kindness in welcoming guests or strangers
But I can still read the grey names and they will give you a better impression than my generalities of those who accepted Gatsby's
hospitality and paid him the subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him.
the quality of being able to cope with a difficult situation
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.
Gatsby has a resourcefulness of movement that allows him to balance on the dashboard of his car, migrate from North Dakota to New York, and transform himself from a poor soldier to a rich host. But he does not have the inner resourcefulness to pay his way through college with janitorial duties or to earn his money through legitimate, time-consuming work. A lucky meeting with Wolfsheim and a handsome face are the resources Gatsby mined to become wealthy.
marked by precise accordance with details
This quality was continually breaking through his
punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness.
someone who owns a business
So my first impression, that he was a person of some undefined consequence, had gradually faded and he had become simply the
proprietor of an elaborate roadhouse next door.
a justly deserved penalty
His right hand suddenly ordered divine
retribution to stand by.
wicked, evil, or dishonorable
And with this doubt his whole statement fell to pieces and I wondered if there wasn't something a little
sinister about him after all.
courage when facing danger
"Major Jay Gatsby", I read, "For Valour Extraordinary".
Gatsby's valorous actions in the war are most likely true; the fact that he carries the medal around to show it off makes the valor seem less true. During the war, Gatsby wanted to die, yet displayed valor that killed Germans, saved Allied lives, and earned him recognition; as a civilian, Gatsby gets his dream girl, but his valor (in taking the wheel too late, assuming the blame for Myrtle's death, and keeping a vigil under Daisy's window) is rewarded with abandonment and death.
difficult to find
In a well-fanned Forty-second Street cellar I met Gatsby for lunch. Blinking away the brightness of the street outside my eyes picked him out obscurely in the anteroom, talking to another man.
giving or marked by complete attention to
They were so
engrossed in each other that she didn't see me until I was five feet away.
have an ambitious plan or a lofty goal
Then it had not been merely the stars to which he had
aspired on that June night.
administer or bestow, as in small portions
He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he
dispensed starlight to casual moths so that he could "come over" some afternoon to a stranger's garden.
Gatsby's parties did not have small portions (liquor was available from a bar and circulating trays; food was on buffet tables and served in two suppers). In the phrase "dispensed starlight to casual moths", Nick is emphasizing the deliberate, almost godly, way of Gatsby. The description also makes the guests seem less like ungrateful leeches and more like carefree insects that Gatsby wanted to temporarily capture and display to impress Daisy.
held in check with difficulty
He waited, looking at me with
revealing lack of perceptiveness or judgment or finesse
But, because the offer was obviously and tactlessly for a service to be rendered, I had no choice except to cut him off there.
Although Gatsby was trying to be grateful to Nick for agreeing to help him, his focus on money is tactless because it would make Nick seem like he were pimping out his cousin Daisy. Also, if Nick had accepted the offer, he might've ended up like Young Parke, who got picked up by the police for using stolen or counterfeit bonds.
no longer in force or use; inactive
His head leaned back so far that it rested against the face of a
defunct mantelpiece clock and from this position his distraught eyes stared down at Daisy who was sitting frightened but graceful on the edge of a stiff chair.
deeply agitated especially from emotion
His head leaned back so far that it rested against the face of a defunct mantelpiece clock and from this position his
distraught eyes stared down at Daisy who was sitting frightened but graceful on the edge of a stiff chair.
failing to accomplish an intended result
His eyes glanced momentarily at me and his lips parted with an
abortive attempt at a laugh.
characterized by extreme care and great effort
Gatsby got himself into a shadow and while Daisy and I talked looked conscientiously from one to the other of us with tense unhappy eyes.
not disposed or willing to believe; unbelieving
"She's embarrassed?" he repeated incredulously.
an indication that something has been present
They were sitting at either end of the couch looking at each other as if some question had been asked or was in the air, and every
vestige of embarrassment was gone.
be confusing or perplexing to
But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply
a feeling of extreme joy
He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of
exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room.
bewildering or striking dumb with wonder
Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions in a dazed way as though in her actual and
astounding presence none of it was any longer real.
He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an
inconceivable pitch of intensity.
so great in size or force or extent as to elicit awe
Possibly it had occurred to him that the
colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever.
made to seem smaller or less, especially in worth
His count of enchanted objects had
diminished by one.
in a rebellious manner
There was a small picture of Gatsby, also in yachting costume, on the bureau--Gatsby with his head thrown back
defiantly--taken apparently when he was about eighteen.
an appearance of reflected light
He lit Daisy's cigarette from a trembling match, and sat down with her on a couch far across the room where there was no light save what the
gleaming floor bounced in from the hall.
The image of Gatsby and Daisy being seen only by light that is reflected from the gleaming floor can be interpreted several ways: 1) they chose the spot for a little privacy; 2) their relationship cannot, as with the legally married Daisy and Tom, be framed in "a cheerful square of light"; 3) Gatsby's love of Daisy is a reflection of his love of wealth and cannot withstand the glare of direct light.
confusion resulting from failure to understand
As I went over to say goodbye I saw that the expression of
bewilderment had come back into Gatsby's face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness.
the property of being able to survive and grow
There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams--not through her own fault but because of the colossal
vitality of his illusion.
having unpredictable ups and downs
I think that voice held him most with its
fluctuating, feverish warmth because it couldn't be over-dreamed--that voice was a deathless song.
While Daisy's fluctuating voice is a deathless song that captivates Gatsby, her fluctuating nature, which contrasts with his devotion, makes his efforts to be with her seem pointless and eventually leads to his death.