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Proof Gatsby was Driving, Not Daisy

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message 1: by Monty J (last edited Jun 16, 2019 10:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying (A re-post, back by popular demand.)

Two hours after the accident, at half-past nine, Nick refuses Jordan's entreaty to go inside the Buchanan's home for something to eat, electing instead to wait in the garden for his taxi. Luminous in his moonlit pink suit, Gatsby hails him and, like a guilty schoolboy, relates an elaborate lie he concocted while lurking among the shrubbery about how the accident happened.

Here’s the conversation (Ch. VII, p.151):
[Gatsby] "...I don't think anybody saw us, but of course I can't be sure."

[ Nick] I disliked him so much by this time that I didn't find it necessary to tell him he was wrong.

"Who was the woman?" he inquired.

"Her name was Wilson. Her husband owns the garage. How the devil did it happen?"

"Well, I tried to swing the wheel---" He broke off, and suddenly I guessed the truth.

"Was Daisy driving?"

"Yes," he said after a moment. "But of course I'll say I was. You see, when we left New York she was very nervous and thought it would steady her to drive. And this woman rushed out at us as we were passing a car coming the other way. It all happened in a minute, but it seemed to me that she wanted to speak to us, thought we were somebody she knew. Well, first Daisy turned away from the woman toward the other car, and then she lost her nerve and turned back. The second my hand reached the wheel I felt the shock--it must have killed her instantly."

"It ripped her open---"

"Don't tell me old sport." he winced. "Anyhow, Daisy stepped on it. I tried to make her stop, but she couldn't, so I pulled on the emergency brake. Then she fell over into my lap and I drove on."
Notice the following:

A. Corruption-- No matter who was driving, both Gatsby and Nick are complicit in concealing a vehicular homicide.

B. It is Nick who suggests that Daisy was driving. Gatsby only agrees, "after a moment" , a pause to evaluate Nick's suggestion.

C. Time--An hour or more has elapsed since the accident, plenty of time for Gatsby to prepare an explanation. The accident happened "a little after seven" P.M. in late August, during the extended twilight of New York's northern latitude.

D. Conflicting Testimony--Gatsby said he stopped the car, which contradicts all other eyewitness testimony.

E. Implausibility--Getting behind the wheel of a strange car while emotionally aroused is highly unsafe, probably the last thing Daisy would have done.

F. Gatsby had Motives for Lying-- 1) to impress Nick, a bond salesman, so he would join him in his illicit bond sales scheme, 2) to avoid prosecution for vehicular manslaughter, 3) to avoid a newspaper scandal about his affair with Daisy and 4) to avoid an investigation into his illicit business affairs.

G. Credibility--Gatsby is a pathological liar, starting with his name and identity. He told Nick he was from a wealthy family and concocted that outrageous fable about hunting for rubies all over Europe. He lies and steals for a living. How can a rational reader take his word about who was driving with this history and his many motives for lying?

H. Authorial Guidance--Consider the clarion ring of:

"...I don't think anybody saw us, but of course I can't be sure."
I disliked him so much by this time that I didn't find it necessary to tell him he was wrong.

Here Fitzgerald reminds readers that there were eyewitness and Nick kept quiet about it during this exchange in the garden, allowing Gatsby to relate his elaborate lie unaware that it could be contradicted. This he proceeds to do, but Nick doesn't call him on it.

First eyewitness testimony:
At the scene of the accident, Tom addresses the cop (Ch. VII, p. 139.) [Cop speaking]

"Auto hit her. Ins'tantly killed."

"Instantly killed," repeated Tom, staring.

"She ran out inna road. Son-ov-a-bitch didn't even stopus car."
"Son-of-a-bitch" is a male gender pejorative. "Stopus," slang for "stop his," also indicates male gender. The cop could only have gotten this gender-specific information from eyewitness accounts at the scene.

Second eyewitness: A "negro" at the scene told the cop the yellow car had passed him down the road doing fifty or sixty miles an hour, another indication the car didn't stop.

Third eyewitness: Michaelis' sworn testimony at the inquest (Ch. VII, p.137.)
[Nick, narrating] The "death car" as the newspapers called it, didn't stop; it came out of the gathering darkness, wavered tragically for a moment, then disappeared around the next bend. Michaelis wasn't even sure of the color--he told the first policeman that it was light green.
Note Nick's prejudiced tone ("wasn't even sure".) Yet Michaelis got the color almost right. The car was a cream color popularly referred to as "yellow." It was a moving open roadster with light green upholstery in dim light. The color mistake was minor and doesn't impugn Michaelis's testimony.

