F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic "The Great Gatsby" is a glittering parade of parties and excess, but at its heart it is about identity and whether being wealthy in America can help you change who you really are. Learn this word list that focuses on physical and emotional temperatures.
Contemporary legends such as the "underground pipe-line to Canada" attached themselves to him, and there was one
persistent story that he didn't live in a house at all, but in a boat that looked like a house and was moved secretly up and down the Long Island shore.
Another definition of "turgid" is "abnormally distended especially by fluids or gas"--this could also fit the description of journalism that indulges in reports of sexual scandals.
The none too savory ramifications by which Ella Kaye, the newspaper woman, played Madame de Maintenon to his weakness and sent him to sea in a yacht, were common knowledge to the
turgid journalism of 1902.
For several weeks I didn't see him or hear his voice on the phone--mostly I was in New York, trotting around with Jordan and trying to
ingratiate myself with her senile aunt--but finally I went over to his house one Sunday afternoon.
There were the same people, or at least the same sort of people, the same profusion of champagne, the same many-colored, many-keyed commotion, but I felt an unpleasantness in the air, a
pervading harshness that hadn't been there before.
She was appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented "place" that Broadway had begotten upon a Long Island fishing village--appalled by its raw vigor that
chafed under the old euphemisms and by the too obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short cut from nothing to nothing.
The straw seats of the car hovered on the edge of combustion; the woman next to me perspired delicately for a while into her white shirtwaist, and then, as her newspaper dampened under her fingers, lapsed despairingly into deep heat with a
Another definition of "boisterous" is "violently agitated and turbulent"--Nick noticed that was Tom's reaction to discovering that his wife is having an affair. But in the example sentence, Tom is trying to give the impression that he's willing to go along with Daisy's suggestion to have fun in town. Insisting that he drive Daisy in Gatsby's car was his attempt at belittling his rival and regaining control.
Earlier in the chapter, Nick noticed the air at one of Gatsby's party had a "peculiar quality of oppressiveness" that was not due to the weather but to the presence of Tom and Daisy. This connects to the definition of "oppressive" as "marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior."
Jordan and Tom and I got into the front seat of Gatsby's car, Tom pushed the unfamiliar gears tentatively and we shot off into the
oppressive heat leaving them out of sight behind.
Her expression was curiously familiar--it was an expression I had often seen on women's faces but on Myrtle Wilson's face it seemed purposeless and
inexplicable until I realized that her eyes, wide with jealous terror, were fixed not on Tom, but on Jordan Baker, whom she took to be his wife.
The prolonged and tumultuous argument that ended by herding us into that room eludes me, though I have a sharp physical memory that, in the course of it, my underwear kept climbing like a damp snake around my legs and
intermittent beads of sweat raced cool across my back.
The wedding march is portentous to the couple getting married at the moment, who contrast with Tom and Daisy breaking apart upstairs (it could also foreshadow their reunion). Nick uses the adjective again to accompany his realization that he had turned thirty, which is significant because he was getting closer to death and to the responsibilities of being a man (which could include marriage).
As Tom took up the receiver the compressed heat exploded into sound and we were listening to the
portentous chords of Mendelssohn's Wedding March from the ballroom below.
At this point Jordan and I tried to go but Tom and Gatsby insisted with competitive firmness that we remain--as though neither of them had anything to conceal and it would be a privilege to partake
vicariously of their emotions.
"Magnanimous" is not usually used to describe "scorn" but here, Tom can magnanimously give Gatsby the chance to be alone with Daisy because he knows that he had already succeeded in driving them apart with his scornful accusations. Nick could also be mocking the generous extent of Tom's scornful nature.
She looked at Tom, alarmed now, but he insisted with
conspicuously and offensively loud; given to vehement outcry
At first I couldn't find the source of the high, groaning words that echoed clamorously through the bare garage--then I saw Wilson standing on the raised threshold of his office, swaying back and forth and holding to the doorposts with both hands.
This earnestly tender gesture of reassurance from Tom contrasts with his earlier actions towards the women in his life (his hurting of Daisy's finger and breaking of Myrtle's nose). But it could be seen as a sad attempt to hold onto what he had almost lost, especially since he had already lost Myrtle.
He was talking intently across the table at her and in his
earnestness his hand had fallen upon and covered her own.