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The Setting Of The Great Gatsby

1638 words - 7 pages

In many novels the writer's use of setting can allow the reader to appreciate key ideas.Setting is used to convey information about character as well as the society in which the novel takesplace. Sometimes it can even be used to get across the psychological attitude of the character. In FScott Fitzgerald's novel 'The Great Gatsby' he uses setting of place and time to convey ideas andcreate powerful images that enhance the appreciation of the novel. This essay will give details ofsetting and then will discuss fully why they play a significant part in appreciating the text as a whole.Jay Gatsby is a fabulously wealthy man whose sources of wealth are dubious. He owns alarge mansion. However, he has not gotten rich for its own sake. He is both running away from hisdull mid-Western background, and running to the life he believes he can have with Daisy, a womanwho he loved when he was a young man. It is Gatsby's love that has fuelled his dream; a dreammade possible by Gatsby's refusal to recognise reality, and his continual attempts to make the worldas he wants it. This leads, eventually, to tragedy.Setting is used to enhance the appreciation of the novel as a whole. Nick Carraway, the narrator, has moved into a cottage beside an enormous mansion. As yet, Nick does not know the owner, but he is the central character of the novel, Gatsby. Nick describes the house:" The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard - it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby's mansion" We are given an early insight into the character of Gatsby through the description of his home. He is a man who does not do things by halves, building a house that is described as 'colossal'. He is not afraid to show off his great wealth, and he is not prepared to spare expense. The house represents one of France's most famous aristocratic homes. By having a marble pool Gatsby hints at opulence and it suggests a man who is a great consumer of expensive items. We are given an insight to Gatsby that helps with our appreciation of the character for the rest of the novel. However, the description of the mansion not only allows us an insight into Gatsby's character, but also in toAmerican society. We see a society that is as rich, if not more so, than any other society that hasgone before. Although a democratic society, the rich have taken to imitating the aristocracy in theirtastes. It suggests a tension between the ideals of the United States and a society that lets peoplegrow so rich. It suggests that people in America, once rich, will start to cut themselves off andconsider themselves greater than the rest. With the description of the swimming pool Fitzgerald hintsat Roman decadence: the Roman Republic was destroyed as people became wealthier and morecorrupt, and the author appears to hint that the same is...

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