Homework Help

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

user profile pic

hammer9 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 1, 2009 at 1:53 AM via web

dislike 1 like

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

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 1, 2009 at 3:07 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

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."

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes