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What is the meaning of "over-dreamed" in the following excerpt of the chapter Five of...

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coutelle | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 22, 2013 at 12:03 AM via web

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What is the meaning of "over-dreamed" in the following excerpt of the chapter Five of The Great Gatsby

I think that voice held him most with its fluctuating, feverish warmth because it couldn’t be over-dreamed—that voice was a deathless song. 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 22, 2013 at 2:01 AM (Answer #1)

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In "Echoes of the Jazz Age," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of this time,

It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire.

Ever the romantic, Gatsby is satirized for his fantasized love for Daisy. For, he is completely enchanted with the voice of Daisy, a voice repeatedly mentioned throughout the narrative. In Chapter One, she laughs "an absurd, charming little laugh"; then, she speaks "in her low, thrilling voice." Later, she tells Nick that he reminds her of a rose, "an absolute rose." Nick comments,

She was only extemporizing but a stirring warmth flowed from her as if her heart was...concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words.

Later, she laughs with "thrilling scorn." And, in Chapter Five, when she visits Gatsby's house for the first time, Daisy's voice initially has "an exhilirating ripple" in it to the romantic Gatsby. After they meet and converse some, Jay tells her the rain has stopped, and she replies,

"I'm glad, Jay." Her throat full of aching, grieving beauty, told only of her unexpected joy.

However, as Jay re-evaluates everything through Daisy's eyes, he passes "through two different states and was entering upon a third." Gatsby has been so obsessed with seeing Daisy and talking with her that now he begins "to run down like an overwound clock." And, as the afternoon progresses, the ideal of Daisy begins "to vanish forever." Indeed, he has "over-dreamed" the voice that Gatsby tells Nick "sounds like money" as he says in Chapter Seven.

Jay Gatsby has gone beyond his imagination in his idealization of Daisy. Moreover, her voice "full of money" yet lures him in his dream of winning her with his wealth, and in his ideal of wealth as the ultimate goal. Truly, in his romantic illusions, Jay Gatsby cannot "over-dream," cannot exceed his wildest dreams as he essays to recreate the past with a "deathless song." 


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