For the past unit in AP Lang about illusion vs reality, we had to read The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald. We’ve also had to make a project about it, which is why I made another WordPress website called Gatsby Travels. If you need help with any analysis assignments regarding the book, you can look there for some ideas (but of course, plagiarism isn’t allowed and none of the pictures on the website belong to me and are only for educational purposes… ). In any case, there is one thing that most analyses of Gatsby don’t cover and that is the phone.
“None of us can ignore that fifth guest’s shrill metallic urgency.” -Nick Carraway
I believe that the phone represents secrets and guilty consciences. Myrtle calls Tom in front of his family at dinnertime, no less. Gatsby constantly gets calls from his mafia bosses at all times of the day. A lot of planning and scheming take place over the phone in this book. It also has an unpleasant sound whenever it rings and it persists until someone picks up the receiver. That sounds like guilt to me.
The phone can also have the meaning of distance. The phone is a device that is supposed to connect people over long distances but in the book, it often serves to distance people from one another. Once again, Gatsby’s phone calls are the prime example. He constantly gets calls that pull him away from the people he’s with and they are left wondering what kind of “business” he’s dealing with. Whenever Myrtle or Wilson calls, it pulls Tom away from his “high” society into lower society and threatens the illusion that “no one” knows of the thinly-veiled affair between him and Myrtle. Also, Nick breaks up with Jordan over the phone and she, in turn, break up with him.
Just a little something to think about. LtDemonLord out.