How do you make words, which are just sounds or written symbols, somehow reflect real people and events in the world? This is a complex question which every writer has to answer for themselves, but in F. Scott Fitzgerald's case, it's all about "evocative" writing - that is, trying to "evoke" a scene in the reader's head. That's why we focused on the attention to detail in setting as a way into Fitzgerald's dense writing throughout chapters 1 and 2 - it helped us see how his writing isn't meant to just tell a story, but bring to life a whole WORLD with language. This is especially well-done in Chapters 3 and 4, which finally introduce Gatsby in twin scenes that evoke almost opposite images of him. In Chapter 3, he appears as a perfect gentleman, whereas in Chapter 4 he at least briefly becomes, in Nick's words, "sinister." Which is it? Is it both? The duality or contradiction between appearances and reality that defines Gatsby will begin to make more sense in Chapters 5 and 6, where it will become our focus.
For now, by paying close attention to DICTION (word choice, especially adjectives/adverbs) and SYNTAX (sentence structure, especially way way Fitzgerald links patterns of images together), we'll unpack the many layers of thematic meaning in Fitzgerald's evocative prose. You will post a comment here at the conclusion of chapter 4 analyzing one passage's descriptive use of a MOTIF (recurring image or symbol) and its thematic significance, worth 25 points (including a response to a classmate's post).
Mr. Justin Biggs