After Jordan tells Nick the story of Daisy, Nick says that Gatsby "came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor. "How does the metphor of birth help explain what...

After Jordan tells Nick the story of Daisy, Nick says that Gatsby "came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor. "

How does the metphor of birth help explain what Gatsby's behavior had meant to Nick up to then?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Towards the beginning of Chapter 4, Gatsby invites Nick to have lunch with him in New York City. During their trip, Gatsby tells Nick about his past and attempts to convince Nick that he hails from a wealthy family and is an educated Oxford graduate. Gatsby continues to elaborate on his accomplishments by telling Nick that he is a jewel collector, a big game hunter, and that he has received medals for his exploits in WWII. Nick is skeptical about Gatsby's stories and even struggles to control his laughter. Nick refers to Gatsby as a "character" and questions whether Gatsby is the man he truly claims to be. Furthermore, Nick becomes increasingly curious when Gatsby introduces him to the shady figure, Meyer Wolfshiem.

Later on in the chapter, Jordan recounts the true story of Gatsby and Daisy's love affair before Daisy ended up marrying Tom while Gatsby was at war. After Jordan explains the reason why Gatsby bought a home across from Daisy's, Nick says,

"He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor" (Fitzgerald, 42).

Nick's metaphor represents his understanding of Gatsby's true nature. Before Nick heard the story about Gatsby's past, he viewed Gatsby as an enigmatic figure who seemed to act without purpose. After hearing the truth concerning Gatsby's affection for Daisy, Nick feels as if the genuine Jay Gatsby has come to life. Nick no longer questions Gatsby's intentions or wonders why he holds extravagant parties. Thanks to Jordan, Nick realizes that Gatsby is simply attempting to win Daisy's admiration and recreate his past.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that what is going on here is that Nick Carraway had not seen Gatsby as a real person before then.  After Jordan tells Nick about Daisy, Gatsby is "born" in his eyes -- he becomes a real person with a purpose.

Up until then, Gatsby's life had seemed pretty pointless to Nick.  Why have the big house for just him?  Why have all these parties when he doesn't even like them and doesn't really enjoy the people?  It seemed meaningless and unreal.

Now that he finds out it's all for Daisy, it makes sense and Gatsby can be a real person.

 

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The Great Gatsby

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