The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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In The Great Gatsby, what is the meaning of the "butler's nose" anecdote told by Daisy?

Daisy's anecdote about the butler's nose in The Great Gatsby carries multiple meanings and interpretations. The anecdote shows how the accumulation of wealth and possessions has dire, hurtful consequences for others. We can also see the story as a way to learn about Daisy. Perhaps her sympathies and beliefs don't align with those of her prejudiced husband.

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Although The Great Gatsby is often understood as a novel about the wealthy, Fitzgerald continually weaves in references to the poorer classes through anecdotes, songs, and other seeming asides. One of these anecdotes is a story Daisy tells about her butler the first night Nick comes for dinner:

"It’s about the butler’s nose. Do you want to hear about the butler’s nose?"

"That’s why I came over tonight."

"Well, he wasn’t always a butler; he used to be the silver polisher for some people in New York that had a silver service for two hundred people. He had to polish it from morning till night until finally it began to affect his nose—"

"Things went from bad to worse," suggested Miss Baker.

"Yes. Things went from bad to worse until finally he had to give up his position."

One of the first things we might notice is that for all his later disavowals of rich people like Daisy and Tom , Nick is utterly flippant about this story, more interested seemingly, at this point, in impressing Daisy than...

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