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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS (continued)
Although Gatsby is a defeated man, he does not acknowledge that to Nick. He tells his neighbor that he is sure Daisy will call. Of course, she does not. In fact, after Gatsby is needlessly and brutally shot by Wilson, Daisy does not even telephone or send flowers to the funeral, fully proving the shallowness of her character and the unworthiness of Gatsby's love. At the time of his death, however, he has proven to Nick that he is a much more valuable character that the whole lot of the Buchanan's and their friends put together. Still, Gatsby's is a tragic life, ended by a tragic death.
There are many things that help to hold the plots and subplots of the novel together. Fitzgerald carefully weaves repetition throughout the book. The introduction to Gatsby is the image of his standing in his back yard reaching out to the green light (symbolic of his dream) that is located at the end of Daisy's dock across the bay. Throughout the book, Gatsby is reaching out to try and capture Daisy, but she always seems just out of reach, like that green light. At the end of the novel, before his death, Gatsby again looks across the bay and sees the green light of Daisy's dock; this time, however he does not reach out for it, instinctively knowing the dream is lost forever. There is also a repetition of party scenes, both large and small. Several of Gatsby's parties are described, including the debris that is left behind to be cleaned up each time.
Additionally, there is the small party at Myrtle's apartment that ends in the shattering of Myrtle's nose and the small party in the suite at the Plaza Hotel that ends in the shattering of Gatsby's dream and Nick's belief in the East. A third repetition is the Valley of Ashes, the symbol of the moral decay. Each time one of the characters from East or West Egg goes into the city, he/she must pass by the ashheaps guarded by the knowing eyes of T.J. Eckelberg. Nick notices the advertisement during his first visit to Wilson's garage, when he meets Myrtle; Michaelis notices it when he is trying to comfort Wilson after Myrtle's death. There are also many other repeated images. Daisy is always dressed in white, her voice always sounds like money, and she is referred to as the golden girl. Any image of Gatsby is in terms of vulgarity and ostentation, whether it is his clothing, his mansion, his parties, or his cars.
Additionally, Fitzgerald masterfully weaves the three plots together. Nick conveniently lives next door to Gatsby and becomes friendly with him. Nick is also a distant cousin to Daisy Buchanan, the object of Gatsby's dream. As a result, Nick really becomes the facilitator to the Daisy/Gatsby affair. Tom befriends Nick because they have gone to college together. As a result, Nick is drawn into the Myrtle, Tom, Wilson triangle. Wilson, who is naïve about his wife's affair through most of the book, believes that Tom comes into his garage only because he is interested in selling his coupe to Wilson; this gives Wilson a reason to call the Buchanan household, a number that his wife calls frequently. Gatsby is pulled into the triangle because of his yellow automobile, which Tom calls the circus wagon but insists upon driving into New York. He stops for gas at Wilson's garage, and Myrtle sees the car.
When she sees it later in the evening, she assumes that Tom is driving it rather than Daisy. Wilson goes to Tom to find out who really owns the yellow car; when he is told that it belongs to Gatsby, Wilson shoots and kills Gatsby, officially ending the dream. He then turns the gun on himself to further destroy the Wilson, Tom, Myrtle triangle. It is only the careless, despicable Daisy and Tom that emerge unaffected by the relationships between the plots. Even Nick, though not directly touched, becomes so disillusioned with life in the East that he makes the decision to move back home to the Midwest. All loose ends of all the plots are masterfully tied up and ended.