The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby—Close Reading Analysis From Chapter 1 Nick, the narrator, says this: And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes but after a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on. When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the “creative temperament”—it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No—Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men. 1. Why does Fitzgerald contrast “hard rock” with “wet marshes”? What does he mean? 2. In the third sentence, note the metaphor and explain Fitzgerald’s choice of this particular metaphor. 3. Explain the two conflicting attitudes the narrator has toward Gatsby. What is the effect of this paradox? 4. Look at the last sentence. Identify the three dependent clauses. What is the effect of these three clauses, one following the other? 5. Basically this paragraph contains two pairs of contrasting ideas. Identify them. What do they have in common?

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