language, punctuation, and key ideas and phrases. Includes detailed analysis of two lengthy passages.
One of the simplest yet most profound reasons The Great Gatsby is considered an American classic is its use of language, The beginning and ending passages of the novel clearly illustrate the way Fitzgerald creates a uniquely American expression.
The beginning of the novel sets the bar immediately, as Fitzgerald speaks with Nick’s voice, a “typical Midwesterner” with, one would assume, a typically Midwestern accent:
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
He didn't say any more, but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I'm inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men.
Most of the confidences were unsought – frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. (5-6)
One of the first features that stands out in this passage is Nick’s almost conversational tone. Fitzgerald freely uses contractions and independent clauses separated by commas and articles like “and so” and...