What Is The Significance Of Time In The Great Gatsby

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Buddha once said, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment” (Brainyquotes). In other words, if one spends too much time thinking about what happened or what will happen, good or bad, he will miss out on what the present holds out for him. This quote relates to Gatsby’s frequent mindset of trying to recreate his past. F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby, uses symbols to establish the notion of not being able to repeat the past. He uses symbols to represent the passage of time such as the green light, Nick’s clock, and the seasons. Fitzgerald’s underlying message is not to focus on changing the past, but instead to live in the present and to create the future.
In the opening
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Literally. On a symbolic level they mean much more. The word “time” appears 450 times in the novel (Matsuoka). Fitzgerald obviously wants to emphasize the importance of time to the overall scheme of the narrative. Gatsby’s relationship with time plays a major role in the plot. He wants to erase five years from not only his own life, but from Daisy’s as well. In a conversation with Nick, Gatsby insists that he can repeat the past. Gatsby exclaims, “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” (Fitzgerald, 116). This is symbolic of the irony behind Gatsby’s fate. Gatsby cannot accept Daisy unless she meets his demand to erase the last three years of her life by telling Tom that she never loved him. Gatsby tries to convince himself that Daisy loves Gatsby, not Tom, almost desperately so. Fitzgerald uses a great deal of symbolism in the scene when Daisy and Gatsby meet for the first time in five years. As Nick enters the room where Daisy and Gatsby have just met, Gatsby is leaning nervously against the mantelpiece while resting his head on the clock on top of the mantle. At an awkward pause in the conversation, the clock starts to tip as if to fall off the mantle. Gatsby dramatically catches the clock before it falls. Nick narrates, “I think we all believed for a moment that it had smashed in pieces on the floor” (Fitzgerald, 87). The clock symbolizes time, and Gatsby’s head resting on it exemplifies Gatsby’s emphasis on …show more content…
This season coincides with Gatsby’s prodigal, over-the-top parties, which occur throughout the spring and summer. Summer symbolizes the relationship and the seeming fulfillment of Gatsby’s dream to be reunited with Daisy. The summer ends and transitions to fall, which, as we know, is the season when plants and leaves begin to die, and life seems to come to an end. In chapter 9, a servant informs Gatsby, “‘I’m going to drain the pool today, Mr. Gatsby. Leaves’ll start falling pretty soon’… ‘Don’t do it to-day,’ Gatsby answered” (Fitzgerald, 153). The symbol of the fall season reflects the end of Gatsby’s relationship and the end of hope for a future with Daisy. Tom has regained Daisy’s love and they have moved on as a couple. This quote serves as an analogy to Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship. As the quote suggests, it is too cold to go swimming in the fall, but Gatsby says that he has not used his pool all summer, and he wants to swim today despite the less-than-ideal weather. He wants to pretend it is summer and repeat the past instead of moving on to the future of fall and winter. It is yet another symbolic attempt for Gatsby to stop time and restore his relationship with Daisy to the way it was five years before. During autumn, the leaves fall and nature starts to die. In this symbolic season of death, the symbol is ironically kept alive by Gatsby’s

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