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"the Great Gatsby" Commentary - Opening Passage in Chapter IV

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The opening excerpt from F. Scott Fitzgerald's, "The Great Gatsby" in chapter four puts emphasis on Gatsby's mysterious character and listing all the name of the wealthiest people that were invited to Gatsby's party that "summer" (9). In the first part of the passage, the guests invited to the party are described as shallow for having no knowledge about Gatsby but only taking advantages from the party. It shows that the guests lack moral compassion and a subtle care for Gatsby, spreading rumors about how he has "killed a man"(5) and being cousins with a "devil" (6). The second part moves along to the names listed from the wealthy class of society of the West and East Egg which lacks the moral of society alike one of the guest who has "killed himself" (44) and another who "strangled" (34) his wife. This shows the moral decay in the upper class and how they are unhappy with what they have, in relation to Gatsby's discontent of his life because of his longing for Daisy. Fitzgerald distinctly illustrates Gatsby's mysterious past through the gossip between the "young ladies." (4) The author also portrays the names listed as ignorant and unsatisfied with their life through Nick's eyes by the use of symbolism and characterization of names from the East and West Egg.

Through the gossips and rumors in the first part of the passage that were spread out by the "ladies" (4) about Gatsby's past, Fitzgerald successfully portrays and emphasizes Gatsby's suspicious character. This helps develop more curiosity for Nick Carraway and the readers by depicting the dialogues through nameless minor characters. It helped developed the plot quickly as to when the readers read the first paragraph of the passage, they will quickly understand the ignorant guests that attend the parties but do not even make an effort to know the host. The rumors of Gatsby "killing a man" (5) further developed the limited knowledge of Gatsby's character through the eyes of many characters especially through an outsiders view from the ladies for example. The readers were introduced to a possible career path and Gatsby's source for wealth, claiming that he is a "bootlegger" (4), although as Nick described the ladies talking, it did not seem as trusting as they wander around the party carelessly passing through "cocktails" (4) and "flowers". (5) However, as the readers will find later in the book, the claim of his career is proven to be true. With claims for Gatsby being related to "Von Hindenburg" and "second cousin to the devil" (6), this further develops Gatsby's dubious life and makes the reader crave for more information on Gatsby.

Fitzgerald also uses symbolism through the long listed "gray" (10) names to further develop the ignorance and hollowness of higher society in the second part of the excerpt. These were narrated by introducing one family or name at a time, creating an image of each guest coming in to the party one at a time, creating an all nostalgic atmosphere. The names were described as "gray" (10), comparable



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