I'm looking for the follow text passage in the last chapter:"That's my Middle West, not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede...." It is in the first part or last part of the chapter? What...

I'm looking for the follow text passage in the last chapter:

"That's my Middle West, not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede...."

It is in the first part or last part of the chapter? What does this passage mean? Why does Midwest open and close the novel?

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my book it's page 177, about half way down the page.  "That's my Middle West--not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow.  I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house in a city where dwellings are still called through decades by a family's name."

Nick Carraway is marveling at how things have ended--how Jay Gatsby has met his end and Daisy and Tom have disappeared, and all the hundreds of people who flocked to Gatsby's parties were no where to be found for his funeral. He is reminiscing about his comfort zone, where he grew up, and what he understands.  Nick does not understand how people behave here in the East.  It is foreign to him as if he had been from different country altogether.  There is tradition in him, and it seems that tradition--or at least some predictable, comfortable part of society--is absent from this community.  He and the others were perhaps unable to adapt to life in the East, and therefore have been maimed in some horrible way.  At the very least, they have all been changed by the events that have occurred in the book, and Nick Carraway has decided to return home and leave the East and all its corruption to themselves.  The characters come from the Midwest, and some of them, like Nick, are able to return.

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

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