Descriptive Essay on the Effect of Rain on the Plot in ‘The Great Gatsby’

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In F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece, 'The Great Gatsby,' the presence of rain serves as a symbolic element that heightens the atmosphere and adds depth to the narrative. This descriptive essay explores the effect of rain on the plot, examining its significance in portraying the characters, enhancing the setting, and foreshadowing pivotal moments throughout the novel.


Symbolism and Atmosphere:

Rain in 'The Great Gatsby' is often associated with moments of tension, conflict, and emotional turmoil. It symbolizes the characters' inner struggles, regrets, and the relentless pursuit of their dreams. The rain creates an atmosphere of melancholy, mirroring the characters' disillusionment and the underlying themes of loss and unfulfilled desires.

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Foreshadowing and Dramatic Moments:

Rain is used as a literary device to foreshadow significant events and intensify the drama within the plot. For example, the heavy rainstorm during Gatsby and Daisy's reunion at Nick's house foreshadows the emotional turbulence and tragic consequences that ensue. The rain acts as a forewarning of the impending conflicts and revelations that will unfold.

Character Development:

The presence of rain impacts the characters' emotional states and drives their actions. Gatsby, in particular, is deeply affected by rain, often depicted standing alone in the rain or gazing out at it from his mansion. The rain serves as a reflection of Gatsby's inner turmoil, his longing for the past, and his pursuit of an unattainable dream. Additionally, rain also affects other characters, such as Nick Carraway, who finds solace and contemplation in the rain-soaked streets of New York.

Setting and Atmosphere:

Rain plays a vital role in enhancing the setting and atmosphere of 'The Great Gatsby.' The rain-soaked landscapes and drenched city streets create a sense of isolation and melancholy, reflecting the moral decay and spiritual emptiness of the characters' lives. The constant presence of rain emphasizes the contrast between the glamorous facade of the roaring twenties and the underlying darkness and despair that permeate the story.

Symbolic Cleansing and Renewal:

In some instances, rain acts as a symbol of cleansing and renewal. After the climactic events of the novel, rain washes away the remnants of the tragic occurrences, offering a glimpse of hope and the potential for redemption. It symbolizes the possibility of rebirth and a fresh start, even amidst the aftermath of shattered dreams and lost illusions.

Contrasting Rain and Sunshine:

Fitzgerald skillfully contrasts rain with moments of sunshine to highlight the dichotomy between illusion and reality. While rain represents the somber realities of the characters' lives, sunshine symbolizes fleeting moments of happiness and the façade of the American Dream. The interplay between rain and sunshine underscores the ephemeral nature of happiness and the persistent disillusionment that haunts the characters.


The rain in 'The Great Gatsby' serves as a powerful and multi-faceted literary device. Its presence throughout the narrative adds depth, symbolism, and atmosphere, shaping the characters' emotional journeys, enhancing the setting, and foreshadowing pivotal events. The rain's ability to evoke feelings of melancholy, foreboding, and renewal contributes to the novel's enduring impact and captures the complexities of the human experience.

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Descriptive Essay on the Effect of Rain on the Plot in ‘The Great Gatsby’. (2024, April 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
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