In The Great Gatsby, why does Nick have to restrain his laughter when Gatsby says the following in chapter 4? He is "trying to forget something very sad that happened to me a long time ago."

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Nick is not a cruel person who is restraining laughter over Gatsby saying he has been trying to forget something sad that happened years ago. Instead, Nick is trying to suppress the laughter that burbles up as Gatsby tells him his fabricated version of his life story.

Nick wants to laugh because the story is so ludicrous. First, Gatsby insists he comes from a wealthy family in the midwest. When Nick, who is from the midwest himself, asks where, Gatsby says San Francisco. Since San Francisco is on the Pacific seaboard, very far from the midwest, Nick knows Gatsby is lying—and also knows Gatsby is not educated enough to realize his mistake. (In other words, he is no Oxford graduate.)

At the moment Nick has to choke back his laughter, Gatsby has just told him about drowning his sorrows through big game hunting and searching for rubies in the capital cities of Europe. These are activities associated with India (or possibly Africa), not European capitals. As Nick notes, there is not...

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