What is the meaning of "keenly" in this excerpt of The Great Gatsby, chapter 7? “There was two cars,” said Michaelis. “One comin’, one goin’, see?” “Going where?” asked the...
What is the meaning of "keenly" in this excerpt of The Great Gatsby, chapter 7?
“There was two cars,” said Michaelis. “One comin’, one goin’, see?”
“Going where?” asked the policeman keenly.
In Fitzgerald's novel, cars are representative of the characters as well as symbolic of the restless, headlong nature of such characters as Tom and Daisy Buschanan and Gatsby. In another metaphor, Jordan Baker refers to "bad drivers," people who never consider the effects of their actions on others. There is also a carelessness and lack of direction, then, connoted in driving, suggestive of the directionless and reckless American society of the 1920s.
In Chapter Seven, after the hit-and-run accident which has killed Myrtle Wilson, people on the road stop; at first, Tom cheers the wreck as good for Wilson's business, but then he becomes anxious,
"There's some bad trouble here," said Tom excitedly.
A policeman is on the scene and Tom accosts him, asking what has happened. The policeman tells him, "Auto hit her. Ins'antly killed." But, when Michaelis states that there were two cars, the policeman with senses sharpened, or "keenly," wishes to know where they were headed, for he is very curious about the answer, thinking that there may be a connection between the two cars, but he has the wrong two cars.