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Major Themes Captured In Chapter Five Of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

703 words - 3 pages

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, set in early 1920’s New York, tells the story of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his lasting affection for Daisy Buchannan. Mr. Gatsby is attempting to lure Daisy’s love as the couple split before Gatsby went to war. However, throughout the novel, the reader encounters unethical characters along with a complex intertwined plot that incorporates themes from early 20th century society. The true essence of the novel, and the major themes of the story, are captured and symbolized in one key paragraph in Chapter 5, page 86. This paragraph combines the motifs of time and Gatsby's great desire to go back to the past; it further reflects the emergence of phoniness and greed as important elements.
The motif of time is evident throughout the story as it represents Gatsby’s attempt to go back to past. Specifically, the scene in chapter five when Gatsby and Daisy are having an awkward conversation and Mr. Gatsby is leaning against the “mantelpiece clock” (86) reflects a need to go back into the society of the earlier period; to avoid a people of greed, cynicism, counterfeits, reckless behavior, and a surplus of material wealth that existed in the 1920’s. However, no matter how hard Gatsby tries to revert to the past he is encountered by instances that should suggest that things would not go back to the past. Additionally, the image of Mr. Gatsby leaning on the clock is symbolic as he is trying to tip it over to stop time and slip back into the past, however he cannot do it, the clock just wobbles. When Gatsby arrives at the Buchannan house he finds out that Daisy indeed does have a daughter when “a freshly laundered nurse leading a little girl came into the room” (117). Despite the reality of Daisy starting a family, Gatsby briefly recognizes it, but at the same time remains oblivious and maintains his hope that Daisy’s love for him will be revived. It is apparent that Gatsby will not give up hope until he hears Daisy say that she only loves Tom.
Phoniness and lies emerge as major...

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