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In The Great Gatsby, what does Gatsby's car represent?

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In The Great Gatsby, what does Gatsby's car represent?

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mshurn's profile pic

Posted (Answer #1)

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Gatsby's Rolls-Royce figures prominently in the novel. Nick first describes it as "gorgeous" with a horn that plays a three-note melody. His description then becomes more detailed:

It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length . . . and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns.

The extravagance of Gatsby's car represents his enormous wealth. However, it suggests not the muted elegance of "old money," but instead the lavish, gaudy excess of "new money." Gatsby's car symbolizes his place in society; he has money, but he will never be accepted in Daisy's world of old family names and inherited wealth. Tom alludes to this distinction when he refers to Gatsby's car as a "circus wagon."

readerofbooks's profile pic

Posted (Answer #2)

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The best way to answer the question is to give the description of it. Here is what the text says:

Gatsby's car was a ''rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hatboxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns'

Again, the text says:

''labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns.''

Based on these descriptions, it is clear that the Rolls Royce is over the top, excessive, and meant to impress. The second quote show the glitz and glamor. All of this fits Gastby's personality and persona - all for show. The irony is that this type of wealth is tacky and so will never be accepted by the old money. It tries too hard. From this perspective, the car symbolizes that Gatsby will always be an outsider. 

More importantly, the car symbolizes Gatsby's downfall, as the car will crash and kill Myrtle. In the end, Gatsby, for all this wealth, will come to ruin as well. 

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