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The Great Gatzby:Impressionism


             Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby may be the great American novel, or it may not be. Fitzgerald may have regarded it as a tale of his secret loves and desires, or he may not have; but one thing is certain: The Great Gatsby is an impressionist's novel. It was written by an impressionist, for impressionists. It seems that, in order to enjoy the novel, you must have a tendency, or at least a desire to see the world the way Fitzgerald does. I do not; and so, for me, the book was a failure: was, in fact, an agonizing and tedious, clouded, and confused failure. Nevertheless, I was able to understand why many people would appreciate the novel, and I was also able to respect Fitzgerald's mastery of his chosen descriptive style.
             One of the facets of Fitzgerald's impressionism is an unceasing description of the minute details of a scene. Fitzgerald uses these details for mood and texture, and makes a practice of using details which are relatively unrelated to the action to generate emotions regarding that action. For instance, at the beginning of the book, when Nick Carraway is shown in to the Tom Buchanan's house, Fitzgerald describes the room into which Carraway has just walked as a prelude to introducing Daisy: "We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosy-colored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end."" (12). The descriptors in this sentence apply, literally, only to the room, but it is impossible not to notice that all of them are appropriate for a first impression of Daisy. "Bright-, "rosy-colored-, and "fragile-, or even "fragilely bound- are all accurate, and in fact, are not terribly relevant to the description of a room. .
             Although these seemingly out-of-place adjectives are the norm in The Great Gatsby, there are other examples of the same type of impressionism as well. Just before Nick meets Wolfshiem, he describes his setting as "Roaring noon.


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