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gatsby motif draft - Raupp 1 Emma Raupp Mrs. Sorrels A.P....

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Raupp 1Emma RauppMrs. SorrelsA.P. Literature11 October 2016L’eau de Gatsby:A Reflection on Modernist MotifsFor centuries, humans have turned to bodies of water for artistic reflection andrevitalization. The party scene of 1920s Manhattan hardly seems like the place to find truth in thenatural world, but according to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s infamous novel,The Great Gatsby, morehonesty is beholden in a raindrop than a vanity mirror. In its many forms, water serves as areflection of truth, dreams, and the everlasting search for purpose. Fitzgerald invokes the loss ofidentity pervading the generation left behind following World War I through Gatsby’s insolubledreams. Through the presence of bodies of water, swimming pools, bathtubs, and rain, theunattainable American dream glimmers and enchants. Water nourishes hope, filling gardens withephemeral blooms. But when the evening sun sets and the glare of golden light moves from thewater, what remains? Only a reflection, truth: reality unfettered. Fitzgerald’s elegiac prosecurtails a more sinister reflection.Gatsby, depicted with “his arms [stretched] toward the dark water” (Fitzgerald20), is the 1920s enigma, the spirited yearning of the American man, carelessly hidden underfinery and cream colored blazers. Hydrated by the burning flame only a lover could possess,Gatsby creates an aquamarine dream world of glittering hope. In contrast to the pessimism of hispeers, Gatsby’s world is luscious: as if it is watered and maintained on the American dreameveryone other than himself seems to have lost. Fitzgerald describes the first iconic Gatsby party
Raupp 2attended by Nick Carraway, the neutral narration of the tale, akin to a world underwater: Nick issurrounded by the “swirls and eddies of people”, “[gliding] on through the sea change of facesand voices and color” (Fitzgerald 41-42). The beauty and vitality of the elite East Egg is mirroredby the desolate Valley of Ashes. “The gray land and the spasms of bleak dusk” (Fitzgerald 23) asdescribed by Fitzgerald portray the dirty, arid hopelessness of the Valley of Ashes. WhereasGatsby’s parties reflect guests rising gracefully from swimming pools, swimming languidlythrough his carefully placed dreams, the Valley of Ashes is devoid of such. The presence of waterinGatsbyrepresents a dream, a bright hope. In the exposition of the novel, Jay Gatsby findshimself surrounded by his gently coursing dreams of days gone by.The true extent of Gatsby’s dream, revealed in the form of Daisy Buchanan, a formerlover and object of his aspirations, ensnares the rising action of the novel. Jay Gatsby never fully

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Term
Fall
Professor
Kevin Starr

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