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Could you please explain the meaning of "I became entangled in some wild strident...

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coutelle | Valedictorian

Posted April 17, 2013 at 9:24 PM via web

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Could you please explain the meaning of "I became entangled in some wild strident argument which pulled me back" in the following excerpt from The Great Gatsby, chapter 2?

I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the park through the soft twilight but each time I tried to go I became entangled in some wild strident argument which pulled me back, as if with ropes, into my chair.

 

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choucksolace | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 17, 2013 at 10:23 PM (Answer #1)

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The narrator, Nick, is describing how he is uncomfortable at the party and wishes to go somewhere more peaceful, but every time he tries to get away, he ends up involved in one of the many conversations that are taking place around him. The arguments are "wild" and "strident" because people are expressing their opinions loudly and forcefully and becoming emotional when others disagree. Nick is drawn into the arguments when others ask about his opinion and then insist on arguing against his views. Because he lacks the self-confidence and social skills to disengage from the conversation when he chooses, he feels as if he is physically trapped. This is one of many occasions in the novel when Nick feels overwhelmed by the fast paced world around him.

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udonbutterfly | TA , College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted August 13, 2014 at 7:54 PM (Answer #2)

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Nick is trying to describe how any time he tries to walk away from a party he just gets pulled back into conversations that are usually irrelevant and just not worth his time. However he stays in the conversation to be polite and to not insult the other person. It is almost like Nick's politeness is restraining him from doing what he wishes to do most which is go be in peace and quiet.

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