Men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.

from F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (Chapter III) on Rap Genius

Meaning

The “moth” imagery is significant because it conveys a sort of unconsciousness that Gatsby’s party guests embody. Insects are traditionally viewed as unintelligent followers, traveling about without a specific purpose or reason. Likewise, the people attending Gatsby’s parties are overall superficial, bouncing around without purpose.

Furthermore, moths are particularly significant because they are tragic creatures; they move toward light for a sense of security, only to find that the light source is actually a harbinger of death. Comparing Gatsby’s guests to moths implies that they are attracted to the brightness of the party’s extravagance, yet unknowingly leading themselves towards self-destruction.

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