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What is the precise meaning of the phrase "that had gone into loving" in the following...

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coutelle | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 9, 2013 at 7:22 PM via web

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What is the precise meaning of the phrase "that had gone into loving" in the following excerpt from Chapter Six of The Great Gatsby:

He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was....

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 9, 2013 at 8:54 PM (Answer #1)

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F. Scott Fitzgerald's portrayal of the Jazz Age in The Great Gatsby depicts a "hidden boundary in America's vision of life where reality ends and illusion begins" (Enotes). This is the dilemma with which Jay Gatsby is faced in Chapter Six as he wishes to recover "some idea of himself...that had gone into loving Daisy." For, after he kisses Daisy in the flesh, his dream comes to its end as Daisy becomes "incarnate" and Gatsby cannot understand why she will not tell Tom she does not love him. His dream that she will divorce Tom and be free and they can "go home again" to what they were five years ago has not been realized. Therefore, Gatsby wants to recover the image of himself as he was when an officer and Daisy fell in love with him; he desires to recapture the attitudes and convictions that he had at that point in time--that person that he was then.  For, he believes that if he can start from this point again he truly can repeat the past and be more successful in winning the Daisy of his dreams.

As Gatsby returns to the past and talks of it, he hopes to recover that "which had gone into loving Daisy," the feelings, the atmosphere, the attitudes, the romanticism of the moments when they "stopped...and turned toward each other." If he can find these treasures again, Gatsby believes that he will, then, reach that "secret place" of his dreams and "gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder"; that is, reach the American Dream for which he searches.

Nick comments,

Through all he said, even through his appalling sentimentality, I was reminded of something--an elusive fhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I had heard somewhere a long time ago.

Indeed, it is a most idealistic Jay Gatsby that seeks what has gone into loving years ago and is lost to time.

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