The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby Chapter 4 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"It was a strange coincidence," I said.
"But it wasn't a coincidence at all."
"Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay." (4.137-140)
This is the rich-people equivalent of getting your contact in the office to rearrange the lockers so you can be near your crush. Not so much coincidence as, yep, creepy and stalker-ish. Or beautifully romantic. Your pick.
He was balancing himself on the dashboard of his car with that resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American—that comes, I suppose, with the absence of lifting work or rigid sitting in youth and, even more, with the formless grace of our nervous, sporadic games. This quality was continually breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness.
He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand. (4.12-13)
Gatsby is one version of America—the resourceful, athletic, restless young nation striving to make itself better. The problem is, America as Nick sees it isn't like that anymore. It's beaten down, like George Wilson; or it's rich and careless, like Tom. Does that make Nick the happy (or unhappy) medium?
The idea staggered me. I remembered, of course, that the World's Series had been fixed in 1919, but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that merely happened, the end of some inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people – with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe. (4.113)
Meyer Wolfsheim fixed the World Series, an enormous crime that Nick thinks is like "a burglar blowing a safe." But the burglar gets caught; Wolfsheim uses his wealth and underworld connections to stay squeaky clean. Apparently you don't have to be high class to benefit from your wealth.