Fourth eyewitness: The morning after the accident, George Wilson, speaks to Michaelis (Ch. VIII, p.168.)
[Wilson] "It was the man in that car. She ran out to speak to him and he wouldn't stop."
Nick then summarizes something Michaelis must have revealed at the inquest:
Michaelis had seen this too (Myrtle running out waving as if wanting to communicate with the man driving), but it hadn't occurred to him that there was any special significance in it.
Michaelis clearly indicates here the male gender of the driver. George Wilson saw Myrtle get hit by a car he had seen a few hours earlier, but was too incapacitated by shock and grief to tell the cop what he had seen.

Seconds before the accident Wilson and Myrtle were in the heat of an argument. "Beat me... Throw me down and beat me, you dirty little coward!" were the last words Myrtle spoke (Ch. VII) just before running from the garage into the street. Michaelis heard this and saw her running too. It is hardly conceivable that either Michaelis or Wilson would not have been watching Myrtle intently at the moment she was struck, especially Wilson, for she had just yelled insults at him and escaped being locked in.

Wilson was certain who killed his wife because he had seen Gatsby do it. Gatsby's death was not a tragic case of mistaken identity; it was a direct consequence of his murder of Myrtle, a moral judgment by the author reinforced by Daisy’s rejection and by the poor attendance at his funeral.


In summary, at the inquest, Michaelis clearly indicated the gender of the driver was male. George Wilson may have been emotionally overwrought and at the window of his garage, but even at thirty-five feet in waning light, one can tell the difference between a man and a woman at the wheel of an open roadster doing thirty miles an hour, especially if she's wearing a hat, which was the current fashion. And in the heat of an argument, Wilson and Michaelis’s attention would have been riveted on the slain woman.

Both Wilson and Michaelis saw a man at the wheel. Neither had a motive for lying. Neither had been drinking. There was enough light to see clearly at 7:15 on a late summer evening.

Gatsby said he stopped the car with the emergency brake and the driver was Daisy. He is contradicted on both counts by all other eyewitness testimony. Gatsby is the only eyewitness with a motive for lying. He had multiple motives-- 1) to impress Nick, a bond salesman, so he would join him in his illicit bond sales scheme, 2) to avoid prosecution for vehicular manslaughter, 3) to avoid a newspaper scandal about his affair with Daisy, which would hurt bond sales and 4) to avoid an investigation into his illicit business affairs.

The newspaper report also contradicts Gatsby: [Ch. VII, p. 105]
The "death car" as the newspapers called it, didn't stop; it came out of the gathering darkness, wavered tragically for a moment, and then disappeared around the next bend.
"For a moment" the paper said. If the car stopped immediately as Gatsby implied, someone would have seen it. If he stopped after the car went around the bend, given the lack of power of those early cars, it would have taken a few minutes to come to a halt and change drivers, then accelerate to 60 mph when the oncoming witness made his observation. So there's a question whether there was enough time to support Gatsby's version.

Not one of the eyewitnesses saw a woman driving or saw the car stop, both of which must be true for Gatsby's story to hold up.

The preponderance of evidence weighs against Gatsby. Why would you believe Gatsby, a proven liar, over impartial eyewitnesses? Why does Nick believe him? In the face of textual evidence, should the reader?

Fitzgerald gave readers five bits of information that conflict with Gatsby's weak uncorroborated story, to which must be added his discrediting four motives for lying. The others had no such motive, yet in the face of this weighty evidence against Gatsby, readers are led down a primrose path by Nick, who steadfastly refuses to disbelieve him.

Readers must stop and ponder why an author would go to such effort to supply a string of hints that Gatsby was singing a false tune. The reader is on trial here almost as much as Gatsby, whose credibility is about as resilient as day-old spaghetti. A prosecuting attorney would rip him to shreds like Tom did at the Plaza Hotel.

But most compelling of all are two telltale pauses indicating Gatsby is lying:
"Well, I tried to swing the wheel---" He broke off, and suddenly I guessed at the truth.

"Was Daisy driving?"

"Yes," he said after a moment," but of course I'll say I was."
The dash after "wheel" and the phrase "after a moment" constitute two such pauses.

This pattern of telltale pauses is established earlier in the novel when Gatsby lies to Nick about his personal history. Their use here likewise indicates a lie.

