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Could you please tell me the significance of "terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields...

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coutelle | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 20, 2013 at 3:10 PM via web

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Could you please tell me the significance of "terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields " in the description of Gatsby's car in the chapter 4 of The Great Gatsby

I’d seen it. Everybody had seen it. It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns. Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather conservatory we started to town. 
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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 20, 2013 at 3:36 PM (Answer #1)

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The phrase "terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields" is meant to indicate how intricate and extravagant the car looks. 

The car would have had windshields in the front, potentially in a series of wind-shields where some might be removed and others left in place. Also, there may have been wind-shields around the sides of the car, which were not ubiquitous in that era. 

Today most cars are not convertibles. Most cars have "hard-tops". In the 1920s, convertibles were more common than they are today and they did not all have windows/wind-shields down the side of the car. They often had a single wind-shield in front, which was removable. 

Gatsby's car was unusual for its extravagance and its many wind-shields. This is meant to convey some of the opulence and ostentatious nature of his choice of automobile. His car is part of him "showing off". 

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