The Great Gatsby

Topics: The Great Gatsby, Syntax, Linguistics Pages: 1 (389 words) Published: April 3, 2015
 The Great Gatsby: a linguopoetic analysis of extract 1, chapter 1.

While reading the given extract for the first time, we may think that it is just the description of landscape. Nick Carraway is describing the area where he lives, calling it “one of the strangest communities in North America”. To support this idea of strangeness he uses a number of lexical means and synonyms. Thus, he defines the island as “slender” and “riotous”, attributes that are normally used in connection with some animate objects (slender girl, riotous people). This word-combination “slender riotous island” becomes stylistically marked and creates a very vivid image of this place.

The two “unusual formations of land” - “enormous eggs” are separated by a “courtesy bay” and this is where the idea of contrast comes to the fore. We understand that this extract is not just a landscape description, but also a comparison of two different worlds. These two formations are identical in shape, but are absolutely different in every other aspect, so the contrast is of a social kind. And the loose compound “courtesy bay” is served to emphasize this contrast. The bay is “courtesy” because it is granted for a free use by courtesy of millionaires living at East Egg. This is a perfect example of Nick Carraway’s irony. Nick uses a kind of understatement when he says that West Egg, the one where he lives, is “the less fashionable of the two”. Thus, grammatical means, comparative degree in this case, as well as lexical means, help him to point to the contrast indirectly.

Another contrast that strikes the eye of the reader is between Nick’s house, “an eye-sore”, and “a colossal affair” that is Gatsby’s mansion. The syntax that he uses when describing the mansion is very complex and elaborate, just like the mansion itself.

The last phrase in the extract – “all for eighty dollars a month” – meaning that he lives in “the consoling proximity of millionaires” and enjoys a beautiful...
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