In chapter 4, who is Klipspringer?

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Klipspringer, according to Nick, is a Gatsby party guest who spends so much time in Gatsby's mansion that Nick believes he has no other home. He is nicknamed "the boarder." The idea of Klipspringer's homelessness is reinforced when Nick sees him, the morning Gatsby is scheduled to meet Daisy, wandering on the beach "hungrily."

On this monumental day, as Gatsby is showing Daisy his mansion, he, Daisy, and Nick run into Klipspringer. Showing a Tom-like side that Nick doesn't like to acknowledge, Gatsby commands his hanger-on to play the piano and sing for his supper, so to speak. He plays, notably, "The Love Nest," and we hear him sing the following lyrics:



It is possible to go to Youtube and listen to this popular 1920s song. It is an interesting intrusion of a social justice theme—a reminder of the poor, like Klipsinger—into a magical moment. Reality exists even at the center of the dream, and it will intrude again as the novel unfolds.

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Our narrator, Nick, calls Klipspringer "the boarder," because he stays at Gatsby's house so often that he practically lives there.  Though most people at Gatsby's come and go, Klipspringer stays.  He is a minor character, though he later becomes an example of the type of person who befriends Gatsby (you'll see what I mean once you finish the novel).

The only other time the novel mentions Klipspringer is when Nick, Daisy, and Gatsby are at Gatsby's mansion, and Gatsby calls Klipspringer to the room to play the piano for them, thus "setting the mood" for Daisy and Gatsby.  There (at the end of chapter five), Klipspringer seems slightly awkward and taken aback, stuttering about his lack of skills ("I don't play well.  I don't -- I hardly play at all.  I'm all out of prac----") (100).  Here and at the end of the novel are the only two places we catch glimpses of the type of person Klipspringer is.

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