Can someone explain this quote from "The Great Gatsby" to me?"But in the meantime this image has changed and Middle West seems like the ragged edge of the universe now". What does Nick mean here?...

Can someone explain this quote from "The Great Gatsby" to me?

"But in the meantime this image has changed and Middle West seems like the ragged edge of the universe now". What does Nick mean here? Why does he go back in such a ragged edge? I’m very confused.

Asked on by doger1

2 Answers | Add Yours

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Nick is from the Midwest, and has moved East to be among the wealthy.  His cousin, Daisy and Tom, are among these people and in fact, live just across the bay from his home.  He is at first enamored by the glamour of the East and their way of life--the parties, the wealth, the fancy cars, and the clothes.  After a while, Nick realizes that this way of living is a facade.  The glitz and glitter cover up the corruption and the illegal activity that helps them fund this way of life.  Nick is introduced to this most by his neighbor, Jay Gatsby.   In addition, Jay's way of living and his repeated attempts to win Daisy from Tom and to impress all his party guests eventually leads to his death.  Nick witnesses all of this and becomes jaded.  This is what he means in the quote,"But in the meantime this image has changed and Middle West seems like the ragged edge of the universe now."  The glamorous image of the East has been tainted and muddied by all the horror and corruption Nick has witnessed.  Some of his innocence has been robbed from him, his faith in humanity.  Nick does decide to return to the West, but at the time of this quote, his homeland seems very far away--the "ragged edge of the universe".  It's ragged since his vision of life is skewed a little now...not nearly as clear and full of faith as it once was.  Everything he believed in has been ripped apart, thus the universe also has ragged edges and his "heaven" or Midwest home is at the ragged edge of it.

We’ve answered 318,989 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question