Who and what are the speaker(s), plot, and significance of the following quotes from The Great Gatsby?1. "Don't talk. I want to hear what happens." 2. "It's just a crazy old thing, " she said. " I...

Who and what are the speaker(s), plot, and significance of the following quotes from The Great Gatsby?

1. "Don't talk. I want to hear what happens."

2. "It's just a crazy old thing, " she said. " I just slip it on sometimes whenI don't care whatI look like."

3. "'As a matter of fact you needn't bother to ascertain. I ascertained. They're real"... He snatched the book from me and replaced it hastily on its shelf, muttering that if one brick was removed the whole library was liable to collapse."

4. "I had on a new plaid skirt also that blew a little in the wind, and whenever this happened the red, white, and blue banners in front of all the houses streched out stiff and said TUT-TUT-TUT-TUT, in a disapproving way....The largest of the banners and the largest of the lawns belonged to Daisy Fay's house."

5. "I've got my hands full," I said. "I'm much obliged butI couldn't take on any more work."

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

While I'm not sure any of these quotes are integral to the major themes of the novel, they are interesting.

1.  Jordan Baker says this to Nick on the first night they meet.  Tom has taken a phone call from his "woman in New York" (Myrtle), and Daisy goes, presumably, to scold or somehow admonish him.  Nick, unaware of the potential drama, keeps talking; Jordan, who loves gossip, "shushes" him so she can hear any tantalizing bits of conversation. Significance--we find out Tom has a mistress.

2.  Myrtle says this to a neighbor lady in her "love nest" apartment in the city.  She is striving to be a woman of class and style, but the only one she impresses is a "nobody."  Significance--we understand Myrtle may now have access to money but it doesn't make her the lady she perceives herself to be,

3.  A nameless guy I call the "owl-eyed man" says this at one of Gatsby's parties.  He's in the library and has ascertained that the books are real, not just for show.  His revelation is important to us, though, because we find out the books are uncut (pages used to be printed in a connected "flat" and had to be sliced apart before reading).  So, they are real, but they're also unread.  Significance--Gatsby has money, but he has surrounded himself with things indicative of class without any real connection to them.

4.  Jordan says this when recounting to Nick the story of Jay and Daisy when they first met and fell in love. Significance--without this story, we have no history which fully explains the Gatsby-Daisy relationship.

5.  Nick says this to Gatsby when he offer Nick a fumbling bribe to host Daisy for an afternoon tea.  Gatsby wants this favor; it's something essentially important to him.  Because he is inept at relationships other than those dealing with business, Gatsby doesn't know any other way to ask a favor from an acquaintance/friend.  Significance--it displays Gatsby's ineptness and is a precursor moment for the fateful meeting between the former lovers.

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