in chapter 1
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The first appearance of Gatsby has a religious solemnity, and Gatsby himself seems almost godlike: Nick speculates that Gatsby has "come out to determine what share of our local heavens [was his]." He is utterly alone, a solitary figure in a posture of mysterious worship. When the reader first sees Gatsby, he is reaching toward the green light something that, by definition, he cannot grasp. In this scene, Fitzgerald wholly sacrifices realism in favor of drama and symbol: the green light stands for the as-yet-nameless object for which Gatsby is hopelessly striving.