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Foreshadowing and Flashbacks in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

In Fitzgerald’s timeless novel The Great Gatsby, the writing

techniques of foreshadowing and flashbacks are carefully used to enhance and

strengthen the story. ” ‘Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself.’

‘I hope I never will,’ she [Jordan] answered. ‘I hate careless people. That’s why I like you.’ ”

(Fitzgerald, pg. 63) Jordan is explaining to Nick how she is able to drive badly as

long as everyone else drives carefully. This quote represents the writing technique of

foreshadowing, which is being used in one of its finest form. Fitzgerald is

foreshadowing to chapter seven where Daisy kills Myrtle Wilson because of her reckless

driving. Fitzgerald uses foreshadowing to strengthen the plot of his book. In chapter

nine, Nick begins to recall the past and relive his old memories. His must relieve his

lingering thoughts of the past. During the chapter, Nick uses a flashback to tell about

Gatsby’s funeral for the readers to know what happen the day Gatsby was shot. Flashback

in The Great Gatsby also helps to give the reader background information about the

characters. In The Great Gatsby, the structure of the novel is influenced by

foreshadowing and flashback.

Fitzgerald utilizes foreshadowing to the best of its ability to help organize

the novel. “Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of

his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back in

place. ‘I’m sorry about the clock,’ he said. ‘It’s an old clock,’ I told him

idiotically.” (Fitzgerald, pg. 92) This quote is the first use of foreshadowing which

is in chapter five. It pertains to all of the trouble Gatsby causes as he tries to win

Daisy back. The past is represented by the clock and how Gatsby wants to repeat it with

Daisy. (Eble, pg. 963) This quote foreshadows to the end of the novel when Nick is left

to tell the story of the dreamer whose dreams were corrupted.

(Eble, pg. 963) “they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into

their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and

let other people clean up the mess they had made.” (Fitzgerald, pg. 188) In chapter

Free Great Gatsby Essays: Reflection of an Era

The Great Gatsby – Reflection of an Era

During the 1920’s America was a country of great ambition, despair and disappointment. The novel The Great Gatsby is a reflection of this decade, it illustrates the burning passion one man has toward his “American Dream” and the different aspects of the dream. Fitzgerald’s work is a reflection of America during his lifetime. The Great Gatsby shows the ambition of one man’s reach for his “American Dream,” the disappointment of losing this dream and the despair of his loss.

In the 1920’s the spirit and ambition of the American people soared. Unlike their European counterparts who were trapped in the social class to which they were born, the American people knew that if they worked hard then they could rise to a higher social class. The flappers and the women’s liberation movement were just two examples of how Americans expressed their newly discovered social freedom. It seemed that nothing was impossible to achieve. James Gatz, shared the spirit and ambition on the American people and fought long and hard to earn his place in the world. He had dreamed of transforming himself from the poor, young man that he was into the wealthy celebrity that he would soon become.

Gatsby, as a child, had a daily schedule that he followed. He knew from childhood that he had to work for his fame. “Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something” (175). Gatsby’s ambition lay not only in his future, but as he grew older it would be found in his love. He had an obsession with Daisy Buchanan and tried everything in his power to bring things back to they way they used to be when they first met. He thought he could relive the past. He threw lavish parties to get her attention. He did everything in his power to be near her. ” ‘Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay’ ” (79) He earned his wealth so that they could finally be together.

Like Gatsby, the American people of the 1920’s followed their hearts, and their ambition. Through World War One, American men fought to save their country and woman fought to win the right to vote. Even in fashion women were liberated, as the hemline on an average skirt was raised.

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