The Great Gatsby

The significance of the end of Chapter 1 of "The Great Gatsby"

Luminosity and spiritual longing for something that had vanished a long ago are probably the two main characteristics of the last two paragraphs in Chapter 1 of “The Great Gatsby”. The scene takes place shortly after Nick's return from dinner at Tom and Daisy's and is set in Nick's small garden, close to Jay Gatsby's mansion. It is then that Nick sees Gatsby for the first time, despite of the fact that he had heard so much about him before; that very first meeting is not quite as he expected, as he sees Gatsby from a completely different perspective than most people who would consider Gatsby to be a good acquaintance of theirs. Those last paragraphs illustrate Gatsby's real nature, as well as how the scene affected Nick's perception of Gatsby. Yet, in spite of the emotive mood, Nick is only describing the factual situation, not attaching any judgements to it just yet; the readers are the ones supposed to interpret Gatsby's behaviour.

The image that dominates the scene is one of light and the visibly strong contrast between brightness and darkness. At first, the surroundings seem to be darkened by the “deep summer” night, but the references to “pools of light” and in fact, a “bright night” itself,...

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