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In Chapter 6, what finality does Gatsby create when he first kisses Daisy?
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It would seem he creates a moment of absolute bliss: “Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete” (117). “Incarnation” has powerful religious resonance, suggesting a transformation of a God into the form of a body—here, Gatsby’s. The language suggests that Gatsby feels like a God as a result of kissing Daisy, for just a moment before the kiss he imagines that his vitality increases, that he could climb to the skies, and “once there he could suck on the pap of life” (117). She makes possible his “vision.” It’s also noteworthy that she “blossomed for him like a flower” when they kiss, and since the point of view is Gatsby’s, this simile suggests his imaginative recreation of her rather than how she herself feels when they kiss.
Posted by sagetrieb on January 17, 2008 at 7:47 PM (Answer #1)
High School Teacher
True, there is a moment of bliss. We can also examine all that Gatsby loses at that moment as well. He had created a new “Self” whose purpose was to attract and capture the heart of Daisy. He had not created a life where this love could be possibly sustained or nurtured. He is confounded with the reality that Daisy has an innocent and ignored daughter with Tom.
He has been consumed with the chase that capturing the object of his desire. He loses this identity as the pursuer. This romantic sense of self does get lost. The green light, which had been so significant in his life previously becomes just another light. He nearly worshipped that symbol of Daisy.
Far be it from me to reference a movie over a book, but there is a scene in the Robert Redford version where he reaches out to touch her hand but pulls away without contact. He is realizing that the moment of anticipation is greater than the moment of resolution. But more than that I believe he sense the great change that will happen when they do begin an affair.
There has only been Gatsby the pursuer, not Gatsby the fiancé, husband, step father, etc.
Posted by jeff-hauge on January 17, 2008 at 10:02 PM (Answer #2)
High School Teacher
The finality that Gatsby creates in kissing Daisy is also the re-envisioning of his dream. He marries the life he envisioned for "Jay Gatsby" to his desire for Daisy. A dream to which, as Nick notes, he is "faithful to the end" (99). In attaching his dream to Daisy, Gatsby's future is decided. To attain her he has no choice but to climb the ladder that appears before him. She would accept no less. Indeed, this is what he spends the next five years doing, as though he were "following a grail" (149). His dedication is no less pious. As the epigraph in the beginning of the novel suggests, he must "bounce high" for her to become the "gold-hatted" lover that she must have.
Even after Daisy reaffirms her ties to Tom as they sit "conspiring together," following Myrtle's death (146), Gatsby never gives up hope. He won't leave town, though Nick warns him that his car might be traced. Even a short time before his own death, as he sets out to drift in his pool, Gatsby gives word to his butler that should a call (from Daisy) arrive for him, he will take it at the pool.
Posted by jengerlach on February 4, 2008 at 7:21 AM (Answer #3)
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