Caleb Figueroa Mr. Bakker Advanced English 11 20 February 2013 Unforgiving Weather In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, life moves fast and there’s no time for people to care about each other’s problems. Now, this is not simply because people have become selfish. Instead, it’s the fact that pretentiousness has consumed the moral compass of East and West Eggers alike. Fitzgerald shows this ugly truth by using various symbols like cars and colors to represent different things.
One motif or symbol that is evident throughout this novel is weather–which helps to set the mood f the current situation, foreshadow character’s emotions in the coming pages, and emphasize the presence of the theme: The moral corruption of the upper-class, materialistic American. The repetition of different weather patterns is definitely noticeable, and it ends up affecting how the reader views certain situations. And not only does the weather affect the dialogue (they mention how it’s raining, hot, etc. , but it also affects the overall mood of where the characters are and what theyre doing. The first instance hat one notices this was when Nick, Daisy, and Gatsby were all getting together for tea at Nicks house: “The day agreed upon was pouring rain … An hour later the front door opened nervously and Gatsby in a white flannel suit, silver shirt and gold colored tie hurried in. ” (88-89) The fact that it was raining when these characters first interacted gives key insight into the mood of this small get-together and how each of them is feeling.
Typically people relate rain to sadness but in this case it’s used to describe how Gatsby is feeling nervous and ambivalent about seeing Daisy again; hus creating an awkward mood for the beginning of the evening. Weather captures the mood of the current situation, and it can sometimes even offer a small glimpse into the future. These glimpses into the future aren’t specifically about any event though; instead, theyre usually more like foreshadowing character’s emotions in the next pages of the chapter.
For example, when Tom, Daisy, Jordan, Nick, and Gatsby are all together on a hot summer day, the situation slowly becomes more and more suspenseful as their time spent together drags on. “The next day was roiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest, of the summer. ” (120) This all happened on the hottest day of the summer for a reason: to show the climax of the story and to show what happens to these uncivilized creatures when theyre put under a heat lamp. Tom is forced to introduce himself to Gatsby and the heat only adds to his steadily creeping opposition of this man. “Mr Gatsby! He put out his broad, flat hand with well-concealed dislike. ” (122) Tom and Gatsbys situation eventually escalates until Tom asks some incredibly personal questions. Tom’s increasing disgust with Gatsby ends with him asking, “What kind of a row are you trying to cause in my house anyhow? ” (136) By this time, the weather has exhausted everyone to the point where they no longer want to see one another–especially Tom people tend to forget their manners and go mad. These “manners” also often include being honest to those around you; which is strange because five of the characters have been living a lie.
The situation between Daisy, Myrtle, George, Tom, and Gatsby truly reveals how corrupt Americans were ecoming during the time of The Great Gatsby. It was now becoming a common thing for a rich man to have a mistress, and for a rich girl to simply choose who she wanted to be with. The weather causes this sort of moral corruption to become magnified and obvious: “The relentless beating heat was beginning to confuse me and I had a bad moment there before I realized that so far his suspicions hadn’t alighted on Tom.
He had discovered that Myrtle had some sort of life apart from him in another world and the shock had made him physically sick. I stared at him and then at Tom, who had made a parallel discovery less than an hour before–and it occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well. ” (130-131) George’s painful realization that Myrtle was living two different lives parallels how Tom learned about Daisy and Gatsbys small affair. However, in both situations, the common theme is that theyre both corrupt in doing this.
Not only did they lie to their partner but they also ontinued with their life as though these problems didn’t exist in the first place. This, to me, is a clear sign that the upper-class, materialistic American of this particular time was slowly becoming more and more rotten. One motif or symbol that is clearly evident throughout this novel is weather–which ultimately sets the mood of the current situation, foreshadows character’s emotions in the coming pages, and emphasizes the presence of the theme: The moral corruption of the upper-class, materialistic American.
Time and time again, weather is described and used in certain situations which only helps to show the true face of the East and West Eggers. They live their lives as though theyre perfect when in reality theyre crooked and rotten people. Not everything is what it seems, and under pressure, we see what lies beneath the surface of the characters in The Great Gatsby. And now that we’ve seen different scenarios where the characters are put under a sort of magnifying glass, one may ask oneself, is Jay Gatsby–or any of the characters for that matter–all that great?