Literary Terms: The Great Gatsby (Condensed)

Adage ( a word for a proverb or a maxim; a fundamental principle) (speaker: Nick) “Remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”
Adynation (a figure of speech related to hyperbole that emphasizes the inexpressibility of some thing, idea, or feeling, either by stating that words cannot describe it, or by comparing it with something the dimensions of which cannot be grasped) (speaker: Daisy): “p-paralyzed with happiness”; “absolute rose”; “always look(ed) so cool”; “resemble(s) (an) advertisement of (a) man”;
Agon (contest or dispute between two characters as a part of the action, usually in the sense of a debate) Climax @ Plaza Hotel (fight over Daisy)
Allegory (a story or visual image with a second distinct meaning partially hidden behind its visible or literal meaning) Green Light
Alliteration (repetition of the initial (usually consonant) sound “…Cream-colored chiffon…” ; “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Allusion (An indirect or passing reference to some point, event person, place, or artistic work, the nature or relevance of which is not explained by the writer, but relies on the reader’s familiarity with what is thus mentioned) “shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew”; “bore an absurd resemblance to John D. Rockefeller” ; “scenes of ladies swinging in the gardens of Versailles”
Ambiguity (openness to different interpretations, or an instance where use of language may be understood in various ways) “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.”
Analepsis (story events are recounted after they occurred, commonly called a flashback, it provides information that allows the reader to fill in information ban out characters or events (flashback or flash forward) ) Jordan tells Nick the story of Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship when they met in 1917 from her perspective in the middle of the story.
Anagnorisis (the Greek word for recognition or discovery, used by Aristotle to denote the turning point in a drama at which a character recognizes the true state of his affairs, having previously been in error or ignorance) When Daisy finds out Gatsby has not made his money justly
Angst (Denotes a state of anguish that we feel as we are confronted by the burden of our freedom and the accompanying responsibility to impose values and meanings on an “absurd value”) “he could climb to it, if he climbed alone” ; “his mind would never romp again like the mind of God”
Antagonist (most prominent opposition to the protagonist) Tom = antagonist 4 Gatsby
Gnomic (characterized by the expression of popular wisdom in the condensed form of proverbs or aphorisms, also known as gnomes) “Blessed are the dead that the rain falls on” ; Since most dead do not experience rain, Gatsby is blessed because he experiences rain after he dies. Owl Eyes says this at Gatsby’s funeral. It is significant because it adds to the fact that nobody showed up to Gatsby’s funeral. The rain represents the sadness in gatsby’s life.
Hubris (Excessive pride that leads to the downfall of a character) Tom (has excessive pride yet no downfall; Fitzgerald does this on purpose 2 state that the rich are free from their moral flaws and implications of actions)
Irony (A subtly humorous perception of inconsistency) “portentous chords of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March from the ballroom below”
Myth criticism (regards literary works as expressions or embodiments of recurrent mythic patterns and structures) American dream
Narration (the process of relating a sequence of events) Nick (as a biased, unreliable narrator)
Nemesis (punishment for wrongdoing) Tom’s unhappy marriage and the fact that he never got a divorce is his punishment for being a sour human being and not thinking his actions through, especially when aimed towards Gatsby
Obiter dicta (the Latin phrase ‘things said in passing’ used to refer to table-talkDaisy’s conversations) Daisy’s conversations @ the dinner table when Tom is talking to his mistress on the phone ; “rose, an absolute rose”
Occupatio (a rhetorical device by which a speaker emphasizes something by pretending to pass over it) related 2 obiter dicta; daisy’s pseudo-ignorance about the affair between her husband and myrtle – use “beautiful little fool” scene
Affective: pertaining to emotional effects of disposition (known in psychology as affects) During the story Nicks portrayal of Gatsby influences the audience to feel empathy for Gatsby’s hard life. One specific point would be during the confrontation when Gatsby loses Daisy for good; Gatsby’s loss is relatable
Panegyric (a public speech or written composition devoted to the prolonged praise of some person) Rumors told about Gatsby ; Wolfsheim’s praise of Gatsby: “I made the pleasure of his acquaintance just after the war. But I knew I had discovered a man of fine breeding after I talked with him an hour. I said to myself: ‘There’s the kind of man you’d like to take home and introduce to your mother and sister.”
