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The Great Gatsby - Essay Example

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The Great Gatsby is almost completely dominated by the themes of time and memory and the inescapabable nature of the two. Intertwined in this is the sub-theme of discovery and re-discovery. Throughout the novel the inescapabable nature of the past is brought together with the way man discovers fresh ground and also rediscovers it with the new perspectives of experience…
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The Great Gatsby
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Download file to see previous pages S. Eliot in his Four Quartets. In Burnt Norton, he says
This very vividly brings out time as an amorphous mass with no real future or past. It all seems to exist in one place and seems to suggest that it is also memory he is talking about, for where else in real life does all time exist in one place except in the human mind
These lines from Little Gidding, bring a new dimension to the concept of circularity of time. It says quite clearly that one can only truly understand when one has come full circle. This dimension is not evident in The Great Gatsby. In the novel though past and present are irrevocably entangled, there is a quality that makes one think we are trying to escape from the past but cannot, especially in the last lines. However, Eliot seems to consider the pull of past on us as something that helps us to understand ourselves and the future more completely. The idea that the past and future are inseparable is brought out clearly in Nick's comparison of the Dutch sailors and Gatsby's vision of a new life. Here too, the idea of rediscovering oneself re asserts itself.
The experience of the Dutch sailors on landing on the Long Island beach for the first time clearly seems to be one of wonder and is filled with a sense of incredible adventure. They had discovered a completely new, untouched virgin country; ".fresh, green breast of the new world."
The discovery is accompanied by a sense of excitement and the promise of new and undiscovered adventure, as is evidenced by Fitzgeralds use of subtle but definite language. He describes the moment with tenderness, bringing out the overwhelming sense of wonder in their landing, with terms like "transitory enchanted moment" and his description of the greatness of their dreams for the future.
The experience is unique because of the sheer newness of the discovery. The sailors had come across an entirely unexplored and unknown territory. Everything here was to be discovered and shaped by them, they had a sense of power and the headiness of it is evident in the language. The paragraphs vibrate with it despite the restrained language. This was not simply a new area; it was a new life and world, something of theirs and theirs alone. It was an experience of hope and was forward looking.
Gatsby's experience on first identifying the light that swung outside Daisy's home must have been, according to Nick, a similar experience in terms of the wonder it created in him. He must have felt the same sense of discovery and also one of hope for the future;
"I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it."
However, this experience is both similar to and widely different from the one ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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