In The Great Gatsby, what is the meaning of the reference to "gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover" that precedes Chapter I?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This introductory passage appears on the title page of the novel:

Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;

If you can bounce high, bounce for her too,

Till she cry "Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover,

I must have you!"

The poem is then attributed to one "Thomas Parke D'Invilliers," who was not a real person, but was actually one of Fitzgerald's fictional characters in This Side of Paradise; thus, Fitzgerald himself wrote the lines that introduce his novel.

The lines relate connotatively to Gatsby's romantic pursuit of Daisy. In order to win her back, he amasses--and then very conspicuously displays--an enormous amount of wealth. He takes extraordinary measures to capture Daisy's attention and to draw her from East Egg into one of his dazzling parties. He spares no expense to overwhelm her with his glamorous estate and his many beautiful possessions. Gatsby wears the "gold hat" for Daisy, and he "bounces" very high to impress her so significantly that she will decide she must have him back.

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