21 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 ...
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  • 63.5k
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 ...
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  • 6,644
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 ...
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  • 4,506
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 ...
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  • 306
10 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 ...
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  • 1,139
9 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 ...
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  • 63.5k
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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 7,900
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 ...
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  • 7,900
6 votes
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What does "if we had room for him" mean here?

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 ...
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  • 40.1k
6 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 ...
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  • 14.6k
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 ...
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  • 40.1k
5 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 ...
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  • 14.6k
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 ...
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  • 7,900
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 ...
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  • 7,942
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 (...
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4 votes
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What does "the master's body" mean here?

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, ...
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  • 40.1k
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 ...
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  • 4,184
4 votes
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How did the oil tank look like in Wilson's garage?

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 ...
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  • 15.6k
4 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 ...
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3 votes
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What does "snapped out, made accidental, isolated, like ghosts" mean here?

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 ...
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  • 15.6k
3 votes
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Bad Grammar in The Great Gatsby?

It's "deliberate" bad grammar to portray uneducated people who are not part of the elite. So their using "would of" in place of "would have" is part of the "characterization" of such people. At some ...
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  • 411
3 votes
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What does "The none too savory ramifications by which" mean here?

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 ...
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  • 4,506
3 votes

What is it that Miss Baker "got done" in the chapter one in 'The Great Gatsby'?

There's two levels to this. What she "got done" is golfing. “Jordan’s going to play in the tournament tomorrow,” explained Daisy, “over at Westchester.” “Oh—you’re Jordan Baker.” I knew now ...
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  • 7,942
2 votes

What happens at the end of Chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby?

This is apparently the only place that Fitzgerald uses ellipses in The Great Gatsby if this source is accurate. That author's reading that Nick had a sexual encounter with Mr McKee is not unique. The ...
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  • 2,430
2 votes
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How do I tie the different parts of this question together?

Compare Tom and George (Wilson). This can be done with a Venn Diagram. Draw two big circles on the page. One side will be marked "Tom". The other side will be marked "George". The two circles must ...
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  • 269
2 votes

How is Daisy Buchanan from "The Great Gatsby" a controversial character?

Daisy (Fay) Buchanan was a well-meaning, but ultimately weak and indecisive woman from a wealthy family. Modern critics might characterize as a Stepford Wife. Her main problem is that she doesn't seem ...
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  • 411
2 votes

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

It was about the mixing of the "old money" and "new money" crowds in West Egg. The "old money" crowd set the manners, the ways of speech, the ostensible behaviors, etc., or what Daisy called the "old ...
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  • 411
1 vote

What does "an affront to the common store of life" mean here?

In ‘common store of life’ the words are being used in the following senses (in the Oxford English Dictionary): common, adj. 1. a. ‘Belonging equally to more than one’ (Johnson); possessed or shared ...
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  • 40.1k
1 vote
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Analyzing the end of Gatsby

The green light on the other side of the lake symbolizes the american dream. He is separated from the other side by the large which represents the separation of class. Notice how Gatsby lives on the ...
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