What is weird about Nick's drive into New York with Gatsby in The Great Gatsby?

What Nick finds weird during his drive into New York with Gatsby is that Gatsby inquires about his opinion of him before randomly elaborating on his family background. Nick also notices several inconsistencies in Gatsby's stories, which include his claim that he grew up in San Francisco. He also finds Gatsby's claim that he attended Oxford unbelievable and thinks it is strange that Gatsby has no living family members. Gatsby's interaction with the police officer is also odd and concerning.

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Nick Carraway describes his drive into New York City with Jay Gatsby as "disconcerting" and finds Gatsby's mannerisms, stories, and behavior to be quiet strange. Gatsby begins by inquiring about Nick's opinion of him, which is an odd question to ask and makes Nick feel uncomfortable. Gatsby proceeds to elaborate on his wealthy family background and mentions that he went to Oxford. Nick recalls Jordan Baker's concerns regarding Gatsby's education and can tell that he is lying about attending Oxford. When Nick asks Gatsby where he grew up in the Midwest, he responds by saying, "San Francisco," which is not remotely close to the region. Gatsby proceeds to tell Nick that he traveled the world as a "young rajah" collecting jewels, which is a statement Nick finds absolutely ridiculous, and he is forced to restrain his "incredulous laughter."

Gatsby goes on to elaborate on his achievements in the war and tells Nick that he was given a decoration from Montenegro before producing the medal and a picture from his time at Oxford. Nick is astonished by Gatsby's "proof" and does not know what to think about the information he has just received. Gatsby then tells Nick that he is going to make a "big request" but refuses to elaborate further before being pulled over by a police officer. In addition to Gatsby's ambiguous request, Nick also finds it strange when Gatsby avoids a ticket by showing the police officer a white card. Overall, Nick finds Gatsby's mannerisms, stories, and behavior to be unsettling and strange during their drive into the city, and Gatsby's assertions seem to leave Nick with more questions about his identity than ever before.

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While Nick and Gatsby drive into the city, Jay tells about his past, almost as if he is trying to win Nick’s approval. Gatsby is aware of the rumors about him, and he says he doesn’t want Nick to get the wrong impression of him, saying, “I’ll tell you God’s truth.” However, Nick notices some inconsistencies in Gatsby’s story. For instance, Jay claims to have grown up in the Midwest, and when Nick asks specifically where, he replies “San Francisco.” Clearly, Gatsby is unfamiliar with a map of the United States. Also, Gatsby says he was “educated at Oxford” in such a hurried manner that Nick begins to doubt his sincerity. He also claims to have no living relatives at all, which seems odd. Although some of Jay’s story seems suspicions, he is able to produce a photograph and a medal to substantiate his claim that he served in the war. Nick decides to trust him again.

Bringing back an air of mystery, Gatsby tells Nick he is going to ask a big favor of him, but he refuses to talk about it. Nick is to learn about the favor later on from Jordan. Jay says it’s important that Nick know something about him before he asks for Nick’s help.

Nick sees Gatsby’s authority when they are pulled over by a police officer. Jay shows the officer a card from the Police Commissioner, and the officer apologizes for not recognizing him. This incident establishes Gatsby’s importance. Nick learns to expect the unexpected where Jay Gatsby is concerned.

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Carraway describes his trip into town with Gatsby as "disconcerting." The details he shares about the content of the conversation soon explain why he feels this way. It is evident that Gatsby, behaving "indecisively," is oddly nervous. As an opening gambit, he asks Carraway "What's your opinion of me, anyway?" which is the sort of frighteningly direct question not generally asked in polite society. It oversteps all the natural boundaries between casual acquaintances.

Gatsby clarifies that he doesn't want Carraway to get "a wrong opinion" of him, believing himself to be much gossiped about. In order to pre-empt these wrong opinions, he declares that he will tell Carraway "God's truth." Unfortunately, his behavior makes Carraway feel he may be lying as he explains that he was educated at Oxford—possibly an explanation for the British affectations in his speech ("old sport"). He continues telling his life story unprompted, its details so "threadbare" that Carraway has to contain his laughter. It is clear that Gatsby is completely unable to read social cues in this situation, as he does not realize how discomfiting this is for Carraway.

Gatsby even presents Carraway with some items he "always carries," including a photograph of himself from Oxford, but Carraway is left with the impression that these items are awkward props. In trying so hard and so ineptly to convince Carraway of "the truth," Gatsby has only succeeded in raising suspicions.

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To answer this question, take a look at chapter 4. During their drive to New York, Gatsby says some weird things and acts in a strange way.

First, without any prompting, Gatsby says he wants to tell Nick his family history because he doesn't want Nick to have the wrong idea about him. For Nick, this is a sign that Gatsby is aware of the "bizarre accusations" that people have leveled against him.

Secondly, when Gatsby says that he was "educated at Oxford," Nick notes that he says the words in a very strange manner, as though he has "swallowed" or "choked" on them.

Thirdly, when Gatsby describes how he lived as a "young rajah" in Europe, Nick almost bursts into laughter because Gatsby's description is "threadbare." In other words, it lacks any sense of authenticity, as though he is describing something that never actually happened.

Finally, Gatsby also shows Nick some souvenirs from his past. There is a medal from the war and a photograph from Oxford. It is weird that Gatsby would show these to Nick because it suggests that Gatsby is desperate to prove that his stories of the past are authentic and genuine.

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