Symbolism Of Weather In The Great Gatsby

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While reading The Great Gatsby, the weather can go unnoticed when being associated with the emotional tone of the story. Fitzgerald uses many symbols throughout the book and there are many examples of very simple things that have a deeper meaning. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, the symbol of weather, which represents, the emotional tone of the story, enhances the readers’ understanding and appreciation for the text.

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The downpour of rain present when Daisy is on her way to see Gatsby represents their faded relationship. In Chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby, the rain first symbolizes the tension between Gatsby and Daisy when they are reunited. Gatsby arrives at Nick’s place, tense and worried. Once Daisy finally arrives, Nick leaves them both to talk. The settling of the rain also represents Gatsby’s rise in confidence. ‘But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room’. This quote was said by Nick talking about the dramatic change in Gatsby and serves as a turning point in the novel because Gatsby experiences a change in character from being on edge and unhappy, to being very joyous and lighthearted. The clearing of the rain also shows the clearing of tension and sadness from Daisy and Gatsby’s past. This whole meeting changed Gatsby because he finally achieved his dream of having Daisy in his life again.

In chapter 7 of the novel, the heat provides the reader with a sense of increased tension between Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship. This chapter is a crucial point in the story in which everyone seems so antsy and uncomfortable. Tom knows about Daisy and Gatsby which indicates a climax in the relationship. Everything starts to get heated between the three. Daisy can be seen in an uncomfortable state due to the heat in this quote: “But it’s so hot, insisted Daisy, on the verge of tears”. Daisy tries to cool off and no matter what she does, she can’t. Throughout the chapter, Daisy is scrambling to cool down by sitting in the breeze of the fans and asking Jordan to open a window. The heat shows the inescapable conflict that is going to occur between Gatsby and Tom, and Daisy realizes at last what she was doing.

Towards the end of the novel, temperatures start to fall. The cold indicates the end of Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship. During the fall, the leaves on the trees change and plant life begin to wither away as winter approaches. This relates to the idea of Gatsby’s dream of becoming Daisy’s husband and living out his fantasies is no longer a possibility and as if his relationship with Daisy has gone “cold” yet again. One of Gatsby’s workers calls to him and says: “I’m going to drain the pool today Mr. Gatsby. Leaves’ll start falling pretty soon”. While waiting for a call from Daisy, Gatsby requests for one last swim before the end of summer. This last swim represents his final hopes of still having a chance with Daisy.

The extensive use of weather symbols not only enriches the emotional tone of the story but also reveals simple things that have a deeper meaning. Weather used in The Great Gatsby matches the emotional and narrative tone throughout Fitzgerald’s novel. Weather plays a big and important role within The Great Gatsby and is one of the most important symbols in the story. This symbolism underlines turning points, moods, and feelings of the characters.  

16 August 2021

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