In Chapter Nine of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, why does Jordan Baker think Nick is dishonest?—Explain: "I’m thirty,” I said. “I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call...

In Chapter Nine of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, why does Jordan Baker think Nick is dishonest?—Explain:

"I’m thirty,” I said. “I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor"

“Oh, and do you remember.”— she added ——” a conversation we had once about driving a car?”

“Why — not exactly.”

“You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver, didn’t I? I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride.”

“I’m thirty,” I said. “I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor.”

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Chapter Nine of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Jordan Baker and Nick meet after Gatsby's death. Jordan speaks to Nick about their failed relationship, and uses something Nick had said as a metaphor. She reminds him that he said that a bad driver was safe until she met another bad driver. She is referring to relationships. Someone like Jordan (who must struggle with relationships) is safe until she meets someone like herself—this would appear to be Nick (at least as Jordan sees it).

“You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver, didn’t I? I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride.”

“I’m thirty,” I said. “I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor.”

Jordan blames herself a little, noting that she was foolish to be "careless"—except she thought she could trust Nick and what he said—she thought he was "honest" and "straightforward." Nick was fond of Jordan, but not in love. He defends himself by telling her that he is too old to lie...he expects that lying and calling it "honor" is not something he would do.

In "Analysis: The Great Gatsby," Frederick C. Millett discusses this quote:

The age of thirty is symbolic for the passing of youth - or the passing of innocence. Hence, the turning point in Nick's life occurs simultaneously with the turning point in Gatsby's - the termination of his youthful dream. 

It seems to me that Nick is telling Jordan that it was not a matter of being untrustworthy where Nick is concerned. While someone younger might lie to a girl and try to pass it of as an honorable gesture, Nick says he's too old to play games. Perhaps, too, he has learned a lot about life and his own "loss of innocence" about life having spent time with Gatsby and his "friends."

And more than that, perhaps Nick is saying that he is being honest in not pursuing Jordan because his heart is not really in it. He likes her, but not enough to pretend—and get what he can and then brush her aside. Perhaps this is the kind of behavior Jordan has seen in the crowd of people Daisy associates with. These are the same people who fail to show up for Gatsby's funeral. One is forced to ask just how "real" all of those people were—even Jordan. And Nick's honesty is admirable and honest.

 

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