The Great Gatsby Essays
The Great Gatsby Essays
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The Great Gatsby Essays Sample
The Great Gatsby is clocked on fast time, and not only is time speeded up but also space. "It was nine o'clock--almost immediately afterward I looked at my watch and found it was ten." The fall of the earth into the sun is averted by Tom's injected "wait a minute," and that "theoretical pause defines what is for him an impossibility, a contradiction of his dynamic forward nature. Gatsby, that "overwound clock," cannot wait even for Daisy: "I can't wait all day." No Wasting Time was one of his resolves when as a boy he plotted how to mend the clock to make the most of time, but his time-schedule ironically he recorded on the fly-leaf of Hopalong Cassidy! Time cannot stop Gatsby; he cannot be arrested, though a frantic policeman attempts to arrest him, only to apologize for not recognizing who the great Gatsby really is. "Excuse me!" The rushing-time flow of the narrative gets arrested only momentarily here and there, as when Myrtle peers out of her garage window and "one emotion after another crept into her face like objects in a slowly developing picture." And space (only in McKee's photographs is space fixed) leaps likewise its boundaries. "The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile [as though the lawn were Tom himself as Yale football-end racing for the goal line], jumping over sundials and brick walls and burning gardens--finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of its run." So fresh is this grass that it climbs impertinently into Buchanan's house, and "just as things grow in fast movies," so the leaves burst hurriedly on the Buchanan trees. On the broiling afternoon of the crack-up the confused time witnesses a silver curve of moon hovering "already in the western sky." This breach in nature exemplifies the book's theme of the breach in time, and a parallel sign of nature's disorder is the premature moon shining in the afternoon sky at Gatsby's July party, a wafer of a moon. The sunset glows upon Buchanan's porch, but there are four prematurely lighted candles. "'Why candles?' objected Daisy, frowning. She snapped them out with her fingers." Daisy thereby identifies herself with Day, in opposition to Night. "I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it."
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