Why does Gatsby act like a little boy when he sees Daisy for the first time in a long time?The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, there is much of the youthful and idealistic in Jay Gatsby.  Indeed, his perception of Daisy with her white car and white dresses is much like that of the purified maiden and he the knight who seeks her.  In this infatuation, Jay stands on his lawn looking for the "single green light, minute and far away" until the day comes that Nick arranges for Gatsby to meet with Daisy.

In excited preparation for this meeting, the idealistic Gatsby offers to have Nick's grass cut; he orders "a greenhouse of flowers" sent to Daisy.  When he arrives, he wears

a white flannel suit, silver shirt and god cored tie...He was pale and there were dark signs of sleeplessness beneath his eyes.

'Is everything all right?' he asked immediately.

He is pale, with his hands

plunged like weights in his coat pockets,...standing in a puddle of wter glaring tragically into [Nick's] eyes.

Like a love-sick schoolboy, Gatsby has silent gaps in his conversation.  When Daisy remarks that they had not met for years, Gatsby knows the exact date:  "Five years next November."  Then, he takes Nick into the other room to talk with him privately.  Even Nick tells him, "You're acting likea little boy."

Much like the boy of James Joyce's "Araby," Gatsby has fabricated an image of Daisy that does not match the reality.  This infatuation with Daisy is another reflection of Gatsby's world of illusion which he has created from illegal gains, parties with guests whom he does not even know, and his materialistic American Dream--all of which are a tableau of the Jazz Age.

Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Concerning The Great Gatsby, although saying Gatsby acted like a little boy might be a bit harsh, you're not far off. 

Gatsby had spent the last five years with one goal in mind:  recapture the relationship he thinks he had with Daisy.  In short, he is terribly in love with her and totally obsessed with her.  When he sees her for the first time in five years he is shy and doesn't know what to say.  He has waited so long to see her again he is nervous when he finally does.  He, of course, wants everything to go perfectly during this first meeting, and high expectations are difficult to meet when the meeting finally comes.

Gatsby is shy and uncomfortable in social settings, anyway, and it just takes him a bit to become comfortable and gain a little confidence.

Rhetorically, this scene shows the reader a likable side of Gatsby.  It endears the reader to him.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the first answer, except that I would not compare it to seeing your mother.  It is a whole different kind of love, of course.

Daisy is the woman that he has dreamed about all these years.  He is completely in love with her and now he is finally going to have his chance to try to get her.  He had been in love with her before, but didn't really have a chance because he was poor.  Now he is not poor so he has a chance.

So, he is meeting a woman he has been in love with for years.  Now is his chance to impress her and win her for himself.  No wonder he's nervous.

reececup1 | Student

Because he was real excited to see her n i don't know how to say this but he was hyped and full of energy like you know like if you haven't seen your mother in a long time you would be very excited giving you a rush because you have love for that person.

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The Great Gatsby

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