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In The Great Gatsby, why does Nick say... “[Gatsby] couldn’t possibly leave Daisy...

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user346074 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 26, 2013 at 12:30 AM via web

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  1. In The Great Gatsby, why does Nick say... “[Gatsby] couldn’t possibly leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do. He was clutching at some last hope and I couldn’t bear to shake him free”?

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:50 PM (Answer #1)

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Even before the car accident and Myrtle's death, Gatsby's chances with Daisy are put in jeopardy. The confrontation with Tom does not go well for Gatsby, ultimately, and he loses esteem in Daisy's eyes. Yet, he cannot give up hope. 

The night of the accident he stands vigil outside of Daisy's house to make sure Tom doesn't do something violent. Then he goes home where Nick comes to warn him that his car will be traced, suggesting that Gatsby take some kind of action. 

Gatsby refuses and plans to use his pool for the first time that summer and wait for a phone call from Daisy. 

Gatsby explains that he has to stay to protect Daisy, the first “nice” girl he has ever known.

Here we see that Gatsby is fully dedicated to 1) achieving his established goals (to marry Daisy) and 2) to the ideals that stand behind that goal (honor, chivalry, even love). 

Gatsby is unwilling to give up on his dream and unwilling to compromise his ideals. He will not leave or give on on Daisy until she gives up on him. Knowing that Daisy will almost certainly give up on Gatsby, Nick realizes in the moment how poignantly different Gatsby is from Daisy, Tom, Jordan and everyone else he has met that summer. As he leaves he says to Gatsby:

“They’re a rotten crowd. You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”

This utterance may explain Nick's choice of taking responsibility for Gatsby's funeral, as a way to honor a person who seemed worthy of being honored - for his ideals, if not for his actual achievements. 

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