Question: Time is an important motif in the novel. Describe the use of time and the effect in these closing chapters.
Time passes very slowly throughout the majority of “The Great Gatsby”. The whole affair passes over several months. This is accentuated with the heat of the day of the Luncheon at Daisy’s house. Daisy speaks about how she doesn’t know what she’ll do today or tomorrow or for the next thirty years. This demonstrates clearly just how long time seems to stretch out. They have all the time in the world and all the money they need. The heat creates an atmosphere of almost creeping anxiety. And then, soon after this time seems to move faster and faster until everything is coalescing at once. Soon they’re fighting in
; Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship falls apart. Myrtle is struck down very quickly, and then New York in horror shoots Gatsby and then himself. This all seems to occur very quickly in the span of one day and night. It is only after the deaths of Gatsby and Myrtle that time seems to stretch on again, the lethargy of death. Time feels empty, like a dream sleep. Daisy and Tom are missing, Wilson is almost a passing thought, and Nick is drifting through the motions of funeral arrangements with no idea what to do. Jordan
Gatsby’s father shows Nick his time table. This shows that Gatsby’s time’s run out. He spent all his life planning and worrying, organizing everything to his perfect ideal, from his work, to Daisy. He moved across the Bay simply to be closer to Daisy. He planned for five years his meeting with her and fretted over it intensely when the day actually arrived. He plans his parties to rise in social status to know people, to become this mystery. He bides his time. Yet when he stops planning, when he reacts and he feels that is when everything falls apart. And it is once he gives up on the ideal of once was, when he finally relaxes and enjoys his money not for the ideal, not to fit the plan, but for himself he is murdered.
As well, age is used to show the passing of time. The day that the corruption of all the characters really begins to blow up in their faces, (the affairs, the excess of money and liquor) that is the day that Nick turns 30. The connotation behind the age of 20 is very free. It is the careless youth, a lifestyle to party and do as you wish. Yet 30 is the end of that. Suddenly, one is really an adult. The expectation is to raise a family, work a good job and have a solid built future. Not the careless youth that once was. This is entirely parallel with what is happening in the story. When Nick turns 30 he is at the last Party that will ever happen again between these characters. After he realizes this things turn to the worse. Myrtle is hit by Daisy in Gatsby’s car and killed, Gatsby is shot by
, and then Wilson kills himself. Tom and Daisy simply disappear with no trace. Nick is left alone. The reckless vapidity of the youth degraded with the passage of time, and the turning of ages. Wilson