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In "The Great Gatsby," what does Nick mean when he says "They’re a rotten...

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jessikers | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 15, 2011 at 10:01 AM via web

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In "The Great Gatsby," what does Nick mean when he says "They’re a rotten crowd...You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.” ?

From the Great Gatsby

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 16, 2011 at 11:15 PM (Answer #1)

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This is Nick's final statement to Gatsby before Gatsby is killed, and Nick says he's proud of himself for saying it because at other, public times Nick does not defend Gatsby.  This quote from The Great Gatsby, along with the one in chapter 1 in which Nick says "Gatsby turned out all right in the end" show Nick's alliance with Gatsby and his dreams.  The irony, of course, is that Nick only privately condones Gatsby, never publicly--a kind of cowardly admission.

The "rotten crowd" to whom Nick is referring is, in general, the bourgeoisie, or established rich like the Buchanans, Tom and Daisy, who run away from their problems and hide behind their money.

Nick points out that even a liar and criminal like Gatsby is better than the other liars and criminals because of his boyish romantic dreams, because his desires are focused on ideals (like love) instead of materialism, and because he did the honorable thing in waiting and sacrificing himself for Daisy, his holy grail.

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