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It's Getting Hot

"'What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon?' cried Daisy, 'and the day after that, and the next thirty years?'
'Don't be morbid,' Jordan said. 'Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.'
'But it's so hot,' insisted Daisy, on the verge of tears, 'and everything's so confused. Let's all go to town!'"
~page 118 of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

I found it interesting that all the major references to heat start when all of the tension is building. This most likely was not a coincidence. As the tension builds, so do the references to heat. In the beginning, at the point where Daisy makes the above comment, the only real factor at play is the close proximity of Tom and Gatsby. Later, after the confrontation, this quote comes: "From the ballroom beneath, muffled and suffocating chords were drifting up on hot waves of air" (132). I'm sure we've all heard the phrase "suffocating heat" before. Even though the words are not directly combined in this sentence, they are both included, thus causing some parallels to be drawn subconsciously, at the very least. The tension has been upped and so has the discomfort from the heat.

Going back to Daisy's previous comment, though it does seem to be overdramatic, it is also setting the stage for the coming events. Daisy makes it seem as if some life altering event has occurred or, as the case may be, will occur in the near future. "'What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon?' cried Daisy, 'and the day after that, and the next thirty years'" (118)? When called on the fact she isn't being reasonable, she merely replies, "But it's so hot" (118)--yet another connection between tension and physical heat. It may not be a coincidence that Tom discovers what's going on only moments after this declaration.

As that set of events ultimately led up to Myrtle's death, it is interesting to not that there is another reference to heat later, during some of the final time Nick spends with Gatsby. "The day-coach . . . was hot" (153). Even though this was dealing with Gatsby's past--not the present moment in which the two characters are reminiscing--it has been so drilled into the reader's mind at this point that the presence of heat does not bode well for the characters, that it may still be a reference to the destructive heat that had led to death before. It seems as if it could be a subtle clue as to what will happen to Gatsby.


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Comments (1)

Nikita McClellan:

This is a interesting point of view. I would have never thought of it but it is very true. The heat is pointed out quite a bit and Daisy did act unreasonable. I remember reading that and think "why is she being so melodramatic?" Your idea completely shows the sense in her reaction.

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