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The significance of flashbacks in the novel, The Great Gatsby

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A character's attempt to recapture or reject the past is an important aspect in many novels, plays and poems. Choose a work in which a character views the past with such feelings a reverence, bitterness, or longing. Reveal how the character's view of the past is used to develop a theme in the work. In literature, memories of the past are often used to convey a character's inner beliefs and values. The character's attempt to recapture or even to reject the past suggests his or her true emotions such as reverence, bitterness, and longing. In The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, issues regarding the past are closely tied to Jay Gatsby's character as he both longs for past and yet runs away from it. The past that he attempts to revive throughout the novel is the one he once shared with Daisy, who is the love of his life. Gatsby's desire to have his relationship with Daisy reignited has led him to chase after the past. ...read more.


Gatsby was not only able to erase his wealth less past from his own name, but also to hide it from the face of society. Throughout the novel, Gatsby's true identity was left anonymous and nobody knew who he actually was and how he earned his fortune. This is supported by the mysterious tone in the voices of the people when discussing Gatsby's past. "I heard that from a man who knew all about him, grew up with him in Germany,"... "Oh, no," said the first girl, "it couldn't be that, because he was in the American army during the war." In this quote, Fitzgerald incorporates an abundant use of diction that suggests rumors. Furthermore, the presence of disagreement arouses a sense of uncertainty, which adds to the mysterious tone present in the conversation. This suggests the ambiguous life that Gatsby led despite the fame he gained from all the parties he has hosted. In addition, Gatsby hides his true identity from society by lying about his past. ...read more.


The visual imagery of blossoming flowers reflects the softness of their kiss, which further suggests their love at that time. Furthermore, the detailed description of that kiss conveys to readers the extent that Gatsby treasured such memory. He even compared it to the incarnation of a flower. All these truly reflect Gatsby's sincere love towards Daisy and his longing to recapture the past that they once shared. Overall, the past functions as a treasure and also an embarrassment to Gatsby. His childhood that was characterized by poverty has made him degrade himself and think of himself as unworthy of Daisy's love. To overcome that, he decided to leave the past behind and build a better future. During that process he has told lies regarding his past to an extent where nobody truly knows his origins. However, despite all the change that he has done to his past, he still longs for one unchangeable piece of it - Daisy. His true love for Daisy has led him to become the man he is, with hopes and dreams of reigniting and recapturing the past that they once shared in Louisville. ...read more.

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