Rhetorical Purpose in The Great Gatsby.
Rhetorical Purpose in The Great Gatsby
Nick was a friend of Gatsby’s for a relatively short period of time but he was one of the few real friends Gatsby had. Though friends, Nick is disappointed in Gatsby and the way his life ends for a dream Nick feels isn’t Gatsby. Fitzgerald’s somber diction and his allusion to the discovery of the new world help convey Nick’s attitude about Gatsby. The imagery further advances the somber mood by placing Nick in a melancholy place while reflecting on his thoughts.
Nick reminisces about Gatsby’s wild parties but remembers the sound now as “faint and incessant” compared to the dazzling atmosphere before. Nick’s high hopes for the “great” Gatsby never materialize and all that is left is Gatsby’s “huge incoherent failure of a house.” After all the hopes and potential, Gatsby had disappointed Nick by chasing an obscene dream and not realizing he had already failed. The description of the house as a failure is a representation of Gatsby as a failure in the eyes of Nick. Nick knows “that [the dream] was already behind him” yet Gatsby still yearns for Daisy. “Brooding” about this shows Nick’s melancholy opinion of Gatsby’s dream.
The allusion to the sailors discovering America serves as a strong emphasis for Nick’s belief that Gatsby’s dream was worthless. Fitzgerald describes the dream of the New World as the last time a truly meaningful dream could be achieved. This contrasts to Gatsby’s dream of getting Daisy, showing Gatsby’s dream as being puny and unimportant. Nick believes Gatsby could have done something more meaningful than chase the dream.
Fitzgerald describes Nick as being on the beach, alone, unhappy, and in the dark. The somber atmosphere reflects and emphasizes Nick’s melancholy attitude of Gatsby and his dream. There are “hardly any lights” on the beach as there is no more hope for Gatsby and as Nick lays sprawled out on the beach the world seems to move slowly as he thinks about Gatsby.
Nick is disappointed in Gatsby for wasting his time chasing Daisy. The diction and imagery create a somber and melancholy atmosphere reflecting Nick’s feelings toward Gatsby. The allusion to the great dream of discovering the new world makes Gatsby’s dream seem puny and unimportant in comparison.