What is the effect of the setting in Chapter Five upon which Daisy comments in The Great Gatsby?..and there was a pink and golden billow of foamy clouds above the sea ..."I d like to just get one...

What is the effect of the setting in Chapter Five upon which Daisy comments in The Great Gatsby?

..and there was a pink and golden billow of foamy clouds above the sea

..."I d like to just get one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you around ."

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Chapter Five includes much maudlin sentimentality as Gatsby seeks the death of time by symbolically knocking Nick's clock off the mantelpiece.  And, as Daisy reappears in his life, Gatsby seeks the old romantic feelings of their encounters from five years ago.  As they talk alone, Gatsby "beams" and Daisy cries; when she speaks, her throat is

...full of aching, grieving beauty, [that] told only of her unexpected joy.

Later, when Daisy comes to Gatsby's house, he reevaluates everything "according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes." As Daisy sees Gatsby's shirts with which he covers the table, she buries her head in them and cries "stormily."

"They're such beautiful shirts...It makes me sad because I've never seen such--such beautiful shirts before."

With the reality of Daisy's presence, Gatsby's "count of enchanted objects had diminished by one" as he realizes that the green light at the end of the pier is but a common green light on a dock now. Yet Daisy pursues the sentimentality of the moment as, viewing the "pink and golden billow of foamy clouds above the sea," symbolic of herself--a romantic and optimistic vision with wealth above a sea of danger--she urgently calls Gatsby to her,

"I'd like to just get one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you around."

This line is suggestive of some lines from "In the Pink," a poem by Siegfried Sassoon.  In this poem, the soldier's lover, who is romantic, creates briefly for him a false hope in the delight of a few stolen moments away from the reality of war:

To-night he’s in the pink; but soon he’ll die.
And still the war goes on—

In this chapter of The Great Gatsby, Daisy mimicks the emotion of the moment and seeks to create a romantic illusion; however, for Gatsby the green light is merely a light on the dock, and the real Daisy has "tumbled short of his dreams." Gatsby's "war" with the past and present continues as the dreaminess of his memory vanishes, and is no longer "in the pink" of any cloudiness of thought. Now, he "adjusted himself a little, visibly."

 

 

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