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32 votes
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Jordan's line about intimate parties in The Great Gatsby?

Jordan is remarking on the paradox that at a large party, it's possible to have a private conversation with someone without its being considered rude or unusual. The larger the party, the more people ...
verbose's user avatar
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22 votes
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Why is Gatsby great?

It seems to have been the editor who proposed the title, and the author didn't like it much. The original suggestion seems to have come from Fitzgerald's editor and friend, Maxwell Perkins: I ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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13 votes
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What was "standard shift" in the 1920's?

Most likely this refers to the number of gears. The phrase "standard shift" nowadays refers to the type of transmission: manual transmission or automatic transmission according to which is considered ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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12 votes
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What does "chafed" mean here?

I think this would be an example of synecdoche, a figure of speech where a part of something is used to represent it. Here, the "raw vigor" of the new money society and the "euphemisms" employed by ...
muru's user avatar
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11 votes
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What does "that most limited of all specialists" mean here?

The phrase "that most limited of all specialists" refers to "the well-rounded man" in this sentence. When we refer to a "well-rounded" person, we refer to someone who generally knows a little about a ...
auden's user avatar
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11 votes
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What is the purpose of Owl Eyes in Great Gatsby?

On the surface, Owl Eyes is a perceptive character. He sees things that others miss. In reality, though, he's more easily fooled than anyone. The large glasses, of course, tie him to the Eckleburg ...
Ralph Crown's user avatar
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10 votes

What are the "old euphemisms" in The Great Gatsby?

The new-money people of West Egg, on the other hand, are more ostentatious about their hedonism. In essence, yes, you have caught the gist of the phrase. Daisy is aware, as is Nick, of the fact that ...
gef05's user avatar
  • 306
9 votes

What does "chafed" mean here?

The "old euphemisms" are hinting at the genteel elegance which is supposed to be a hallmark of "old money" — basically, an oligarchic noblesse oblige, a way of behaving which Old Money people lived by ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
7 votes
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What does "the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty" mean here?

The phrase is purposefully biblical and is used to denote Gatsby's inflated but empty ego. First, let's provide a dictionary definition of the unusual word "meretricious". apparently attractive ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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7 votes
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What does "if we had room for him" mean in "The Great Gatsby"?

There is a description of the Fay–Buchanan marriage in chapter 4: In June [1919] she [Daisy Fay] married Tom Buchanan of Chicago with more pomp and circumstance than Louisville ever knew before. He ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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7 votes
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What does this quote from The Great Gatsby mean?

You should first ask who cares "in this heat whose flushed lips he kissed, whose head made damp the pajama pocket over his heart!" Who could the narrator know cares? The only person the narrator could ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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7 votes
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Does Nick love Gatsby?

Several readers have found expressions of Nick’s attraction to Gatsby in the narration. Edward Wasiolek pointed out that Nick’s portrait of Jay Gatsby, a criminal and adulterer, is unjustifiably ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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6 votes

Why is Gatsby great?

Did Fitzgerald himself come up with the title? I believe so. I disagree with the claim that it is likely that Maxwell Perkins, Fitzgerald's editor, came up with the title. We have the correspondence ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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6 votes
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What does "the protecting canvas unrolled from Gatsby’s grave" mean?

There's no great mystery to this: it literally means what it says. Newly-dug graves are often covered with canvas to protect them from the rain. Otherwise, the dug earth would turn to mud. This is ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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5 votes

In the renowned book The Great Gatsby, how, where and why did Tom meet Daisy?

TL;DR: The book doesn’t say, so you’re going to have to imagine it for yourself. I looked on fanfiction.net, but no-one there has written a version of this scene. There are a few clues on which you ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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5 votes

Was there a real person for Cardinal Vitori mentioned in This Side of Paradise of F. Scott Fitzgerald?

This Cambridge edition, with explanatory notes by James L W West III and Lynn Setzer specifically notes that although Margherita di Savoia was a real person, Queen of Italy from 1878 to 1900 and Queen ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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5 votes

Bad Grammar in The Great Gatsby?

It's possibility 4. These are dialog, and they are undoubtedly meant to convey a pronunciation of have without the /h/. You could also spell this pronunciation: if we'd've raised the blinds we'd've ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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5 votes
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Why did Gatsby say "This is a terrible mistake" in "The Great Gatsby"?

He still can't confess his feelings for her Jay Gatsby idolizes Daisy to an absurd level and yet he is unable to confess his feelings to her. He has set up an elaborate party for her, trying to make ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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5 votes
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Meaning of "Her say said" in "This Side of Paradise"?

Here "Her say" means "what she had/wanted to say" (see Merriam-Webster definition 1 for as a noun), which has been "said" (used as past tense of "say"), as she ...
bobble's user avatar
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5 votes

What do critics mean by "corruption of the American dream" in relation to "The Great Gatsby"?

The essential aspect of the American Dream is that anyone can achieve success through hard work and dedication. In a manner of speaking, this is present in the rich people of the book. Many, including ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
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5 votes
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Meaning of "through the smoky air."

It is definitely literal. It's possible that it may be metaphorical as well, although I don't see what the metaphor could be. When the Great Gatsby was written, everybody smoked. The air at parties ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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4 votes
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What does "which comes at the two changes of the year" mean here?

TL;DR: Scott Fitzgerald is referring to Spring and Autumn. The "two changes of the year" are the transition from dormancy to growth (corresponding to Spring), and from maturity to dormancy (...
Chappo Hasn't Forgotten's user avatar
4 votes
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What does "the master's body" mean in "The Great Gatsby"?

The paragraphs in the question follow a description of a heatwave: The next day was broiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest, of the summer. As my train emerged from the tunnel into sunlight, ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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4 votes
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What are "abortive sorrows" and "short-winded elations" in "The Great Gatsby"?

"Abortive" means "failing to produce results," so it denotes a sorrow, probably short-lived, that doesn't cause the person to change. Likewise a "shortwinded" person ...
Mary's user avatar
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4 votes
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What does "snapped out, made accidental, isolated, like ghosts" mean in "The Great Gatsby"?

In Chapter 1 we read “Why candles?” objected Daisy frowning. She snapped them out with her fingers. To ‘snap out’ a candle you extinguish the flame by literally snapping your fingers next to it ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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4 votes
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What did the oil tank in Wilson's garage look like in "The Great Gatsby"?

I think you are attributing the handle to the wrong object. The cap covers the entry hole to the gasoline tank in the car. The handle is used to dispense the gasoline from the pump. In this context ...
Spagirl's user avatar
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4 votes
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Where do the events take place in "Afternoon of an Author" by F. Scott Fitzgerald?

The story is set in Baltimore. Just for reference, here's the text of the short story, entitled "Esquire" (from the Afternoon of an Author collection) and dated to August 1936. The biggest chunk of ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 73.6k
4 votes
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Source of the 1953 revisions to "The Great Gatsby"

Princeton University Library provides scans of Fitzgerald's own copy of the first edition with corrections in his hand: The Great Gatsby corrected first edition. I checked only some of those against ...
henryflower's user avatar
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4 votes
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What is the significance of Nick being gay in The Great Gatsby?

For most of the novel, Nick has a completely erroneous conception of Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is selfish and a criminal. But Nick doesn't notice any of these imperfections in his character. Why not? I'd say ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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3 votes
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What does "The none too savory ramifications by which" mean in "The Great Gatsby"?

Well, first, the whole beginning of your quote is basically saying: Cody was rich, but as he was getting older and presumably had a soft spot for women or wasn't super clever, many women tried to ...
auden's user avatar
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