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February 15, 2005

Weathering the Odds

I've finished re-reading this novel, and it seems that I've been struck with almost all the same pretenses about The Great Gatsby.

My favorite literary element in this story has got to be the alignment with the climate. Fitzgerald alludes to the months just barely--
beginning of June:

"Why candles?" objected Daisy frowning . She snapped them out with her fingers. "In two weeks it'll be the longest day in the year. She looked at us all radiantly.


Once I wrote down on the empty spaces of a time table the names of those who came to Gatsby's house that summer. It is an old time table now, disintegrating at its folds and headed "This schedule in effect July 5th, 1922."

The intensity of the plot grows as the weather becomes more unbearable. Chapter seven practically perspires with references to the heat:

The next day was broiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest, of the summer.

There is mention of the car's seats "hovering on edge of combustion," weariness, stains on the ticket handed to Nick due to perspiration, stagnant heat, oppressive heat, relentless beating heat... and there are many bouts of confusion, muffling, suffocation and the like: demanded Tom harshly, snorted Tom contemptuously, demanded Jordan crossly, snapped Tom...

... and there are always careful references to the time of the year even in flashbacks, but mostly about Daisy (who seems to have love that fluctuates like the seasons anyway):

By the next autumn she was gay again, gay as ever.

Through this twilight universe Daisy began to move again with the season; suddenly she was again keeping half a dozen dates with half a dozen men...
For Daisy was young and her artificial world was redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful snobbery and orchestras which set the rhythm of the year...

Really, if I ever had to teach anything about the life of a story, I'd use this book. The setting, rising action, building of the plot leading to the climax and the succinct dénoument just beg to have the literary triangle formed before your very eyes.

Posted by KarissaKilgore at February 15, 2005 7:05 PM


The point about the weather and temperature as related to the heat is definitely a great one! I love this sentence: "Chapter seven practically perspires with references to the heat." You said exactly what I was thinking! ;c)

Posted by: moira at February 15, 2005 9:18 PM

I found it interesting that the author never mentions anything about Spring. With all of the love triangle stuff going on you would think he would add a bit of Spring Fever in there.

Posted by: Tiffany at February 16, 2005 4:32 PM

Very interesting point, Tiff. Typically people do associate love with spring, but mostly we hear about autumn and the heat of summer from Fitzgerald. Maybe that could have something to do with preference or just that most of the passion in this book was already full-blown by the time we're introduced as readers (?). I don't really know. It's merely speculation.

Posted by: Karissa at February 16, 2005 10:57 PM

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