In Ch. 7, how does the hot weather contribute to the stress of the entire showdown at the hotel?F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the chapter opens, Nick rides the train whose passengers emit signals of their perturbance with the heat.  For instance, the conductor repeatedly remarks, "Hot!....Hot!..." and the passengers' tempers suggest the tumultously hot incident that is later to come in the New York City hotel room as

In this heat every extra gesture was an affront to the common store of life.

Likewise, at the Buchanans' home there is heated tension that will carry over into the hotel room in New York City. Daisy and Jordan lay "like silver idols" holding down their dresses before the fans, telling Nick that they cannot move.  In the other room is heard the annoyed voice of Tom, who talks with Myrtle Wilson on the phone.  When he returns to the front room, Tom holds out his hand with obvious dislike to Gatsby.  But, when he leaves again, Daisy steals a kiss from Jay Gatsby, telling him she loves him.  As Jordan scolds her for being "vulgar," Daisy sits down guiltily on the couch, having acted in the figurative heat of the moment's passion. Then, Pammy, her daughter appears, the visible reality of what Gatsby has refused to believe.

After Tom returns with iced drinks, he asks Gatsby outside where he can show him "the place" in order to prove his prowess.  But, Gatsby counters with "I'm right across from you." As they re-enter the room, Daisy comments,

"But it's so hot....And everything's so confused.  Let's all go to town!"

Nick narrates that her voice struggles on through the heat, "beating against it, mouldering its senselessness into forms. Having heard Daisy declare love for Gatsby, Tom stands with his mouth agape,

His mouth opened a little and he looked at Gatsby and then back at Daisy as if he had just recognized her as someone he knew a long time ago.

With flashing eyes with the heat of his heart, Tom says, "i'm perfectly willing to go to town.  Come on--we're all going to town."  But when no one moves, he yells "Come on!"  Daisy tells him that it is too hot for them to argue and goes upstairs.  Outside, the men shuffle pebbles around in the driveway as Tom growls, "Women get these notions in their heads---"

Throughout their subsequent conversations there are heated innuendoes made. When Tom asks to take Gatsby car's and is told that there is not enough gas, he says he can just stop at the drug store because "You can buy anything at a drug store nowadays"; then he looks pointedly at Daisy, who knows that Myrtle Wilson lives by the drug store.  He opens the door for Daisy, referring to Gatsby's car as a "circus wagon," ridiculing Gatsby's attempts to win Daisy.

After leaving the "drug store" where Tom learns from George Wilson that he is thinking of taking Myrtle away.  Now, "Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic" as both his women are slipping from his control. With no relief in the stifling hotel room from the heat of temper, jealousy, and passion, Tom confronts Gatsby about his past; accusing him of being "a bootlegger" and "a common swindler" and "Nobody from Nowhere," Gatsby pushes him further by telling him that Daisy does not love him." Sudenly, Daisy begins to change as she draws herself in; only Gatsby's "dead dream" fights on, but he has lost Daisy, whose passion has burned out.  Nick notes this as he remarks when they leave New York,

So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.

In her distraction, Daisy then hits Myrtle as she drives Gatsby's "death car" that defuses her emotional crisis with Tom and Gatsby.

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The Great Gatsby

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