Grea Essay, Research Paper
Foreshadowing and Flashback Two Writing Techniques That Make Fitzgerald A Great Writer by Jonathan Werne ” ‘Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself.’ ‘I hope I neverwill,’ 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 aslong as everyone else drives carefully. This quote represents the writing technique of foreshadowing, which is being used in one of its finest form. Fitzgerald isforeshadowing to chapter seven where Daisy kills Myrtle Wilson because of her recklessdriving. Fitzgerald uses foreshadowing to strengthen the plot of his book. In chapternine, Nick begins to recall the past and relive his old memories. His must relieve hislingering thoughts of the past. During the chapter, Nick uses a flashback to tell aboutGatsby’s funeral for the readers to know what happen the day Gatsby was shot. Flashbackin The Great Gatsby also helps to give the reader background information about thecharacters. In The Great Gatsby, the structure of the novel is influenced byforeshadowing and flashback. Fitzgerald utilizes foreshadowing to the best of its ability to help organizethe novel. “Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure ofhis head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back inplace. ‘I’m sorry about the clock,’ he said. ‘It’s an old clock,’ I told himidiotically.” (Fitzgerald, pg. 92) This quote is the first use of foreshadowing whichis in chapter five. It pertains to all of the trouble Gatsby causes as he tries to winDaisy back. The past is represented by the clock and how Gatsby wants to repeat it withDaisy. (Eble, pg. 963) This quote foreshadows to the end of the novel when Nick is leftto tell the story of the dreamer whose dreams were corrupted. (Eble, pg. 963) “they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back intotheir money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, andlet other people clean up the mess they had made.” (Fitzgerald, pg. 188) In chaptersix, Fitzgerald focuses on the first moment of disillusionment which Gatsby has.(Magill, pg. 90) ” ‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course youcan!’ ” (Fitzgerald, pg. 116) This quote is clearly foreshadowing almost the entirebook. It foreshadows Gatsby’s attempts to woe Daisy for Tom and tries to make thingsthe way they were before he left for the army . It also alludes to the fact that hemust be rich and powerful to do that. Overall, it shows that he destroys himself tryingto get Daisy back from Tom Buchanan. In the beginning of chapter eight Fitzgeraldforeshadows the death of Gatsby. “I couldn’t sleep all night; a fog-horn was groaningincessantly on the Sound, and I tossed half sick between grotesque reality and savagefrightening dreams. I heard a taxi go up Gatsby’s drive and immediately I jumped out ofbed and began to dress- I felt that I had something to tell him, something to warn himabout and morning would be too late.” (Fitzgerald, pg.154) This quote definitely foreshadows the death of Gatsby. Fitzgerald also foreshadows Wilson’s involvement when his wife died. ” ‘He murderedher.’ ‘It was an accident, George.’ Wilson shook his head. His eyes narrowed and his
mouth widened slightly with the ghost of superior ‘Hm!’ ” (Fitzgerald, pg. 166) Thisquote clearly tells the readers that George is not going to let the person who he thinkskilled his wife get away with it. Foreshadowing is sparingly displayed though out thenovel and especially in the last chapters. Flashback is used quite often in The Great Gatsby. Jordan begins to rememberwhen she met Gatsby with Daisy for the first time and how they were in love. “OneOctober day in nineteen- seventeen…..The largest of the banners and the largest of thelawns belonged to Daisy Fay’s house. She was just eighteen….His name was Jay Gatsbyand I didn’t lay eyes on him again for over four years.” (Fitzgerald, pg. 80) As thereader can clearly see, Jordan begins to narrate about the first and last time that shesaw Gatsby with Daisy which was four years ago. In chapter eight, Nick flashes back tothe night of Myrtle’s death and begins to tell the story of what went on after herdeath. “Now I want to go back a little and tell what happened at the garage after weleft there the night before.” (Fitzgerald, pg. 163) Nick tells the reader about howWilson thought he had figured out who had killed his wife. Nick follows step by step ashe walks all the way to Tom Buchanan’s. Nick then describes Wilson killing Gatsby inthe pool and then Wilson killing himself. In chapter nine, another flashback is told by Nick. Nick recalls the night ofGatsby’s death, and the next day, when all the policemen were at Gatsby’s house. “After two years I remember the rest of that day, and that night and the next day, onlyas an endless drill of police and photographers and newspaper men in and out of Gatsby’sfront door.” (Fitzgerald, pg.171) Nick then proceeds into another flashback where he istrying to get people to come to Gatsby’s funeral. During this flashback Nick finallymeets Gatsby’s father, Mr. Gatz, who came to his son’s funeral. “Next morning I sentthe butler to New York with a letter to Wolfshiem which asked for information and urgedhim to come out on the next train. [for Gatsby's funeral]…When the butler brought backWolfshiem’s answer I began to have a feeling of defiance…..The third day that atelegram signed Henry C. Gatz arrived from a town in Minnesota…It was Gatsby’sfather.” (Fitzgerald, pg. 175) In the last sentence of the novel the reader realizesthe story is being told as seen through the eyes of a Dutch sailor which transports thereader into the past. (Magill, pg. 91) “Boats against the current, borne backceaselessly into the past.” (Fitzgerald, pg. 189) As one can see, the book came to life through the use of flashback andforeshadowing. These two main ingredients in this novel made it possible for the readerto be able to understand Gatsby the way Fitzgerald does. It also helps one tounderstand Gatsby’s relentless pursuit of the American dream. These two elements of thenovel were weaved into a great book that was read and adored by millions of readers andschool students.
Eble, Kenneth. F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc. 1963Magill, Frank N. “Fitzgerald, F. Scott.” Critical Survey of Long Fiction. Ed. FrankN. Magill. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1983. 953-967. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1925.