The Great Gatsby Chapter 1
- What do these lines tell the reader about Daisy’s personality and Nick’s reaction to her?
“ ‘I'm p-paralyzed with happiness.’ She laughed again, as if she said something very witty, and held my hand for a moment, looking up into my face, promising that there was no one in the world she so much wanted to see. That was a way she had. She hinted in a murmur that the surname of the balancing girl was Baker. (I've heard it said that Daisy's murmur was only to make people lean toward her; an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming.)”
- What do these lines reveal about Tom and Daisy’s relationship?
Before I could answer her eyes fastened with an awed expression on her little finger. "Look!" she complained. "I hurt it." We all looked--the knuckle was black and blue. "You did it, Tom," she said accusingly. "I know you didn't mean to but you DID do it. That's what I get for marrying a brute of a man, a great big hulking physical specimen of a----" "I hate that word hulking," objected Tom crossly, "even in kidding." "Hulking," insisted Daisy.
- Why does Tom so forcefully put forth his ideas on the races? What is the tone of Daisy’s reaction to her husband’s words?
"Civilization's going to pieces," broke out Tom violently. "I've gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read 'The Rise of the Coloured Empires' by this man Goddard?" "Why, no," I answered, rather surprised by his tone. "Well, it's a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don't look out the white race will be--will be utterly submerged. It's all scientific stuff; it's been proved." "Tom's getting very profound," said Daisy with an expression of unthoughtful sadness. "He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we----" "Well, these books are all scientific," insisted Tom, glancing at her impatiently. "This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It's up to us who are the dominant race to watch out or these other races will have control of things." "We've got to beat them down," whispered Daisy, winking ferociously toward the fervent sun. "You ought to live in California--" began Miss Baker but Tom interrupted her by shifting heavily in his chair.
"This idea is that we're Nordics. I am, and you are and you are and----" After an infinitesimal hesitation he included Daisy with a slight nod and she winked at me again. "--and we've produced all the things that go to make civilization--oh, science and art and all that. Do you see?"
- What does Daisy’s reaction to her daughter’s birth reveal about her inner feelings? What is the tone of the last line?
She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. 'All right,' I said, 'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool--that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." "You see I think everything's terrible anyhow," she went on in a convinced way. "Everybody thinks so--the most advanced people. And I KNOW. I've been everywhere and seen everything and done everything." Her eyes flashed around her in a defiant way, rather like Tom's, and she laughed with thrilling scorn. "Sophisticated--God, I'm sophisticated!"
- What does Nick think about his time spent at Tom and Daisy’s house?
“I was confused and a little disgusted as I drove away. It seemed to me that the thing for Daisy to do was to rush out of the house, child in arms--but apparently there were no such intentions in her head. As for Tom, the fact that he "had some woman in New York" was really less surprising than that he had been depressed by a book. Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory heart.”
- What is Nick’s tone at the end of Chapter One? Explain.
“I saw that I was not alone--fifty feet away a figure had emerged from the shadow of my neighbor's mansion and was standing with his hands in his pockets regarding the silver pepper of the stars. Something in his leisurely movements and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that it was Mr. Gatsby himself, come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens.
I decided to call to him. Miss Baker had mentioned him at dinner, and that would do for an introduction. But I didn't call to him for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone--he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward--and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness.”