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The Great Gatsby Case

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The Great Gatsby Case

Sattawat Kosasih

Miss Brook Tanner

Language and Literature

1 May 2014

How does Fitzgerald use weather to affect the mood of situations?

        In this novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ written by Fitzgerald, there are several moments where the motif weather ‘establishes’ several moods and follows the emotion of the characters in the novel. Firstly, heat symbolizes a rising conflict and problem in this novel. As the story progresses, heat rises tension between characters. The quote “The next day was broiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest, of the summer” (p.120) portrays Tom Buchanan’s confrontation on Gatsby. Tom achieves this by raising the tension by confronting Gatsby’s education in Oxford in front of Daisy in order to prove Daisy that Gatsby was fabricating his background in the hope to restore Daisy’s and Gatsby’s relationship. Moreover, the ‘heat’ represents the intensity of the situation, as the weather was extremely warm on that particular day, the issue between Gatsby and Tom escalated significantly. Consequently, the beginning of the novel begins with summer, but towards the end of the novel, the season shifts to fall. The quote “The touch of a cluster of leaves revolved slowly, tracing, like the leg of a compass, a thin red circle in the water” (p.170) depicts Gatsby death. Fall is exactly when dead leaves fall of trees, which shows a sign of an ‘end’. Here, Gatsby dies in autumn showing that his death corresponds accordingly to the current weather and season. The season fall sets the tone and emotion of his death, which is seen through the fallen leaves in the ‘red circle’ of the pool. Rain is used to reflect the tone of certain scenes but also gives a sense of ‘cleansing’ that can be seen as hopeful that Gatsby was in fact a good person who died tragically. The quote “ After Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond the eyes’ power of correction.” (p.176) proves this point. The rain at Gatsby’s funeral not only gives a more depressing tone but also gives a sense of ‘purification’ to Gatsby. By simply calling Gatsby ‘blessed’ or ‘holy’, it is like the rain is ‘cleansing’ him which can be compared to a baptism which gives an ‘awkward’ sense of hopefulness to the reader while keeping the tone gloomy. In brief, the heat connoting to the tension between the characters, the shift in seasons, as well as the rain symbolizing melancholy determines several moods and follows the emotion of the characters revealed in the novel.

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