At the dash, Gatsby is on the verge of confessing, but he can't get the words out before Nick rescues him, offering the suggestion that Daisy was behind the wheel. True to his corrupt character, Gatsby seizes upon Nick's suggestion, following up with a pseudo-heroic pose, saying he will shield Daisy from blame. It's a weak stance because, even as owner and passenger of the car in a hit-and-run homicide, Gatsby’s responsibility would have been comparable to that of the driver, and he'd be an accessory.

This scene is almost a fulcrum for the entire novel. Daisy driving tips the scale toward romantic tragedy, whereas Gatsby behind the wheel and lying about it reveals his corruption. In any event, they were both corrupt for failing to stop and render aid.

And lastly, At the moment Wilson took aim before pulling the trigger, he had a moment to confirm that the man in his gun sights was indeed the man he saw behind the wheel. THAT moment of confirmation is the final determining factor about who was driving the car.

Wilson would not have shot Gatsby if Gatsby weren't the man he saw kill Myrtle. Gatsby in the pool was the same man he saw behind the wheel. Same height, same build, same hair, nose.

Wilson didn't shoot just because Tom said he was the owner of the car; he shot because he identified him!


In that confirming moment before shooting Gatsby, Wilson was eyewitness, judge, jury and executioner. He had to get the right man, otherwise the killing would be pointless? So Wilson's killing of Gatsby is proof Gatsby was driving.


message 2: by Geoffrey (last edited Feb 04, 2017 06:03AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Aronson Please note the newspaper account. There was a bend immediately after the location of the accident. It could very well have been that Gatsby pulled the emergency brake after turning the bend and no one would have witnessed that.
The negro said the car was going 60 miles an hour. The other party said thirty. If the negro was in the oncoming car, yes, it would appear the Gatsby car was travelling at 60 mph.
How is it that Wilson knew that Myrtle was going out to speak with Gatsby? There just are too many incertitudes in this whole affair. It appears others were priming Wilson with informatin, true or not.

50 yards is 150 feet. If you think you can identify the gender of the driver going that fast travelling at a perpendicular angle go out on a California highway and do the test yourself. You won´t be able to identify the gender.

Granted, JG is a liar, a cheat, a criminal and a scumbag. There´s considerable evidence attesting to his deviousness. But many a scumbag who wasn´t guilty has been convicted on character lapses, not the actual deed.


Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "Please note the newspaper account. There was a bend immediately after the location of the accident. It could very well have been that Gatsby pulled the emergency brake after turning the bend and no..."

Here's the quote: [Ch. VII, p. 105]
The "death car" as the newspapers called it, didn't stop; it came out of the gathering darkness, wavered tragically for a moment, and then disappeared around the next bend.
"Immediately" is not the same as momentarily, which is what the paper said.

Even so, if the car stopped as Gatsby said, given the lack of power those early cars had by today's standards, it would have taken a few minutes to come to a halt and change drivers, then accelerate to 60mph by the time the oncoming witness made his observation. So there's a question whether there was enough time for this to happen.

The overriding point is that not one of the eyewitnesses saw a woman driving or saw the car stop, both of which must be true for Gatsby's story to hold up.

The preponderance of evidence weighs against Gatsby.


message 4: by Geoffrey (last edited Feb 04, 2017 05:27PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Aronson "Gathering darkness", car going 60 mph in a perpendicular manner and the witnesses saw a man driving? Hardly. This is dusk time with a fading sun before sunset. It´s too hard to identify the gender at this low light situation with a car going that fast at 150 feet away. That´s half a football length.

Sorry, Monty, it strikes me as too much the standard, hackneyed murder mystery with the defense attorney asking a witness to identify a person in the gallery and the obvious result revealing that the witness needs glasses, making his eye witness testimony irrelevant.

And keep in mind that it was unusual for women to drive cars in 1922 so it would be only natural for Wilson to identify the gender as male.


message 5: by Monty J (last edited Feb 06, 2017 09:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "...car going 60 mph in a perpendicular manner..."

According to witnesses, the car was doing 30 at the time of the accident. Only later, after it went around the bend, was it observed doing 60.


Geoffrey wrote: "... a car going that fast at 150 feet away. "

I should have said 50 feet, not yards. Roadside establishments are typically no more that five car-lengths from the road.

