In Chapter five of "The Great Gatsby", why is Gatsby dressed in a gold tie and silver shirt?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gatsby is aware that Daisy requires wealth. She grew up in the lap of luxury, and she married a man who can support her in the manner she's been accustomed to since childhood. Daisy needs to feel supported, secure. When Gatsby left for the war, despite the fact that she evidently loved him, she could not prevail upon herself to remain loyal to him because she needed someone present, someone to reassure her. Further, before he left, the truth is that Gatsby "had deliberately given Daisy a sense of security; he let her believe that he was a person from much the same stratum as herself—that he was fully able to take care of her." However, he knew very well that he was not. Now that he's found her, he must prove to her that he is capable of taking care of her, of providing her with the kind of life she seems to require in order to be happy. In order to do this, he dresses to the nines, sends over a "greenhouse" of flowers, and even has his gardener fix up Nick's yard. Nothing can be shabby because he needs to impress her, to impress his status upon her. What could be better than silver and gold, two precious metals, to convey his status? His appearance is rich because he needs her to understand, without his having to say it, that he is rich, that she can be assured of him now.

dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jay Gatsby’s clothes symbolize his need to be ostentatious and show off what he has to impress the love of his life.  In chapter 5, Gatsby is going to be reunited with his lost love Daisy for the first time in five years.  He knows that she will be impressed by his money, however they are meeting at Nick’s house, not Gatsby’s house.  Gatsby has to find a way to show off how wealthy he has become so that Daisy will be impressed by his money and, therefore, fall in love with him.  Gatsby’s need to show off and be pretentious is also evident throughout the novel in other sections; for example when his car is described – he has a green Rolls Royce – and when Daisy goes to look at his house and she sees all of the different color shirts that he owns.  The need for Gatsby to wear clothes that will make him stand out coincides for the need that he feels to impress Daisy in order to get her to fall in love with him.

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The Great Gatsby

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