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In this essay, I will be discussing the stylistic techniques used by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the novel The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald, 1925). The Great Gatsby is a novel that follows the story of Jay Gatsby`s unrequited love for Daisy Buchanan, narrated by Daisy`s cousin, Nick Carraway. Nick acts as the focaliser as well as the narrator in this novel as he retells the story of Gatsby to us, using stylistic features to create a sense of nostalgia and loss. I plan to observe how stylistic features such as speech and thought representation, poetic language, and point of view are used to craft characters’ descriptions and depict mood throughout the novel.

Fitzgerald skillfully creates a sense of nostalgia and loss through the poetic language used throughout the novel. We can see many similes being used in this extract pale as death plunged like weights as if he were on a wire as well as a vast amount of descriptive language through adverbs light dignified knockingâ increasing rain and post-modifying adjectives the living room was deserted. Almost every verb in this extract is paired with at least one adverb, sometimes even multiple I certainly am awfully glad to see you. The use of this figurative language makes the novel extremely descriptive and allows the reader to picture the story in their heads in great detail, almost feeling as if they were there in the immediate action. This allows them to relive Gatsby’s story, through Nick, due to the elaborate imagery created by Fitzgerald. Poetic language can also be used to create an essence of elegance and grace which in this case may be to capture Gatsby`s lavish lifestyle and portray the American dream which is a key theme in this novel. This may also symbolize Gatsby`s sophisticated character and emphasize to the reader that this is how he attempts to present himself. Although, it could be argued that he actually has an insecure nature and is hiding behind his wealth through this extravagant, stylish persona. This can be seen when Gatsby is described as pale as death which does not fit in with the persona Gatsby is attempting to be perceived as. Furthermore, this simile may have also been used as foreshadowing for the later events in the novel and therefore Fitzgerald may have purposely used poetic language so that the novel could be read as a poetic lament for Gatsby, further building on the sense of nostalgia and loss. The use of verbal sentences throughout the novel Surprise Glad frightened trembling highlights this, provoking an emotional response from the reader as they hear about Gatsby`s story.

This sense of nostalgia is further emphasized through Fitzgerald`s use of tense throughout the novel. Since this is Nick`s account of previous events, we would expect to see past indefinite tense used throughout the story-telling and that is the case in this extract ‘We went in. To my overwhelming surprise, the living room was deserted. However, Fitzgerald has paired many of these past tense verbs with adverbs connoting the events happening in the present tense the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously my own face now assumed a deep tropical burn. The use of proximal deixis this makes us feel as though we are being thrown directly into the action and experiencing this story first-hand with Nick. This creates a more personal, immediate account for the reader which is further emphasized through the personal pronouns used throughout the novel I had nothing to do in the hall I told them idiotically. This allows the reader to experience the narrator`s thoughts and feelings, building a relationship between Nick and the reader. A final way Fitzgerald cleverly crafts this personal relationship between the narrator and the reader is through the use of direct speech What`s funny? I`m sorry about the clock which places us in a more intimate position with the characters in this story, particularly Nick as Fitzgerald also includes direct thought it wasn`t a bit funny, giving us an insight into Nick`s consciousness. Furthermore, Fitzgerald’s stylistic choices with tense are further emphasized as time is a significant theme in this novel with many references to it half a minute and many years set us all back at least another minute. This further contributes to the sense of nostalgia that Fitzgerald is attempting to create throughout this novel since this is Nick retelling his recollection of Gatsby`s story.

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This internal perspective from a first-person narration fits into Fowler`s type A category in his Model of Psychological Point of View (Fowler, 1986). This is apparent through the personal pronoun usage my overwhelming surprise I think we all believed being paired with mental verb processes surprise think which does give us an insight into Nick`s consciousness, as suggested by Fowler in this model. There are also lots of verba sentient in this novel which we would expect to see following Fowler`s model surprise glad frightened which also builds on the personal rapport Fitzgerald is creating between the reader and Nick. Although all of these features fit in well with Fowler’s Model of Psychological Point of View, Fowler suggests that type A narration includes lots of modalities, however, this extract does not contain many modal verbs despite the fact that it is a personal account of previous events. This suggests that Fowler’s model can be used as a guideline to group different types of narration, but the texts may not always follow Fowler`s rules completely.