In any event, this is a novel, not court. Fitzgerald gave readers five bits of information that conflict with Gatsby's uncorroborated story, added to which is the discrediting presence of his multiple and substantial motives for lying. The others had no such motive, yet, in the face of this powerful evidence against Gatsby, readers are led down a primrose path by Nick.

Readers must stop and ponder why an author would go to so much effort to drop multiple hints that Gatsby might be singing a false tune.


The reader is on trial here almost as much as Gatsby, whose credibility is about as resilient as day-old spaghetti. A prosecuting attorney would rip him to shreds like Tom did at the Plaza Hotel.


message 6: by Geoffrey (last edited Feb 06, 2017 07:40PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Aronson First, it´s not an ordinary roadside establishment. It a mechanic`s garage. It`s quite conceivable that it was 50 yards. This is, after all, set in 1922. You can´t apply contemporary diners distances, to a century ago landscape. Most car garages from that era in New England are much further from the road than 50 feet. I should know. I lived in NE for 40 years.

Secondly, JG is a terrible liar. After telling the story to countless curious gawkers, he still can´t relate the story to Nick about his gallivanting about Europe without stammering and halting in speech. Yet, in talking about the accident, he is at his most fluent.

And he has had considerably more practice at the European tale than his recounting of the accident.

I understand clearly your loathing JG and yes, he is a deeply flawed character, somewhat redeemed by his constancy and loyalty to Daisy, Among the self-indulgent jetsetting set, fidelity is not particularly prized, nor is it a standby with men in general considering how many men cheat on their wives, So yes, we see Jay in slightly different light than you do. Yes, he is a scumbag. Yes, he deals in fenced goods. Yes, he is a bootlegger. Yes, he is a liar. But consider, most people do lie to varying extent. But to one´s paramour that is a different matter, yes, I agree with you. For him to lie to his West Egg partygoers, I forgive him that. He comes from humble beginnings. It would have been impossible for him to be accepted as a rightful member of America`s aristocracy, considering his plebian background. So we admirers do cut him SOME slack


message 7: by Monty J (last edited Feb 09, 2017 10:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: But consider, most people do lie to varying
extent."


Yes, but not if they want to be respected.

Then there are the pathological liars like Donald Trump, who make lying a profession, con artists like Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken and Bernard Madoff. Deceit on that scale is a disease. Gatsby was in their class. When you reach that level, you're lower than dirt in my book. Humble beginnings or not, Gatsby knew he was hurting innocent people on a massive scale.

Jay Gatsby exemplifies a phenomenon that isn't unique to America, but keeps being repeated here. Jay Gatsby, Elmer Gantry, similar names, similar behavior and era, the Roaring Twenties.

There are modern-day companies like Barclays Global Investing who hire smart people to invent complicated new financial instruments, including derivatives such as Credit Default Swaps that sank the world economy during the sub-prime mortgage collapse. Devious minds made sure that trading in these instruments went unregulated, Alan Greenspan among them. Billions were made (e.g., by Goldman Sachs) placing bets (investments in these derivatives) that the economy would tank, while concurrently urging clients to buy shares in the companies they were betting against.
Trust lay in shreds along the highways. Goldman paid a measly fine years later. No one went to jail.

And today individual investors are back in the market. As long as people trust, there will be confidence men/women who will betray and exploit them.

With Jay Gatsby, Fitzgerald was warning us about this kind of behavior. Not just the crooks who exploit, but he warned about gullibility, exemplified in Nick Caraway.

As Tom said, "He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy's, but he was a tough one."


Geoffrey Aronson Excellent post. I would add a few items to this discussion and only challenge you on one point. I have never heard the term Credit Swaps but I believe as you have explained that was but one factor in the cause for the Great Recession of 2008. The more immediate cause was the housing bubble as 62 percent of the American households in 1998 became, in 2006, 69% owners of their own homes. With the relaxation of the Glass Steagall Act from FDR days, investment banks could underwrite housing mortgages. Prior to Bill Clinton`s and Sommers stupidity, only commercial banks could do that.

Many new owners purchased their homes on the predicate that they would continue to be gainfully employed full time with overtime that would tide them through the early years of home ownership. But as the economy in 2007 slowed down, those wage earners found it more difficult to meet their mortgage obligation and so hundreds of thousands ended up forfeiting their homes. Now with so many homes on the market having reverted to bank ownership, the worth of housing dropped dramatically. Homeowners with $350,000 mortgages found themselves owners of property only worth $200,000 and less. Why continue to pay exorbitant monthly mortgage payments on property that was worth half its original loan price, so, consequently many of those gave up their properties as well. As the investment banks such as Lehman Bros. and Goldman Sachs had lent the buyers through the commercial banks for this accelerated program, they got stuck with the debt, causing their near bankruptcy. But of course all the readers know that story in one form or another.


