The Great Gatsby

Appearance and Disappearance: The Theme of Evanescence in The Great Gatsby College

The Great Gatsby is a novel that has been evaluated by countless critics since its original publication in April of 1925. What makes it such an incredible piece of literature is that it seems to contain endless levels of meaning, and the reader has the ability to delve deep into specific ideas that appear in the text. Countless critics have picked the text apart, thoroughly weighing and discussing various aspects of the novel’s multifaceted components. There is one theme, however, that seems to stand out from all the rest: we see it in the evasive quality of Jay Gatsby, or the vanishing of the obscene word scrawled on Gatsby’s steps at the end of the novel—it’s what gives this book its mysterious, ethereal quality that so many are drawn to. The specific theme is evanescence, or vanishing, and countless scholars have focused on it in their critical works.

One of the ways that select scholars explored the theme of evanescence was through the specific language and text of the novel. It’s important to establish the fact that Fitzgerald chose none of the language or wording in this story randomly. Both A.E. Elmore and James E. Miller, Jr. (an author in Lockridge’s collection of essays) discuss the deep intentionality of Fitzgerald’s...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1137 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8730 literature essays, 2348 sample college application essays, 386 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in