The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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This change in the culture and social mores of the times – associated with the more liberated behaviour of the young women labelled as ‘flappers’ – would probably be a little bewildering for a young man with his roots in the Middle-West. Nick likes to keep women at arms’ length: he has come East partly to extricate himself from a relationship that was being touted around as an engagement (see page 26).

48 ‘Jordan Baker…leaning a little backward’ – A familiar pose, designed, of course, to accentuate her breast size.

48 ‘ “Hello!” I roared, advancing toward her. My voice seemed unnaturally loud’ – indicating Nick’s self-consciousness and embarrassment.

49 ‘ “You’ve dyed your hair since then,” remarked Jordan, and I started’ – The (more obvious) use of make-up and hair dye was an important element in the new era of the flapper. Nick is at least surprised by the phenomenon.

49 ‘Jordan’s slender golden arm’ – tanned skin first became fashionable during this period, allegedly after Coco Chanel accidentally browned herself on holiday.

49 ‘A tray of cocktails floated at us’ – Fitzgerald repeats his earlier trope. Dressed, no doubt, in black, the cocktail waiters or waitresses seem to disappear into the evening gloom beside the brightly coloured drinks and the costumes of the guests.

49 ‘gas blue’ – Another blue, but this time apparently a shade of Fitzgerald’s own invention, presumably inspired by the blue flame of a gas lamp. He may have been remembering ‘gas-black’ which does exist.

49 ‘He doesn’t want any trouble with any body’ – The implication is that Gatsby has some kind of dark secret he wishes to hide.

50 ‘Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once.’ – Typical second-hand speculation about Gatsby. He probably does have associations, though – through Wolfshiem, for example – with men who have killed in one way or another.

50 ‘The three Mr Mumbles’ – The three gentlemen, supposedly of the same name, were introduced on the previous page.

50 ‘a persistent undergraduate given to violent innuendo’ – One can certainly see why Jordan prefers the prospect of partnering Nick!

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F. Scott Fitzgerald
the Unkindness of Ravens If you have found our critical notes helpful, why not try the first Tower Notes novel, a historical fantasy set in the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.

Available HERE where you can read the opening chapters.

The Unkindness of Ravens by Anthony Paul