Rhetorical Devices In The Great Gatsby Essay

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The following essay will explore the use and efficiency of rhetoric in the literary context of a novel. Through this analysis, I will try to encompass rhetorical aspects that have been employed to create a great masterpiece of literature such as Fitzgerald’s work “The Great Gatsby”; the piece will be analyzed through the observation of rhetorical mechanisms such as Burke’s pentad, his concept of identification, the use of symbolism and the role of language. Although we often perceive a piece of literature as simply developed for its entertaining intent, we can observe that behind literary classics such as this one there is much more than the sole purpose of captivating the audience with a romantic story. Hopefully, by the end of this essay, …show more content…
To understand the real motive behind the development of this piece we have to acknowledge the context from which Fitzgerald came. At the time that he wrote this novel he found himself in a country and era marked by incredible prosperity and superfluous consume, which led to a loss of moral and social values replaced by an obsession toward money, social status and empty pleasure. The loss of values that he saw and experienced throughout these years brought him to question the whole integrity of America and dread the disappearance of the American Dream, that to his eyes was what really shaped this country. It is through the analysis of this component of the pentad that we can understand the real motive behind “The Great Gatsby”: through this book, Fitzgerald wanted to portray what America was turning into and bring people together toward fighting this loss of values. It can be said that Fitzgerald succeeded in his intent, bringing in fact people together for decades through his novel; through the use of symbolisms and commonalities, creating a strong relation to the audience as it has been observed throughout this analysis, he engaged once again in Burke’s notion of identification. According to this concept, rhetoric is the bond that keeps humanity together, the “antidote for our alienation from one another” (Herrick, 210); and we can see this notion at work within the …show more content…
Fitzgerald use of language is in fact quite outstanding, being able to present an accurate description of the era, the culture and the people without ever loosing the interest of the audience. Certainly, reading the book nowadays has a strong poetic effect on the reader that finds himself wandering through the excesses of the twenties, but the author is able to develop so much more than a simple sense of wonder. One can observe that the most thorough descriptions lead us to the main symbols of the novel, indeed his use of symbolism really opens a window on the meaning of the story. Beginning with the geography we can observe that the book has three main settings: East Egg, West Egg and the Valley of Ashes. While the first one represents the old aristocracy, the second one is the home to the newly rich, and in between of these is located the Valley of Ashes, a representation of the moral decay that ties these two “worlds” together. However, the notorious mansion of Gatsby is separated by the one of his lovely romance by water, one facing the other, where Gatsby often finds himself wandering while looking at the green light on the dock of the Buchanan’s estate. This green light is certainly the most important symbol included in the novel, and we can see the great rhetorical use that Fitzgerald makes of such. Because of its importance, a significant

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