Fitzgerald has a very poetic way of presenting language. He uses the same devices consistently throughout his writing.

  1. Select three passages from the book (about a paragraph or two in length) that we have NOT annotated as a class. Annotate these passages and identify the language features that Fitzgerald uses. Explain the effect of these features and why he may have chosen to use them.


2. Fitzgerald uses many allusions throughout the novel. Select two of these allusions and explain the connection between it and the book. Explain how Fitzgerald uses his allusions to create a story that could take place in the real world. Comment on how the allusions help to support the development of illusion throughout the novel.

“A regular Belasco”

David Belasco was a set designer and producer on Broadway known for his elaborate and realistic  sets. One of Gatsby’s party-goers comments on the resemblance of Belasco and Gatsby, unaware of the irony of his statement, he is referring to Gatsby’s extravagant parties however unconsciously makes a connection between the facade that Gatsby creates, the exaggerated life he builds for himself and the dream the he imagines for himself & Daisy; Gatsby believed in these and their realness, he believed that he could reach his dream to repeat the past because he got so good at making it real in his own mind. Just like Belasco’s sets, which made audiences believe in their intricate realism, Gatsby built his whole life around his dream and believed in it with all of his passion, however, these are both illusive; the detailed and seemingly authentic sets were the appearance of reality but really there was nothing behind them, nothing in them, just like Gatsby and his illusion.

“The eyes of Dr T.J Eckleburg.”

The eyes of Dr T.J Eckleburg represent the way in which Nick views the world & the happenings around him. The billboard that sits in the valley of ashes displays a pair of eyes that look upon the scenes around them with a God-like presence, viewing from the outside with a constant “vigil”. Shortly before the plaza incident, George Wilson, looking out the window into the direction of the T.J Eckleburg billboard says to Myrtle “You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!” This is a hint to the overlooking eyes & the meaning behind them. They are watching, observing from the edge like God and also as Nick does throughout the book, “I am within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” He is involved however still watches from the side lines, captivated yet disgusted by the experiences around him; the way Nick describes himself as being ‘without’ resembles the way the eyes observe the world, and also how Fitzgerald himself was as a person and an author.

“Civilization’s going to pieces,…I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things.  Have you read The Rise of the Coloured Empires by this man Goddard?”

The Rise of the Colored Empires was written by a man named Lothrop Goddard and it articulates the fall of the ‘white empire’ with the increases population of black people and questions the right to invade and impose one’s own policies etc on other countries however, Tom misunderstands the book, wanting to believe that it is illustrating the need for adamant white supremacy in America.


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