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Could you please explain to me the literal and metaphorical meanings of "splash" in...

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coutelle | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:31 PM via web

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Could you please explain to me the literal and metaphorical meanings of "splash" in these excerpts from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald?

1) There was a moment of silence. The telephone book slipped from its nail and splashed to the floor, whereupon Jordan whispered, “Excuse me.”— but this time no one laughed. (chapter 7)

 

2) His house had never seemed so enormous to me as it did that night when we hunted through the great rooms for cigarettes. We pushed aside curtains that were like pavilions and felt over innumerable feet of dark wall for electric light switches—once I tumbled with a sort of splash upon the keys of a ghostly piano. There was an inexplicable amount of dust everywhere, and the rooms were musty, as though they hadn’t been aired for many days. 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 28, 2013 at 9:26 PM (Answer #1)

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Tom, Daisy, Gatsby, Jordan, and Nick are in a room at the Plaza Hotel. The characters keep remarking how hot it is. The heat adds to the growing tension. After some digging into Gatsby's past, and then seeing Daisy tell Gatsby that she loves him, Tom is sure of Daisy's and Gatsby's affair. Everyone is aware of this and the tension rises. And it is Gatsby's plan to eventually take Daisy away from Tom. The literal definition of the book "splashing" to the floor is just that the book falls and makes a loud sound. The metaphorical or it would be better to say symbolic meaning here is that the splash represents a climax of the tension because this is when Gatsby first confronts Tom. Tom jabs right back challenging the idea that Gatsby went to Oxford. Thus, to "splash" or to "scatter things about" also signifies that these secrets are getting out in the open.

The second quote is from Chater 8, when Gatsby's parties have ceased. The house seems more enormous because it is empty and has a feeling of being abandoned with the amount of dust everywhere. As the house is empty, it seems like a ghost town. Thus, the splash is a ghostly sudden, loud scattering of notes in an empty house. Had this occurred during one of Gatsby's parties, the noise would not have made a "splash"; it would have gone relatively unnoticed.

In both sections, the splash could symbolize the scattering (breaking up) of Gatsby's persona and his entire project of trying to win Daisy back. Just after the splash of piano keys, Nick says:

It was this night that he told me the strange story of his youth with Dan Cody -- told it to me because "Jay Gatsby" had broken up like glass against Tom's hard malice, and the long secret extravaganza was played out.

 

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coutelle | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted March 29, 2013 at 8:22 PM (Answer #3)

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Tom, Daisy, Gatsby, Jordan, and Nick are in a room at the Plaza Hotel. The characters keep remarking how hot it is. The heat adds to the growing tension. After some digging into Gatsby's past, and then seeing Daisy tell Gatsby that she loves him, Tom is sure of Daisy's and Gatsby's affair. Everyone is aware of this and the tension rises. And it is Gatsby's plan to eventually take Daisy away from Tom. The literal definition of the book "splashing" to the floor is just that the book falls and makes a loud sound. The metaphorical or it would be better to say symbolic meaning here is that the splash represents a climax of the tension because this is when Gatsby first confronts Tom. Tom jabs right back challenging the idea that Gatsby went to Oxford. Thus, to "splash" or to "scatter things about" also signifies that these secrets are getting out in the open.

The second quote is from Chater 8, when Gatsby's parties have ceased. The house seems more enormous because it is empty and has a feeling of being abandoned with the amount of dust everywhere. As the house is empty, it seems like a ghost town. Thus, the splash is a ghostly sudden, loud scattering of notes in an empty house. Had this occurred during one of Gatsby's parties, the noise would not have made a "splash"; it would have gone relatively unnoticed.

In both sections, the splash could symbolize the scattering (breaking up) of Gatsby's persona and his entire project of trying to win Daisy back. Just after the splash of piano keys, Nick says:

It was this night that he told me the strange story of his youth with Dan Cody -- told it to me because "Jay Gatsby" had broken up like glass against Tom's hard malice, and the long secret extravaganza was played out.

 

 

I thought that the telephone book fell with its pages hitting the floor, the pages of the book splayed out, like water splashing on the floor.

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coutelle | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted March 28, 2013 at 10:07 PM (Answer #2)

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I thought that the telephone book fell with its pages hitting the floor, the pages of the book splayed out, like water splashing on the floor.

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