Homework Help

Could you please tell me the meaning of the sentence, especially the words "molding its...

user profile pic

coutelle | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 24, 2013 at 1:20 PM via web

dislike 2 like

Could you please tell me the meaning of the sentence, especially the words "molding its senselessnes into forms," in the following excerpt of The Great Gatsby, Chapter 7?

"Her voice struggled on through the heat, beating against it, molding its senselessness into forms."

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 24, 2013 at 7:23 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

With repeated references to Daisy's voice, narrator Nick Carraway demonstrates throughout the narrative the confusion he has felt in the opening chapter when she calls him an "absolute rose":

This was untrue. I am not even faintly like a rose. She was only extemporizing, but a stirring warmth flowed from her, as if her heart was trying to come out to you concealed in one of the breathless, thrilling words.

But, after he sees the "absolute smirk" on Daisy's face, Nick realizes that she has engaged in mere frivolity. Thenceforth, as critic Caren J. Town writes, 

...a dialectic of intention and interpretation results in patterns that finally come to dominate the novel.

and Nick is never in absolute control of the story. This is why Daisy's voice is alluded to in so many ways until Gatsby tells him her voice "sounds like money," and Nick realizes "that was it." Daisy's is the voice of material wealth, shallow, but compelling. She carries the "well-forgotten dreams from age to age" just as does Gatsby in his aspiration of a wealth and social position that will earn him the golden girl "high in a white palace."

In Chapter Seven, however, the ethereal dream becomes tainted; Gatsby's "career as Trimalchio" is finished, there is a restlessness and carelessness suggested by the cars driven by Tom and Gatsby, Daisy is reckless and "vulgar" in her demonstration of feeling for Gatsby. Feeling her world shaken by her new emotions and "well-forgotten dreams" that have now re-merged, she struggles to hold back tears and her voice

struggled on through the heat, beating against it, moulding its senselessness into forms. 

Daisy's "heat" of emotion matches the heat of the day, and it takes form in her kiss and her declaration of love. But, Daisy is insincere and shallow and confused by her rising passion, as evinced with her senseless question,

"What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon...and day after than, and the next thirty years?"

For, Daisy knows that she will not divorce Tom and give up her life of material wealth and social position. Her cynical remark is answered by Jordan's odd, wry response, 

"Don't e morbid...Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."

For Daisy and her social set, as expressed in Macbeth, "nothing is but what is not." She is among what Nick later calls "careless people," concerned only with their social status and material possessions--an amoral group," beating against their positions like moths against the light and music of the Jazz Age, in a meaningless life based solely on material possession.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes