In  "The Great Gatsby", what about the library at Gatsby's house surprises Nick?

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luannw's profile pic

luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

I assume you are referring to the scene in chapter 3 with the man in the owl-eyed glasses.  It isn't Nick who is surprised; it is the man in the owl-eyed glasses. Nick and Jordan are at one of Gatsby's parties, the first one Nick attended.  They go into the library where they encounter the man in the glasses.  The man tells them, with surprise in his voice, that the books are real - they have pages and everything.  The man goes on to say that he's checked the books and they are indeed authentic books, not cardboard.  He also says that he's quite drunk.  This happens after Nick has heard many contradictory stories about Gatsby and before he's actually met him.  Gatsby, at this point in the story, has a mysterious, almost unreal quality about him. Even though the reader hasn't really met him yet either, enough information has been hinted at to let us know that there is something not quite true about the man.  It's fitting, therefore, for the man in the glasses to suspect that much more about Jay Gatsby, including his books, is not real.

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darknocturne's profile pic

darknocturne | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I agree with luannw. It is not Nick who is surprised, but owl eyes who '[takes Nick and Jordan's] skepticism for granted' (about the books being real).

Might want to reread that chapter before answering questions on it sharrons.

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