18th June 2017

Language Features

Fitzgerald has a very poetic way of presenting language. He uses the same devices consistently throughout his writing.

1. Select three passages from the book (about a paragraph or two in length) that we have NOT annotated as a class. Annotate these passages and identify the language features that Fitzgerald uses. Explain the effect of these features and why he may have chosen to use them.

2. Fitzgerald uses many allusions throughout the novel. Select one of these allusions and explain the connection between it and the book. Bonus: how can you link it to our theme of “illusion”.


‘Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes.’

  • Pale as death – this is an example of a simile as it compares pale to death which are two similar things.
  • Plunged like weights this is another example of a simile as a weight to plunge would be a likely thing as the are something that is heavy and if you were to throw a weight into water it would plunge into it.
  • Tragically – This is an example of emotive language as the writer wants us to paint an image in our head of how Gatsby really looks in this moment.   


‘Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath.’

  • Minute by Minute – this is an example of repetition. Words are repeated to make a clearer or more precise understanding of the scene taking place.
  • Cheerful – this is an example of emotive language as Fitzgerald would have wanted to make the writer see the cheerful situation.
  • Dissolve and form – This is an example of a juxtaposition as both of these words contrast towards each other and are placed next to each other.


‘The flowers were unnecessary, for at two o’clock a greenhouse arrived from Gatsby’s, with innumerable receptacles to contain it. An hour later the front door opened nervously, and Gatsby, in a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie, hurried in. He was pale, and there were dark signs of sleeplessness beneath his eyes.’

  • A greenhouse arrived – this is an example of a hyperbole, because I doubt Gatsby brought an entire greenhouse into Nicks house.
  • The front door opened nervously – this is an example of personifications the door is given human qualities which is in reality not possible.
  • He was pale, and there were dark signs  – this is an example of a paradox as the first statement is contradicted by the second statement.

Allusion Quote

‘As Gatsby closed the door of “the Merton College Library.”’ 

“Merton college library” recreation is a form of illusion. The fact that the library is a ‘fake’ version of a prestigious place links to the persona Gatsby  has created for himself. The library is full of real books (owl-eyes says so in chapter 3) representing the effort that Gatsby is putting into creating himself. The use of real books could also represent the fact that Gatsby honestly believes in his fantasy persona.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. You have identified the language features in these passages correctly Samantha however you need to develop your answer to the second part of the question:

    Explain the effect of these features and why he may have chosen to use them.


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