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In Chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby, how do the drivers of the wrecked automobile react to...

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isaiahj8 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 23, 2013 at 9:26 PM via iOS

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In Chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby, how do the drivers of the wrecked automobile react to what happens?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 24, 2013 at 2:48 AM (Answer #1)

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Nick's narrative element that conveys how the guests did nothing about the wrecked automobile reflects much that will be developed in the course of the novel.  The drivers and passengers of the wrecked automobile simply stare at it.  They stare at the destruction they wrought.  They do nothing productive about it.  There is no desire to assist in clean up or even recognize that anything is wrong about it.  Owl Eyes simply wants to call up a service station so they can get a new car and move on with their lives. 

This becomes a key metaphor in the novel.  On one hand, the wealthy class is shown to be nothing but destroyers of others' dreams.  For some person, that automobile represented a dream or a hopeful vision that was destroyed in the hands of the partygoers.  At the same time, this also represents how "the driving society" is essentially on the move, but going nowhere.  Their recklessness and endangerment of everyone else is critical here.  They are hazards on the road to not only themselves but the poor people who happen to be driving at the same time that they are. This will become evident in Myrtle's death.  Their reactions of nonchalance and apathy towards their destructive behavior which they see as "no big deal" makes them even more dangerous.

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