Could you please tell me the precise meaning of the phrase "There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired" from chapter 4 of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald?

It was dark now and as we dipped under a little bridge I put my arm around Jordan’s golden shoulder and drew her toward me and asked her to dinner. Suddenly I wasn’t thinking of Daisy and Gatsby any more but of this clean, hard, limited person, who dealt in universal skepticism and who leaned back jauntily just within the circle of my arm. A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: "There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired."

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When Nick decides to pursue Jordan romantically, he reduces everyone in the world to four categories. These categories are rather cynical, but they describe the people in Nick's life. The pursued and the pursuing are those involved in romantic relationships. In each relationship, there is one person who is trying...

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When Nick decides to pursue Jordan romantically, he reduces everyone in the world to four categories. These categories are rather cynical, but they describe the people in Nick's life. The pursued and the pursuing are those involved in romantic relationships. In each relationship, there is one person who is trying to interest the other and one person who is the object of that person's interest. For example, George Wilson pursues his wife, Myrtle, but she is pursuing Tom Buchanan. Gatsby is pursuing Daisy Buchanan, who is pursuing her husband Tom (at least at the end of the novel). The busy and the tired represent those who sit outside these games. At the end of the novel, Nick becomes tired of Jordan, and he is not involved in a relationship, so he is tired. The busy are those such as Tom who are in wild pursuit of life but who don't stop to think. This statement is Nick's way of reducing the people around him to four simple types. This statement also reflects Nick's growing cynicism, perhaps an outgrowth of the cynical people like Jordan he is spending time with.

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The fact that this phrase is in quotes would suggest that Nick is remembering something he has read or heard, but it is impossible to trace this quote back to a source. Therefore, it must be a quote that Fitzgerald made up for Nick to remember.

Nick, at this point, is deeply involved in Gatsby's romantic pursuit of Daisy. He knows Gatsby plans to reunite for the first time in five years with Daisy. He has heard the story of Gatsby and Daisy's romance, which took place before Gatsby went away with the army.

With all of these stories swirling in his head, Nick reduces humanity to four groups: those pursuing, those being pursued, those who are busy, and those who are tired. These categories imply that only those too busy or too tired aren't involved in the game of love, which is the game of pursuit. At this point, Nick decides to jump into the game himself and pursue Jordan harder, putting his arm around her and kissing her. She has a solidity and reality that all the romantic stories in his head can't match.

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Nick has spent much of his time just before this comment learning more about Gatsby's past. As he has heard more of the story, he has become increasingly aware of how much of Gatsby's life is based on dreams and illusions, hopes that may never come to fruition, and how much of Gatsby's past associations are questionable at best.

Nick has become aware of the background to Daisy's situation, which is also filled with dreams and disappointments. His cousin's marriage and lifestyle are not the substantial and productive existence that Nick valued.

In the aftermath of these depressing revelations about people Nick cared about, he found himself with Jordan - a real person, not a dream or a distant memory. She was physically there, with him, responding to his words and advances without any deceptiveness, without any distraction except the physical attraction between the two of them.

Nick's thoughts are giving voice to his thankfulness to be away from dreams and illusions and disappointments and fantasies. For that moment, he could focus on pursuing Jordan, getting away from the busy times and people, relaxing from the tiredness of trying to understand the life and ways of the Eastern society.

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