The Inevitability of Time
Fitzgerald represents the inevitability of time through various symbols. Symbols such as the persisting ripples of water that subtly flooded Gatsby’s life until it’s death. From the moment Jay Gatsby was ‘born’ at sea, to the moment of his death when his last breaths were drowned by bloody water. The theme of water and it’s multiple forms lies as a metaphor, for time, throughout the book. It examples the time that Gatsby and Daisy have spent apart and that separates and burdens them from fulfilling Jay Gatsby’s fantasy/dream and it shows the time they have left together. Chapter 5 initiates the re-connection between Gatsby and Daisy and the possibility of their relationship continuing on how it began 5 years ago. Gatsby and Daisy’s, behind the scenes, meeting occurred, and “The day agreed upon was pouring rain.” – not so coincidentally. Fitzgerald methodically curated the scene this way, because it artistically illustrates the discomfort of the missing time between their relationship.
The metaphor of time wasn’t always specifically water in the form of rain, the approach often being more subtle and less apparent. “The rain cooled about half−past three to a damp mist, through which occasional thin drops swam like dew.” with occasional spells of the more attainable future for Gatsby and Daisy- or so it seemed. The past 5 years between the pair became less obvious, along with the disappearing rain. Although the discomfort was still present as the water was still hanging gloomily above. When Nick leaves the pair to talk alone, the sky clears and the suns rays shine down and Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan are indulged in each other and nothing else, feeding the hope that Gatsby and his dream of Daisy forgetting the 5 years and leaving them behind so that they can be together blossoms.
Later on inside of Gatsby’s house, Gatsby is raining his shirts (wealth/success) down upon Daisy. The decadency of it all is too immense and too overwhelming for her and she falls to the bed and weeps (ghastly wet tears), Gatsby tries to coax her to tell him what’s wrong but she instead finds something else to say- a filler for her real feelings. What she truly realised was how she could have had all this gloriousness, if she hadn’t lived the past 5 years like she had, but she did and she created a whole life without Gatsby.
Reality of time and the circumstances began to set in again and the rain keenly followed. “…but outside Gatsby’s window it began to rain again, so we stood in a row looking at the corrugated surface of the Sound.”
““Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers, and set it back in place.Then he sat down, rigidly, his elbow on the arm of the sofa and his chin in his hand. “I’m sorry about the clock,” he said.My own face had now assumed a deep tropical burn. I couldn’t muster up a single commonplace out of the thousand in my head.“It’s an old clock,” I told them idiotically. I think we all believed for a moment that it had smashed in pieces on the floor.”” The image of the inevitability of time that Fitzgerald portrays is ticking away purposefully like a clock. Nick said that they all believed that the clock, a teller/representation of time, had smashed in pieces on the floor. They all believed that the time had been obliterated, the time between Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship was too great and would not be able to be resolved.
I agree that Fitzgerald has beautifully illustrated the relationship between the two key characters through the inevitability of time- running out. He did this by not bluntly stating that their time is running out or that the 5 years between them is too great for a healthy existence as a couple. Fitzgerald instead used other methods to further develop the ideas of time. The methods Fitzgerald used are fitting as there would be no other way to portray the story and relationship than the exquisitely curated metaphors and symbols used.