Considering chapter 4 of "Great Gatsby," what is meant by Nick's comment below...Nick's comment: "Then it had not been merely the stars to which he aspired on that June night. He came alive to me,...

Considering chapter 4 of "Great Gatsby," what is meant by Nick's comment below...

Nick's comment: "Then it had not been merely the stars to which he aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor".

Asked on by sean903

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appletrees's profile pic

appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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The first sentence refers to Daisy: the sole and intense purpose of Gatsby's existence. She represents that thing "beyond the stars" that Gatsby aspires to. His entire adult life has been devoted to becoming the kind of man he thought would be worthy for Daisy to marry. Daisy's family was wealthy and socially respectable; Gatsby came from nothing. Their youthful love affair ended in tragedy because Daisy felt she couldn't marry someone with no money or social standing. In becoming wealthy and socially viable, Gatsby also became decadent. The "purposeless splendor" of his lifestyle is revealed to be far deeper and more significant, as Nick realizes Gatsby's singular purpose is to win back Daisy. In Nick's eyes, this makes Gatsby even more impressive and admirable, because Gatsby represents chivalry and romance in a decadent modern age.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 4 of "The Great Gatsby," Jay Gatsby comes alive as the great Romantic American hero.  With the confidence of this hero, Gatsby balances himself "on the dashboard of his car eith that resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American...."  And, as they ride in the large car that has "fenders spread like wings" and a "labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns," Gatsby seems almost an Apollo as he says about himself, "I'll tell you God's truth" and relates his history with surprising eloquence.  He even shows Nick a photograph of young men in blazers loafing in an archway like those at Oxford with Gatsby as well as a medal of valor.

Nick, now, perceives Jay Gatsby in a new light.  Like a mythical hero, Gatsby in his "caramel-colored suit" with his "gorgeous car" and his "eloquent sentences" has charmed Nick as a mythical character charms the listeners of his tale.

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