Peripeteia (a sudden reversal of a character’s circumstances and fortunes, usually involving the downfall of the protagonist in a tragedy) When Gatsby is murdered
Protagonist (the chief character in a story) Nick/Gatsby (depending on how you argue it)
Raisonneur (A character in a play who appears to act as a mouthpiece for the opinions of the play’s authors) Nick; serves as a mouthpiece for Fitzgerald’s anti-semitism
Romance (A tendency in fiction opposite to that of realism) Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship is obviously very romantic yet very complicated. But, it completely goes against realism. The idea of falling in love with and even seeing your old high school sweetheart again is completely irrational and is highly unlikely to happen, which is why, in some ways, Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship is highly illogical to happen in real life, therefore making it fairytale-like and less believable.
Scenario (A brief outline of the plot, characters, and scene-changes of a play; or the script of a film) These words in the beginning set-up the rest of the novel. With Nick quoting his father, it denotes how Nick thinks for the rest of the novel. By him saying that you should not criticize somebody because they haven’t had the same advantages, he is going against the Marxist thought of wealth. For example he thinks that just because they are poor, doesn’t mean that you should be rude to them; however, this goes against what most people think at the time, which makes him stick out as a more honest person.
Sensibility (a kind of sensitivity or responsiveness that is both aesthetic and moral, showing a capacity to feel both for others’ sorrows and for beauty) Nick describes Gatsby’s smile as one of those “rare smiles” that brings reassurance. This unique smile makes Nick felt like he is believed in by Gatsby due to Gatsby’s seemingly great care for Nick whenever he first talks to him.
Sibilance (The marketed recurrence of the hissing sounds known as sibilants) “Sound was a triangle of silver scales”; This scene is described by people dancing around, and the use of these words add a type of music to the text
Simile (An explicit comparison between two different things, actions, or feelings, using the words ‘as’ or ‘like’) “the middle-west now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe”; completely arbitrary concept 4 Nick. However, it can also have a comparison with something that is expanding, or can have one with a meaningless entity, as the edge of the universe is sometimes portrayed. These interpretations are what make the simile important in this novel, as they convey many of the analytical meanings that arise from the novel, and show us the true insight into the books purpose.
Socratic (feigning ignorance in order to expose the self-contradictions of his interlocutors through cross-examination) “… reserve all judgements … curious personalities towards me.” ; This is important for the novel as a whole because it introduces the narrator in a way that gives off a lot of his personality and reasoning for why he is even involved in this book in the first place. Nick claims to be socratic in this passage, claiming that he knew nothing and staying silent to let others show their own faults to him. That gives rise to many of the contradictions and the false impressions in the book, and is how Fitzgerald introduces the concepts of false identities to people throughout the entire novel. The fact that Nick claims to have a socratic is a extremely crucial point in the development of the novel as a whole, and gives way to the plot of the entire work.
Solecism (A grammatical error; or, more loosely, any mistake that exposes the perpetrator’s ignorance) ” Tell ’em all Daisy’s change’ her mine.” ; At this point in the story, Jordan is recalling the day when Daisy got Gatsby’s letter and wanted to call off the wedding. Daisy was drunk whenever she cried out to Jordan to take back the pearls, and she was mentally confused because of the letter that she just got from Gatsby. Fitzgerald uses solecism in this case, to emphasize the confusion that Daisy was feeling and how she didn’t care about her speech, but rather she was in pain because of her internal conflict.
Squib (A short satirical attack upon a person, work, or institution “Well, he certainly must have strained himself to get this menagerie together.'” the characters in the novel are extremely judgemental and irritable people, and many of them consistently use squibs upon other people not only to reveal the faults in the people that they attack, but also to show the faults of the person themselves. Many squibs showcase faults of the person speaking, and cause much of the contradictions that appear throughout the novel. Not only that, but squibs can also be viewed as a catalyst for much of the action to be portrayed in the novel, foreshadowing future aggression, and shows the authors views on a character and his or her intent.

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