The Great Gatsby Conversation

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In Gatsby’s conversation with Nick, Gatsby, who has many belittling rumors surrounding him, tries to get Nick to sympathize with him by describing himself as a nice person who has gone through “hard” times, but his attempts are unsuccessful. Because of the rumors, Nick wants to know more about Gatsby because, “[He] had talked with him perhaps six times in the past month and found, to [his] disappointment, that [Gatsby] had little to say,” which led Nick to believe there was something suspicious about Gatsby. (64) Over the past month or so, Nick had heard many rumors about Gatsby having “killed a man” (49) and being a “German spy during [World War I]” (44). Gatsby’s behavior during the conversation strengthened these rumors in Nick’s mind. During their conversation, Gatsby “hurried the phrase ‘educated at Oxford,’ or swallowed it, or choked on it, as though it had bothered him before” which led Nick to wonder “if there was something sinister about him” (65). Whenever Oxford was mentioned, Gatsby was hesitant to continue that conversation, which seemed as though Gatsby was lying about his past and that made Nick even more suspicious. Furthermore, Gatsby did not help erase the rumors from Nick’s mind when Tom and Gatsby, “shook hands briefly, and a strained, unfamiliar look of embarrassment came over Gatsby’s face,” and when “[Nick] turned toward Mr. Gatsby, [he] was no longer there” (74). This behavior proved to Nick that Gatsby is trying to hide something from his past and is very uncomfortable discussing it. Although there are topics about his past that make Gatsby uncomfortable, he freely explains his past to Nick. In order to make a good impression on Nick, Gatsby always speaks elaborately and is very nice to Nick. Gatsby says, “‘Good morning, old sport. You’re having lunch with me and I thought we’d ride up together’” (64). Gatsby explains that he lives like a “rajah,” but that he has had some hardships and is “trying to forget something very sad that had...
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