What are the effects of the song from Chapter Six of The Great Gatsby: "Three O'clcok in the Morning "?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Referred to as a "Lyric Realist," F. Scott Fitzgerald employs both color imagery and subliminal music as "objective correlatives" for nuances of meaning in his novel of the Jazz Age and its illusionary dreams.  This "sad little waltz" has lyrics that tell of a man's woe and contemplation of suicide at having lost his "baby" :

....Well if I don't find my baby

I'm going to the golden ground...

Oh, goodbye everybody

Lord, I believe this is the end.

Indeed, then, it seems that this song does foreshadow the denouement of Gatsby's dream of finding and reclaiming the Daisy of his youth.  Pehaps, Daisy, too, seeks that elusive past as she sings along with the music in 

a husky, rhythmic whisper, bringing out a meaning in each word that it had never had before and would never have again.

As before, Daisy's voice plays "murmurous tricks" with both herself and with others.  As she sings to the melancholy waltz, she wonders about the permanence of Gatsby's dream, worried that perhaps he may encounter some beautiful and alluring girl who will erase his romantic vision of her.  But, Gatsby feels that he is climbing a "ladder" to the past in order to reclaim Daisy and reach his dream, the "incomparable milk of wonder."  As with the song, one can listen and hope that the singer will find his "baby" much as Gatsby would, or one can listen to evocations of the pathos of the attempts to reclaim the past as does Daisy.

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The Great Gatsby

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