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Coul you please tell me the meaning of "air of breathless intensity" and "hint of...

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coutelle | Valedictorian

Posted May 5, 2013 at 11:51 PM via web

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Coul you please tell me the meaning of "air of breathless intensity" and "hint of bedrooms" in this excerpt from the chapter Eight of The Great Gatsby?

But what gave it an air of breathless intensity was that Daisy lived there—it was as casual a thing to her as his tent out at camp was to him. There was a ripe mystery about it, a hint of bedrooms upstairs more beautiful and cool than other bedrooms, of gay and radiant activities taking place through its corridors and of romances that were not musty and laid away already in lavender but fresh and breathing and redolent of this year’s shining motor cars and of dances whose flowers were scarcely withered.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 6, 2013 at 4:00 AM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter Eight, Nick is so restless that he goes over to Gatsby's house and warns him that the police will be looking for his car. However, Gatsby is only worried about Daisy. He tells Nick that Daisy is the first "nice" girl that he has ever known; that is, she is the first girl of the upper class with whom he has been acquainted. Because he has never been close to such a girl, as an innocent youth found her house fascinating, with "an air of breathless intensity" about it. There was an excitement that this house generated in Gatsby, much like being inside a king's palace, with the sense of mystery about all the rooms and what they held.

As the romantic hero, Gatsby has envisioned carnal pleasure--"gay and radiant pleasures taking place in the corridors"--and he found Daisy even more seductive because of her carnal knowledge of other men. Indeed, there was the element of the erotic in Daisy's house.

He took what he could get, ravenously and unscrupulously--eventually he took Daisy one still October night...because he had no real right to touch her hand.

It is then that Gatsby became aware of "the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves," the charm that material acquisition possesses, and he surrendered his vision to this charm in its "breathless intensity," but the object of his vision has been unworthy of his romanticism.

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