The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby book cover
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I need help analyzing this quote. "You make me feel uncivilized, Daisy,’ I confessed on my second glass of corky but rather impressive claret. ‘Can’t you talk about crops or something?"

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While much of Fitzgerald's novel focuses on Gatsby and Daisy, Nick's position as the narrator contextualizes the events that occur that summer in NYC. The quote provided occurs early in Nick's memoir, recounting his visit with Tom and Daisy. While cousins, Nick and Daisy are not close, nor are Nick and Tom who attended college together. Yet Tom and Daisy provide Nick a slight social opening in the world of New York and Long Island.

Although Nick had attended Yale and been in WWI, he is marked as being fairly naive and provincial. Growing up in St. Paul, he lacks the worldliness that Tom and Daisy suggest. In this way, Nick is more like Gatsby than the rest of the New York world. In this particular episode, Nick seems awestruck by Daisy and Jordan Baker's easy manner of conversation, as well as the cool, disinterested manner in which these women seem to take everything, including the pace of their evening:

They knew that presently dinner would be over and a little later the evening too would be over and casually put away. It was sharply different from the West where an evening was hurried from phase to phase toward its close in a continually disappointed anticipation or else in sheer nervous dread of the moment itself.

Nick's own sense of time in the West is a bit ambiguous but it creates a striking contrast to Daisy's. Nick's family was in the hardware business, we learn, and while he certainly has wealth and prestige, he seems more comfortable in the earnest environment of St. Paul, where time was precious, conversations had purpose, and people cared for others. This sense of the greater decency that Nick claims marks people outside of Daisy's world will be important in assessing how he can conclude that Gatsby was superior to the other characters, despite being associated with gangster life.

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