over to Fifth Avenue,
so warm and soft..."(28)

When describing how Daisy's voice
affected Gatsby, Nick explains,
"that voice held him most, with
its fluctuating, feverish warmth"(96). "the moon [was] soaked
with wet light"(99). Fitzgerald uses synesthetic imagery within the text to distort the senses of the reader. This rhetorical device represents a larger idea of both the text and the time period, as many people in New York City during the 1920s and all of history have attempted to warp their own realities to either escape or attempt to improve their lives. When describing Gatsby's attempt to attract Daisy with wealth and prestige, Nick explains, "For a while these reveries...were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock if the world was founded securely on fairy's wings"(99). Synesthesia is defined by Dictionary.com as "the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body." To Put it simply...
it is a distortion
of the senses "Soft black"(107). Fitzgerald uses auditory senses in order to describe the physical appearance, perceived by sight, of the nighttime darkness. Again, Fitzgerald distorts the senses by describing the physical color of darkness with the sense of feeling. In these examples, Fitzgerald uses feelings of "warmth" and "soft[ness]" to describe both the sound of Daisy's voice and the appearance of the hard concrete road of Fifth Avenue. "a triangle of silver scales...
[was] trembling a little to
the stiff, tinny drip of the
banjoes on the lawn"(47) Here Fitzgerald distorts the senses by describing the physical appearance of light with "wet[ness]," a feeling perceived solely by the sense of touch. Fitzgerald uses water imagery to describe the sounds of the banjoes. He is using the wrong senses to perceive things, which is his attempt to distort reality By obsessing over materialistic objects and ostentatious appearances, Gatsby attempted to create an extravagant, dream-like lifestyle to help cope with and compensate for the loss of Daisy earlier in his life. His wealth also provided Gatsby with a false sense of mental stability. While spending time with Tom and Myrtle in their NYC apartment, Nick explains, "I have been drunk just twice in my life, and the second time was that afternoon...everything....has a dim, hazy cast over it"(29). While feeling extremely awkward, uncomfortable and unhappy in this apartment, Nick attempts to escape the reality of this situation by distorting his senses with alcohol.
Nick explains, "the whiskey distorted things"(29). Within these parties, many people use alcohol to escape, enhance and contort their realities as well Gatsby's Parties
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