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In The Great Gatsby, what is the interpretation of this scene in which Mrs....

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kkp886 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted June 2, 2012 at 11:34 AM via web

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In The Great Gatsby, what is the interpretation of this scene in which Mrs. Sloane lady invites Gatsby to dinner ?

“You come to supper with me,” said the lady enthusiastically. “Both of you.”

This included me. Mr. Sloane got to his feet.

“Come along,” he said — but to her only.

“I mean it,” she insisted. “I’d love to have you. Lots of room.”

Gatsby looked at me questioningly. He wanted to go, and he didn’t see that Mr. Sloane had determined he shouldn’t.

“I’m afraid I won’t be able to,” I said.

“Well, you come,” she urged, concentrating on Gatsby.

Mr. Sloane murmured something close to her ear.

“We won’t be late if we start now,” she insisted aloud.

“I haven’t got a horse,” said Gatsby. “I used to ride in the army, but I’ve never bought a horse. I’ll have to follow you in my car. Excuse me for just a minute.”

The rest of us walked out on the porch, where Sloane and the lady began an impassioned conversation aside.

“My God, I believe the man’s coming,” said Tom. “Doesn’t he know she doesn’t want him?”

“She says she does want him.”

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 2, 2012 at 7:41 PM (Answer #1)

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At one point, Nick describes Gatsby's aspirations as

a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing.

Thus, Jay Gatsby places more value upon the gestures and words of the upperclass than is warranted. Their money and social status notwithstanding, the residents of East Egg possess the same pettiness and idiosyncrasies of other people.  In fact, they certainly are more pretentious. 

When Mrs. Sloane invites Gatsby to join them, she knows that he has no horse; therefore, she assumes that Gatsby will decline the invitation as, of course, Nick Carraway does.  But, with his ingenuous nature coupled to his desire to become part of Daisy Buchanan's world, Gatsby accepts the invitation.  It is apparent that Mrs. Sloane toys with him, knowing that Gatsby is unsuspecting of her treachery.  Her husband, who is less subtle, preceives no reason to have any conversation with Gatsby for any reason, just as Tom Buchanan feels.

This scene underscores the danger of Gatsby's idealism. Here he is slighted and victimized by his naivete; this scene presages others to come that will have more harmful results. 

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