Deadly Divergence: A commentary on the car motif in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"

Essay by sillycanuckHigh School, 11th grade June 2006

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(This commentary focuses on passages taken from pages 36-39, 73-81 and 121-122)

In "The Great Gatsby" there is a continuous feeling of motion. Whether it is the oblivion of time at the numerous parties portraying a whirlwind of activity, or the literal transporting from place to place, it is evident that this book is about constant, non-stop action. Fitzgerald goes about developing this feeling via incorporating numerous car scenes, which in turn shapes into a main motif. All throughout the book cars are used to reveal the underlying corruption of the story and ultimately the deadly effects that the divergences of the characters' relations come to have.

Fitzgerald introduces this motif early off in the book by surfacing the primary and most corrupt affair of them all. She kicks off the motion vibe by placing Tom and Nick on a train early in the second chapter, and works in the corruption of it all by first having Tom explain to Nick that they are on their way to meet Tom's "girl".

The setting then plays a huge part in the reader's understanding of what's going on, as the author describes the location of where the men got off the train as being the "Valley of Ashes". But furthermore, it is established that Tom's lady friend lives somewhere within that valley, the valley of bareness and death as the imagery indicates, and also at a car shop, "...the third was a garage-Repairs. George B. Wilson. Cars Bought and Sold-..." (36) This scene is crucial to the development and understanding of the car motif as it is a connotation of cars to corrupt relationships which are a result of diverging marriages. And lastly, there is a great significance of all this happening right in the heart of the Valley of Ashes, as...