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Lauren Harper
Mrs. Dill
English III
2 April 2015
A Bungalow, A Mansion, and A Love Nest
A homes personality, its grandeur, and its tidiness parallel its owners. A home in
literature reflects its inhabitants through symbolism. Symbols and the stereotypes associated with
them are used in many novels and films to define their characters. For example, at the end of the
film The Breakfast Club, the students symbolize themselves with simple phrases that also
foreshadow stereotypical futures. Similarly, in literature, F. Scott Fitzgerald symbolizes each
main character in The Great Gatsby through their homes and the stereotypes associated with
them. Fitzgerald uses both the location and structure of the home to describe the inner workings
of its owners. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald dedicates much time to the description of the main
characters homes because he is not only using imagery to display the backdrop of the novel, but
also he is developing his characters. F. Scott Fitzgerald, utilizing imagery, purposefully
exaggerates the characters' dwellings to represent their behaviors and nature.
Fitzgerald uses Nicks flimsy home to represent Nicks amorphous opinions. Fitzgerald
describes Nick Carraway as a go-with-the-flow kind of person who lives in a weather beaten
cardboard bungalow [that lies] between two huge places (8-9). In this fashion, Fitzgerald is
showing the reader that Nick never has a definite opinion on anything and (like his home) is
always in the middle. Nicks home is depicted as small, average, and rather bland, which
perfectly represents Nick; he is not rich and is a well-rounded man or the most limited of all
specialists (9). Fitzgerald mentions in the first chapter that wind gusts easily sway Nicks

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bungalow. The flaccid structure of Nicks home represents his amorphous opinions and low
morals, which resolve Nicks acceptance of many affairs, including his own. Furthermore, the
bungalow is located at the exact tip of West Egg, which shows Nicks desire to consistently
remain neutral. The weak bungalow displays Nicks inability to remain in New York (a city of
strength, which is built for the solid dreamer and men with a strong backbone). Fitzgerald is thus
showing the reader that Nick is not like the other characters of the novel that can dismiss tragedy
to pursue their own objectives. Thus, fate returns Nick to the Midwest. In chapter two, Nick
declares that he was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the
inexhaustible variety of life (Fitzgerald 35). Fitzgerald describes Nick as within and without to
emphasize his personality and nature, which he then parallels to Nicks home (which is within
West Egg and the commotion of the novel, but without the structured static role displayed by the
other characters).
F. Scott Fitzgerald describes the Buchanans home as extravagant but structured and able
to withstand any storm to symbolize Tom and Daisys extravagant lives and durable marriage.
Unlike Nicks home, the Buchanans Georgian Colonial style mansion has a solid framework.
However, the interior of the Buchanans home best symbolizes their relationship and mindsets.
Fitzgerald describes the Buchanans relationship with a breeze, which blew through the room,
blew curtains in at one end and out the other (12). The open windows reflect the Buchanans
open marriage. Fitzgerald is expanding on Toms infidelity record; Tom has always cheated on
his wife starting on their honeymoon. Therefore, Fitzgerald connects Tom to the wind that rushes
through the windows, both are free to leave and reenter the home as they please. Ironically, Tom
shuts one window; thus, Fitzgerald is foreshadowing that Tom will not allow for any infidelity
within his home (besides his own). The openness of Tom and Daisys home represents the

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openness of their marriage, but the structure of the home foreshadows their marital fate. Daisy,
unlike Myrtle Wilson, will never leave her husband.
In The Great Gatsby, Myrtle and George Wilson live in a barren wasteland known as The
Valley of Ashes, which Fitzgerald parallels to the couples barren marriage. In addition,
Fitzgerald describes the interior [of the Wilsons complex as]unprosperous and bare (29).
The authors description completely embodies George and Myrtles relationship. For example,
Georges business is unprosperous, and their marriage has not yielded any children suggesting
that Myrtle too is bare or infertile. Fitzgerald displays Myrtle as infertile to contrast her from
Daisy (who has the life that Myrtle wants). Myrtles infertility drives her to have an affair with
Tom and purchase a surrogate dog to achieve her American dream that George cannot satisfy.
Fitzgerald places their home near the edge of the wasteland; in this way, he is symbolizing how
close Myrtle thinks she is to leaving the wasteland with Tom. Myrtles constant reach to go just
beyond the wasteland leads to her death. George is a permanent member of the wasteland, he is
not pursuing his American dream, his personality is flat and he is unprosperous like the land he
lives on. Georges poverty and inability to move Myrtle west before she is killed gives him a
murder-suicide mindset. Therefore, Fitzgerald infiltrates the characteristics of the wasteland into
George and Myrtle to parallel the characters to their dwellings and surroundings.
Fitzgeralds character, James Gatz, created a larger-than-life persona, Jay Gatsby, to
impress the wealthy and Jay later built a home to match his persona. Gatsbys mansion is a
colossal affair by any standard a factual imitation of some Htel de Ville in Normandy, with a
tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy (Fitzgerald 9). Fitzgerald places
Gatsbys home in West Egg to display the fact that Gatsby recently acquired his wealth.
Fitzgerald associates the new money with improper upper class behavior, which Fitzgerald

