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What is the interpretation of this passage from Chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby? "...Only...

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taxi889 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted June 12, 2012 at 8:36 PM via web

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What is the interpretation of this passage from Chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby? "...Only the dead dream fought on as the afternon slipped away..."

"...Only the dead dream fought on as the afternon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling, unhappily, undespairingly, toward that lost voice across the room."

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 13, 2012 at 12:02 AM (Answer #1)

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After driving to New York City where there is no relief from the stifling heat, the emotions of the fivesome of Jordan, Nick, Tom,Daisy, and Gatsby also are elevated to a heated level.  In Chapter Seven of The Great Gatsby the climax of the narrative occurs as Gatsby urges Daisy to tell her husband that she does not love him.  But, although Daisy denies loving Tom, she does so in a voice that reveals "perceptible reluctance." When she looks over at Gatsby, Daisy exclaims to him, "I love you now--Isn't that enough?"

Tom does not find it difficult to forgive Daisy her affair since he himself has had several; besides, he does not really love her. But, Gatsby is truly hurt at her hesitancy to declare her love for him as well as her qualification that she loves him "now"; for, he needs Daisy's love to reach his ideal, or his American Dream will die. 

Indeed, it is after this shallow demonstration of affection, this less than perfect love, along with Tom's exposure of him as a bootlegger which Gatsby futilely denies that the romantic and idealized dream begins to die.  With all his denials of criminality, Daisy draws "further and further into herself," yet Gatsby desperately seeks to cling to his illusionary dream, a dream that "is no longer tangible."  His hopes are lost as Daisy begs Tom to go home.

Jay Gatsby's American Dream, predicated upon attaining the love of Daisy Buchanan, is dead. For Daisy is no longer the "grail," but instead is "that lost voice." Tom describes Daisy and Gatsby as "gone...isolated like ghosts even from our pity." Thus, after this scene, Tom narrates,

So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.

Symbolically, the American Dream has died and physically, poor Mrytle is mudered.

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