Foreshadowing in The Great Gatsby

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 540 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 540|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraph
  3. Conclusion


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a seminal work of American literature, celebrated for its vivid portrayal of the Jazz Age and its incisive critique of the American Dream. One of the novel's most compelling literary techniques is foreshadowing, which Fitzgerald employs to build suspense and provide deeper insight into the characters and themes. This essay will examine the use of foreshadowing in The Great Gatsby, exploring how it enhances the narrative's complexity and contributes to its enduring impact.

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Body Paragraph

Foreshadowing in The Great Gatsby serves multiple purposes, including the creation of suspense and the development of thematic elements. One of the most notable instances of foreshadowing occurs in the novel's opening chapters, where Nick Carraway, the narrator, reflects on Gatsby's enigmatic nature. Nick’s early remark that Gatsby "represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn" hints at the disillusionment that will later permeate the novel (Fitzgerald, 5). This subtle hint sets the tone for the reader, suggesting that Gatsby’s grandeur may be a façade hiding a more tragic reality.

Another significant example of foreshadowing is the recurring motif of the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. The green light symbolizes Gatsby’s unattainable dreams and desires. Early in the novel, Gatsby is seen gazing at the light, a gesture that foreshadows his relentless pursuit of a past that cannot be recaptured. Fitzgerald writes, "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us" (Fitzgerald, 180). This image not only foreshadows Gatsby's ultimate failure to achieve his dream but also reflects the broader theme of the elusive American Dream.

The weather in The Great Gatsby also serves as a foreshadowing device. For example, the climactic confrontation between Gatsby and Tom Buchanan takes place on the hottest day of the summer. The oppressive heat mirrors the rising tension and foreshadows the explosive conflict that is about to unfold. Fitzgerald describes the day as "broiling," a term that conveys the simmering emotions of the characters and the impending release of pent-up resentments (Fitzgerald, 114). This use of weather to foreshadow events adds a layer of atmospheric tension that heightens the reader's anticipation.

Foreshadowing is also evident in Gatsby’s tragic end. Throughout the novel, there are numerous hints that Gatsby’s dream is doomed to fail. The constant references to time and the past, such as Gatsby’s fixation on repeating the past and his clock motif, foreshadow his inability to move forward. Additionally, the imagery of decay and death, such as the description of the Valley of Ashes and Dr. T.J. Eckleburg’s eyes, suggests the moral and social decay that ultimately leads to the novel’s tragic conclusion. This pervasive sense of foreboding underscores the inevitable collapse of Gatsby's world.

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In conclusion, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterful use of foreshadowing in The Great Gatsby enriches the narrative, providing depth and complexity to the characters and themes. Through subtle hints and motifs, Fitzgerald builds suspense and prepares the reader for the novel’s tragic events. Foreshadowing not only enhances the reader’s engagement but also reinforces the novel’s critical examination of the American Dream and the inherent flaws in the pursuit of unattainable ideals. As such, foreshadowing is a crucial literary device that contributes to the timeless appeal and profound impact of The Great Gatsby.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Foreshadowing in The Great Gatsby. (2024, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from
“Foreshadowing in The Great Gatsby.” GradesFixer, 12 Jun. 2024,
Foreshadowing in The Great Gatsby. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 13 Jul. 2024].
Foreshadowing in The Great Gatsby [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 12 [cited 2024 Jul 13]. Available from:
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