Imagery

Many other individual descriptions involve similes and metaphors which are related to the symbols discussed above.

In addition to the spectacles, there are other frequent references to sight and blindness. For example, Nick calls the man in Gatsby's library who later turns up at Gatsby's funeral Owl Eyes, and in the car accident in chapter three Owl Eyes is "blinded by the glare of the headlights", signifying his confusion.

Nick refers metaphorically to his view of events in terms of sight imagery. In chapter six he says:

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now I was looking … through Daisy's eyes. It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment.

While it would be easy enough to go through the novel in a mechanical way finding numerous examples of metaphorical language for their own sake, it is much more useful to concentrate on images that relate to the themes and ideas in the book.

Here are just two of many examples:

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The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house.

This description of Daisy and Jordan in chapter one contains similes that refer to movement. The two figures are so lightweight that they seem to be floating and the imagery here reinforces the idea that the characters live restless, dissatisfied and aimless lives.

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So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The image of rowing a boat against the current signifies both determination to keep hoping for the future and the impossibility of succeeding. It recalls other descriptive passages involving water such as Gatsby, full of hope, stretching out his armstowards the dark waterin chapter one.