The Great Gatsby

Discuss the significance of one of the following passages from the novel.  First, discuss the significance (not plot-level information) about the passage itself in relation to the text, and then develop its overall significance in relation to Fitzgerald’s purpose as a writer.  Include specific textual evidence from other places in the text and insightful analysis to support your thesis’ assertion.

A.  No telephone message arrived but the butler went without his sleep and waited for it until four o’clock—until long after there was anyone to give it to if it came.  I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come and perhaps he no longer cared.  If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.  He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass.  A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing drams like air, drifted fortuitously about . . . like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees. (169) or (page 161)

B.  Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound.  And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world.  Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. (189) or (page 180)

C.  And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock.  He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.  He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.  It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.  (189) or (page 180)

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