In regards to The Great Gatsby, is this quote right?"Before the first World war, Middle West is described as a peacefulness, traditional , morality, honesty, close relationship, respect, faith,...

In regards to The Great Gatsby, is this quote right?

"Before the first World war, Middle West is described as a peacefulness, traditional , morality, honesty, close relationship, respect, faith, community place and the warm center of the world. But in the meantime this image has changed and Middle West seems like the ragged edge of the universe now.”

Asked on by kamerir

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Yes and no.  Can the quotation be found within The Great Gatsby as it stands?  No.  Part of it does, however.  On the first few pages of the book, Nick puts the Midwest into perspective:  "Instead of being the warm center of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe--so I decided to go East and learn the bond business" (3).  It is important to realize that this was Nick's take on the situation.  Nick expands on his original ideas about the Midwest in "Chapter IX" when he says, "That's my Middle West--not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth . . ." (177). 

In addition, however, the quotation you give above (at least the beginning of it) is in fact true, although not found within The Great Gatsby.  We surmise the truth of this statement by reflecting further on the quote from the actual novel.  If Nick was rebelling from a past opinion about the Midwest, then it may in fact seem like the "ragged edge of the universe" to him.  Likewise, one can assume that before World War I the Midwest actually was seen as peaceful, moral, and honest because of what we (as readers) observe within our narrator.  Nick is, in fact, peaceful, moral, and honest.  Nick's father must have been as well, for in the first few sentences of the book, Fitzgerald's readers get some good advice from Mr. Carraway:  "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one . . . just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had" (1).  Peaceful, moral, and honest?  I think so.

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