Homework Help

Could you please tell me the meaning of "intriguing" in this passage from the first...

user profile pic

coutelle | Valedictorian

Posted June 23, 2013 at 10:01 PM via web

dislike 1 like

Could you please tell me the meaning of "intriguing" in this passage from the first chapter of The Great Gatsby? Does it mean just "fascinating"?

The telephone rang inside, startlingly, and as Daisy shook her head decisively at Tom the subject of the stables, in fact all subjects, vanished into air. Among the broken fragments of the last five minutes at table I remember the candles being lit again, pointlessly, and I was conscious of wanting to look squarely at every one and yet to avoid all eyes. I couldn't guess what Daisy and Tom were thinking but I doubt if even Miss Baker who seemed to have mastered a certain hardy skepticism was able utterly to put this fifth guest's shrill metallic urgency out of mind. To a certain temperament the situation might have seemed intriguing—my own instinct was to telephone immediately for the police.

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 23, 2013 at 11:06 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 3 like

At this early point in the narrative, Nick has not yet learned the dynamics of the group with whom he eats dinner. But, as an astute observer, he observes Daisy shaking her head as a directive to her husband to not answer the phone--this "fifth guest's shrill metallic urgency" that has broken the spell of the candle-lit crimson room.

Nick comments that to "a certain temperament"; that is, a certain personality-type, this interruption of the atmosphere by a shrill phone ring would intrigue, or incite his/her curiosity about what clandestine activities transpire outside the Buchanans' marriage and lavish home. Nick's comment that his "instinct was to call for the police" suggests that he feels something illegal may be transpiring since such activity was fairly prevalent during the 1920s.

However, after the dinner party moves onto the veranda, Daisy confides in Nick, telling him that she has become cynical and that she was glad her baby is a girl so she can just be the "best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." This statement suggests to Nick that Daisy's marriage to Tom has problems.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes