Analyze the following ironic quotes:
1: "I hate careless people. That's why I like you." (58)
2: "I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife" (130)
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“I hate careless people. That’s why I like you.”
The above remark is made by Jordan Baker, a close friend of the Buchanan's, to Nick Carraway, the narrator. The two had just gotten together after having met at the Buchanan's house and again at one of Jay Gatsby's fabulous parties, some time before. They were travelling in a car and Jordan was driving.
The irony in this remark is both situational and verbal. Firstly it is situational since Jordan has been driving recklessly and Nick has commented about this.
“You’re a rotten driver,” I protested. “Either you ought to be more careful, or you oughtn’t to drive at all.”
He later also remarks:
“Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself.”
It is then that Jordan states that she hopes that she never will and makes the quoted remark. The situational irony lies in the fact that she has just behaved in a very careless manner: ' ... she passed so close to some workmen that our fender flicked a button on one man’s coat'. The implication is that she hates herself. The verbal irony lies in the fact that she actually says what she says, immediately after what she had just done.
There is also further evidence that Jordan is quite careless. She is a professional golf player and there had been a rumour published in the newspapers 'that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi final round'. Nick also comments that she was 'incurably dishonest' - making it quite clear that she is unconcerned.
The second ironic remark is made by Tom Buchanan:
“I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife.'
The remark is made about Jay Gatsby at a time when Tom, Daisy, Jordan, Nick and Jay had gone to the Plaza Hotel during a hot day. They were in a rented apartment when Tom verbally confronted Jay about his affair with Daisy. Tom had asked Jay what kind of row he was trying to cause in his house. When Daisy answered by saying that it was actually Tom causing the row, he had this outburst. Greater irony is created when Tom states:
Well, if that’s the idea you can count me out. . . . Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next they’ll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white.”
The irony lies in Tom's hypocrisy. He says that he should be excluded from the view he expresses, when actually, he should include himself. He takes the stand of a morally upright individual, but he has, in fact, been involved in a number of extra-marital affairs, one of them currently involving Myrtle Wilson. His sneeringly self-righteous stance is shocking. He had previously hurt Daisy and when the affair was discovered, he stopped but started a new one, whilst never apologising to his wife. His attitude here is therefore clearly not supported by his actions.
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