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further mocks by granting Gatsby a home that is described as a colossal affair. Therefore,
Fitzgerald is showing the reader that Gatsby has money, but he does not have the same
personality or behaviors as those of the upper class from East Egg. In addition, Gatsbys house
was built to imitate a building in Normandy, showing that everything Gatsby does is to impress
and attract Daisy. Fitzgerald is displaying Gatsbys immaturity through his home; Gatsby is
trying to attract Daisy like a child (a mature man who was not stuck on his American dream
would have moved on from Daisy, who is a married woman). Fitzgerald places a tower on
Gatsbys house to allude to fairy tales and again mock Gatsbys childish dreams. The author
declares that the ivy is thin because it is not well established like Gatsbys wealth. Furthermore,
Gatsbys dupe continues inside the house where his library is full of uncut books meaning
Gatsby had never read them. Fitzgerald uses the uncut books to again portray Gatsby as a fake,
Gatsbys nature is to follow as closely as possible the mannerisms of the upper class. Finally,
Fitzgerald places Gatsbys house just out of reach of Daisy which reveals that Gatsby will never
achieve his American dream. Fitzgerald forces Gatsby to see Tom Buchanan as having it all:
established wealth, a wife and home, and Myrtle (his mistress) on the side.
Fitzgerald creates a microcosmic apartment for Tom and Myrtle to live in, which helps to
develop Myrtle as a hopeless mistress and Tom as an arrogant cheat. The love nest in The Great
Gatsby is an apartment in New York City shared by Tom and Myrtle. The apartment is on the
top floora small living room, a small dining room, a small bedroom[with] furniture [that is]
entirely too large[and] an over-enlarged photograph, apparently a hen sitting on a blurred
rock (Fitzgerald 33). Fitzgerald describes everything, besides the furniture, in Tom and Myrtles
family as small to portray its insignificance to Tom. The furniture is over enlarged; Myrtle
purchased it with Toms money. The large furniture represents Myrtles dreams that the

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relationship will continue and eventually Tom will leave Daisy for her. Thus, the fact that
Fitzgerald gives Myrtle the apartment with Tom completely alters her behavior. Myrtle is not
happy with George; however, when Tom comes she enters a fantasy life where she is Daisy, and
she then takes on Daisys behaviors and nature (or what she believes are Daisys behaviors).
Fitzgerald also spends time detailing a photograph of a hen sitting on a blurred rock, which
represents the infertility of Tom and Myrtles relationship (further suggesting that Myrtle is
barren). F. Scott Fitzgerald symbolizes Myrtle with the hen of the photograph that continuously
attempts to grow the family, but Tom is simply placing a rock under his broody hen to keep her
content while he keeps his real egg under Daisy (giving Tom the nature and behavior of a cheat).
Fitzgerald uses the small apartment to show Toms lack of commitment in the relationship
because Tom is wealthy enough to give Myrtle a nice home if he wanted to. However, Fitzgerald
uses Toms unwillingness to move to a larger home with Myrtle to foreshadow his fate to leave
Myrtle and the entire city behind. While, Myrtles blindness and attempts to grow the family lead
to her attempt to run away with Tom and eventually to her death.
F. Scott Fitzgerald used an innumerable amount of literary devices throughout The Great
Gatsby; however, his incisive symbolism stands out. Each main character needs no more
description than their names because their homes present the reader with all other characteristics.
In other literature such as the film The Breakfast Club, the author mocks its characters with
strong stereotypes; similarly, F. Scott Fitzgerald mocks his characters personalities with the
stereotypes associated with their homes. Finally, Fitzgerald uses a bungalow, a Georgian
Colonial style mansion, a palace, a wasteland, and a love nest to symbolize his characters.
Without a doubt, F. Scott Fitzgerald perfectly represents each of his main characters social
positions, lifestyles, and personalities through their homes.