The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

1253 Words6 Pages
[OPENING STATEMENT] The Great Gatsby does not clearly yield to either poem or prose causing it to be considered as a lyrical novel rather than the more common narrative. Poetic devices and techniques used by author F. Scott Fitzgerald are more commonly seen with poetry. Yet it is these techniques that give meaning to his work of fiction; how Fitzgerald states his ideas becomes more important than the ideas themselves. Poetic devices he uses are called litotes, which express a positive statement by using its opposite negatives. To say “the ice cream was not bad” would be an intentional understatement, when instead one could say the ice cream was “good.” Litotes are used for irony, which is “using words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning.”1 Also commonly found throughout the novel, litotes are used for emphatic effect to benefit setting, plot, and character development. In the start of chapter one of The Great Gatsby, the scene is set and described by narrator Nick. “I lived at West Egg, the — well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them” (5). Forming one of Fitzgerald’s litotes, the words “not a little sinister” deny the opposite of being genuinely sinister. He could have instead said that the Eggs were “very” sinister, but in replacement wrote the opposite negative by saying it was not a small amount. By doing this, Nick understates
Open Document