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Unearthing an Inner Meaning in the Final Lines of the Great Gatsby


Submitted By tyty1456
Words 1586
Pages 7
In The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, there is a distinct development of emotions and symbols, and one of the key vehicles for illustrating this change is the final line of each chapter. Hidden within each final sentence lies an inner message that either pulls together a major theme in the chapter leading up to the sentence, or is a harbinger of the coming chapters. Beginning with the final word in chapter one, “darkness” (21), and concluding with the novel’s final word, “past” (180), Fitzgerald uses simple closing words to represent a deeper, continuous meaning that pervades the book. By doing this, Fitzgerald is able to outline major themes in the novel, including facial expressions, honesty, and balance. Most clearly and powerfully, however, the outline of lightness through positive imagery and darkness through negative imagery is presented in the final lines of each chapter. By grouping the chapters by hopefulness shown in their respective final lines, a trend is apparent. In chapters one through three, the final lines provide a dark, sullen preview for the chapters to come, while chapter four provides a transition into the final lines of chapters five and six, which signify a brief sense of giddiness that begins to darken. Finally, the last lines of chapters seven through nine mark the development and completion of the violent “holocaust” (162).
Supplying a preview at the end of chapter one as to the violence to occur later in the novel, Nick says he is “alone again in the unquiet darkness” (21). By stating the word “darkness” at the end of the first chapter, Fitzgerald can ultimately emphasize the fact that eventually, the plot will take a cold, deep, serious turn for the worse. Moreover, it shows the ambiguity of the first chapter, as the reader does not yet know much about the characters’ personalities or actions. This ambivalent image can

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