Fitzgerald skilfully crafts the mood throughout the novel to express to the reader how the characters are feeling in each scene. This is particularly apparent in the opening of this extract. The beginning of this extract starts with a fairly slow pace, created by the post-modifier deserted, the mental perception verb process glaring, and the pre-modifying adverbs light dignified knocking. These stylistic choices create a quiet, slow-paced environment, almost acting as a build-up before Gatsby and Daisy are reunited. This slow pace is quickly contrasted as soon as Gatsby enters the house, further contributing to the build-up prior to Gatsby and Daisy`s reunion. The use of the post-modifying adverb turned sharply, the material action verb disappeared, and the pre-modifying adverb’s loud beating quicken the pace of the extract and may mirror the chaotic thoughts occurring in Nick’s head due to this high-stress situation for him. This once again builds the relationship between the narrator and the reader as the reader is able to experience the nervous emotions Nick is experiencing through Fitzgerald`s stylistic choices building the mood. The direct contrast between sounds light dignified knocking loud beating particularly emphasizes this swift switch in pace. This quick pace is once again contrasted as Fitzgerald brings the pace back down when Gatsby and Daisy at long last meet again, but this time to create an awkward, uncomfortable mood. He creates this mood through the use of pauses and silence for half a minute there wasn`t a sound a pause; it endured horribly. By being so specific about how long this pause was, this emphasizes to the reader that Nick could feel time dragging on, and the reader is able to experience the uncomfortable atmosphere creeping in. This may also emphasize the shock upon reunion, implying the characters may have been left speechless as they process what is occurring. Furthermore, Fitzgerald continues this uncomfortable, awkward mood towards the end of the extract, when Gatsby, Daisy, and Nick all finally engage in conversation. The use of short, simple sentences in all of the direct speech illustrates to the reader that the characters are having difficulty conversating with each other we`ve met before I`m sorry about the clock it’s an old clock we haven`t met for many years five years November. This stiff, rigid turn-taking creates an uneasy environment, indicating that the conversation is unwelcoming, and the characters don`t actually want to be interacting with each other. Although this is a reunion of two people that used to be in love, the environment seems to majorly lack emotion further promoting this discomforted atmosphere. A final way Fitzgerald crafts this awkward atmosphere is through the use of conversational maxim breaking (Grice, 1975). Firstly, the relation maxim has been broken by Nick when he explains It`s an old clock, acting as if Gatsby had broken it when in actual fact he had not. This information is therefore not relevant to the conversation and did not need to be said. Secondly, the quantity maxim is then broken by Gatsby five years next November as this contribution was more informative than required. Gatsby may have come across as overly obsessive over Daisy in this utterance which would make all the characters feel uneasy, therefore contributing to the awkward mood Fitzgerald is attempting to create.

Fitzgerald manages to clearly capture Nick`s thoughts, feelings, and emotions throughout this novel through his stylistic choices. The high frequency of simple sentences in this extract we went in It wasn`t a bit funny creates a choppy narrative structure suggesting to the reader that Nick may be nervous and on edge. These sentences may have also been used to create an uneasy environment, mirroring Nick`s feelings in this situation, allowing the reader to experience, first-hand, the localizer’s emotions. This is also achieved by Fitzgerald allowing the reader access to Nick`s actual thoughts, through direct thought it wasn`t a bit funny luckily. This means the reader feels they have a direct insight into exactly what Nick is thinking, feeling, and wishing, and therefore may be easier for the reader to sympathize with Nick and feel as though they are really a part of this story. This is further crafted through the use of mental verb processes throughout the novel I think to my overwhelming surprise which also contributes to allowing the reader access to the narrator`s thoughts, building on the relationship Fitzgerald has created between Nick and the reader. Fitzgerald continues this intimacy by giving the reader an insight into how Nick is physically reacting to the situation present aware of the loud beating of his own heartâ my own face had now assumed a deep tropical burn. This is another example of elaborate imagery used by Fitzgerald in order for the reader to be able to picture this story in great detail in their heads, once again meaning they feel as though they were really there at the time of the events, and reliving it through Nick`s focal point. Additionally, the repetition of the personal pronoun my own further builds this relationship between the reader and the narrator, creating a very personal account of the events.

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