o The clock
§ “Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back in place” (Fitzgerald 86). This scene demonstrates the awkwardness in the room due to the fact Gatsby and Daisy have not seen each for some time and are ex-lovers. The falling of the clock symbolizes Gatsby’s obsession with the past. Gatsby’s nervousness also ties into what the clock represents. He is nervous about whether or not Daisy’s feelings for him have changed with time.
§ “The day agreed upon was pouring rain” (Fitzgerald 83). The rain serves as a setback both realistically and symbolically.
§ Realistically, the rain is a possibility to interfere with cutting Nick’s lawn and planting the new, fresh flowers.
§ Symbolically, the rain is a sign of a bad omen and for “washing” Gatsby’s and Daisy’s past (a clean start).
§ When Nick is in the room with Gatsby and Daisy, the atmosphere is tense and it is raining. “After half an hour, the sun shone again…” (Fitzgerald 88). The clearing of the rain symbolizes the possible positivity in Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship. Towards the end of the chapter, however, it is raining once again. “Then I went out of the room and down the marble steps into the rain, leaving them there together” (Fitzgerald 96). This foreshadows the conflict to come.
o The green light at the end of the dock
§ “Possible it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever” (Fitzgerald 93). The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock had been a symbol of hope for Gatsby.
§ On one hand, Gatsby is enlightened due to the fact he finally has Daisy again and she accepts him. Therefore, the green light will not serve as a constant reminder of what he does not have anymore.
§ On the other hand, the green light had become so strongly associated with Daisy; in a sense it was stronger than Gatsby and Daisy’s current relationship. If Gatsby were to look at the light now, he would not experience the same feeling of joy as he would have when he knew Daisy was right next to the light.
§ Time serves as a reminder to Gatsby of what could have been. Gatsby’s obsession with reliving the past is what drives his whole life and his motives, from moving all the way to Long Island to throwing extravagant parties. Gatsby hopes to make the past his future.
§ Weather corresponds directly to the events taking place. When events unfold in a positive manner, the weather is sunny and pleasant. When events seem to have reached a setback or may turn into conflict, the weather is typically rainy.
§ Gatsby is blind to the fact that one cannot relive the past. His longing for Daisy blinds him of the consequences of his actions. Daisy, in this chapter, is also blind to the possible outcomes of reliving the past or simple being with Gatsby. Whether both Gatsby and Daisy are blind to these facts or simply do not mind the consequences can be debatable.
o Reality is in constant flux (tenet of modernism)
§ Daisy’s reunion with Gatsby creates a dream-like scenario for him. Gatsby is literally living in a fantasy. He has all the money he could care for and the girl of his dreams. Even Nick questions Gatsby’s overenthusiasm to his reunion with Daisy. “There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams-not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion” (Fitzgerald 95). Gatsby has hyped up his possible experiences with Daisy to a point where they are not living up to his expectations. Gatsby is temporarily brought back into reality, before entering his fantasy again later in the chapter.
o Haves vs. have-nots
§ Daisy represents more than a love interest to Gatsby. She represents wealth, or “old money.” No matter how hard he tries, Gatsby cannot persuade himself that he is in the same social class as Daisy. Gatsby claims to have inherited his money, yet he resides in West Egg. Daisy could be a reason as to why he wishes to “fit in” with a higher social class.
· Rain is a recurrent symbol.
· Gatsby appears obstinate about not leaving the past.
· “As I went to say good-by I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness” (Fitzgerald 95).
· In this chapter, the reader witnesses a new side of Gatsby, one that has lost its formality and seen as clumsy, or even childish. Discuss the effect this new characterization of Gatsby has on the reader. What might this lend to the reader to believe about Gatsby as a whole?