Descriptive Noun Phrases In The Great Gatsby

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The importance of descriptive noun phrases in The Great Gatsby

One of the reasons that The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald has stood the test of time is the way it was written. Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald spends a great deal of time giving the reader plenty of details. Each sentences is written with so much description that the reader can clearly picture exactly what is going on. The tone of Fitzgerald’s writing also changes throughout the novel. Various tones are conveyed by the author’s word choice, and more specifically the noun phrases the author uses. In the last several paragraphs of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald begins to use a reflective tone to convey his final message. This is because he is showing Nick’s reflection to
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In the chapter titled “The Noun Phrase” of his book Language in the Mind, Walter Hirtle explains the use of adjectives in noun phrases. Hirtle explains that, “to understand the syntax of a noun phrase, therefore, we try to discern the relation between the words in terms of incidence… it is a matter of working out the way each adjective’s and adverb’s import of meaning finds its support of meaning in the substantive’s lexeme.” (Hirtle 208). This shows that adjectives are important in noun phrases because they aid in the meaning of not only that phrase, but the sentence as a …show more content…
For example, the use of “gleaming, dazzling parties” helps to better describe the type of events Gatsby threw. If the author would have just used “parties” as the standalone noun, the meaning of the sentence would change. Gatsby was known for his extravagant parties; by using multiple adjectives, Fitzgerald makes the impact Gatsby’s flair even greater. In the last few paragraphs of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald also uses appositives to convey the feeling of finality. At one point, Nick says “On the last night, with my trunk packed and my car sold to the grocer, I went over and looked at that huge incoherent failure of a house once more.” (Fitzgerald 179). This appositive is important because it gives more context to which night Nick is calling his last. Nancy Sullivan’s book Essential Grammar for Today’s Writers, Students, and Teachers defines an appositive as “a noun phrase that identifies, explains, or renames another noun.” (Sullivan 46). This shows why appositives, such as the example above, are important in enhancing meaning. By adding the appositive about having a trunk pack, it helps the reader to understand that this is in fact the last night before Nick moves. Without the appositive, the reader would be unsure about why the night is the last