Hays Views on Gatsby

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Hays, Peter L. "Oxymoron in The Great Gatsby." Papers on Language & Literature 47.3 (2011): 318+. General OneFile. Web. 19 Oct. 2012.
There are significant paradoxes throughout F. Scott Fitzgerald's (life and) work frequently represented by oxymorons, of which Wolfsheim's eating with "ferocious delicacy" (75) is only one of the most apparent and, as such, very possibly a clue to the paradoxes in the novel. Kirk Curnutt in a review of Fitzgerald's short stories remarks that the titles Flappers and Philosophers and Taps at Reveille "are clever conceits whose effectiveness depends upon one's fondness for oxymoron" (157). Keith Gandal, in a recent book, writes of "Gatsby's famous doubleness ... as chivalrous lover and cold-blooded killer." Gandal continues, though I am using his words for a different purpose than his: "His doubleness may have a mainstream enough historical correlative" (119).(1)
One prominent instance of doubleness is evident in his approach to Daisy in the novel. Could a man who "knew women early"--I presume knew them in the Biblical sense--"and since they spoiled him he became contemptuous of them" (104), be so intimidated by Daisy, especially since he's already slept with her (156)? Could someone so ruthless in both the army and business be so timid in dating? Gatsby is plainly not a sexual innocent afraid of sex, another nearly 40-year-old virgin. Far from it. He has had five years of tutelage under Dan Cody, sailing three times around the continent, having women rub champagne in his hair, and visiting the Barbary Coast (106-07), which Matthew J. Bruccoli glosses in his notes to the novel as San Francisco's "honky tonk district" (213), plainly a euphemism. We don't know what Gatsby did for the next five years (from Cody's death in 1912 until America's entrance into the war in 1917 [106]), but thereafter he rose through officer ranks to become a major in the army during World War I and then briefly attended Oxford. Are we to expect that he

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