Geoffrey Aronson Yes, it´s good that you bring up the lack of integrity of JG. As for Nick´s gullibility, I don´t see it as such. He is just another immoral or amoral character in the book. He recognizes quite early th.at Jay is full of cow dung. There is that one scene when they are alone in JG´s mansion and he tells him the ridiculous story of gallivanting around Europe as a young jet setter buying up precioul gems. Reading the speech, the reader himself is able to piece together that Jay is lying as he is stammering and halting in speech. Nick writes that he almost chortles upon hearing this ridiculous story. But the fact is not so much that Nick is gullible, he is not, but that he too doesn´t care whether Jay is lying or not. He is already enamoured of Jay. Jay´s boundless optimism is captivating and blinds Nick to judging his sociopathy. To Nick, Jay´s upbeat persona absolves him from the ignominy of his criminality. Nick is not gullible; he simply is not affected by the realization.


Geoffrey Aronson Whew. You have prompted a lot of writing from me.

I believe there is earlier evidence of JG`s sociopathy. When clam digging in Lake Superior before his encounter with Cody, he has had sexual relations with many young women. Despite breaking many hearts, he is only annoyed with their persistence and never experiences guilt for his use of them. This speaks clearly of a man who doesn´t respect women, their feelings, their sexuality or love. He is a user and abuser.

Nor is he particularly intelligent. At the book´s end, his father arrives for the funeral and shows Nick JG`s diary from his youth. Not once does Jay mention planned improvements in his academic studies, but simply records his efforts at achieving a "gentlemanly disposition" Jay´s ladder to success does not lie in gaining professional status as he has deficient intellectual abilities. He is neither stupid nor intelligent, but somewhat shrewd. He has no feelings for his hardworking father and takes an early exit from the homestead.

Perkins cites the lack of development of JG´s character. Something I noted as well, even prior to reading P´s letter to SF.

How is that such an ambitious young man ends up in a desultory existence digging for clams. How is it that even promoted to non commissioned leadership status in the military, he doesn´t enrich himself to the gains of war. Many an enterprising young soldier would scavenge the possessions of the dead enemy, yet when Jay returns to America, according to Wolfsheim, he is destitute with only his uniform?

I´ve written the above comments in another message thread about TGG several years ago and I still can´t get over the inconsistencies in the novel. More comments are to come when I get back to my apartment and check the original source.


Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: " I believe as you have explained that was but one factor in the cause for the Great Recession of 2008. The more immediate cause was the housing bubble as 62 percent of the American households in 1998 became, in 2006, 69% owners of their own homes. With the relaxation of the Glass Steagall Act from FDR days, investment banks could underwrite housing mortgages. Prior to Bill Clinton`s and Sommers stupidity, only commercial banks could do that... ."

All of the above, but it was the CDS derivatives, part of a $65 trillion unregulated betting swamp, that allowed those "in the know," the big players, to profit from the resulting economic chaos.

I have insight into this because I was a consultant for Barclays Global and Wells Fargo's Capital Markets Division prior to the crash and was aghast at what I learned even then. What happened didn't just "happen." It was so obvious that it had to have been planned.


message 12: by Monty J (last edited Feb 09, 2017 04:36PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "But the fact is not so much that Nick is gullible, he is not, but that he too doesn´t care whether Jay is lying or not. He is already enamoured of Jay. Jay´s boundless optimism is captivating and blinds Nick to judging his sociopathy. To Nick, Jay´s upbeat persona absolves him from the ignominy of his criminality. Nick is not gullible; he simply is not affected by the realization."

Sociopathy is the correct term to describe people like Trump, Gatsby, Boesky, Milken and Madoff.

Nick's judgement seems impaired by his infatuation with Gatsby, the "dust in his eyes" fed by bro-mantic attraction as well as Gatsby's pervasive charisma and further extended by the classic American awe for the trappings of wealth. Nothing justifies Nick's failure to hold Gatsby accountable for his (obvious to the reader) corruption. Nick even lowers himself to serve as Gatsby's enabler for his adulterous affair with Daisy, thereby betraying Tom and Pammy. He does this without a hint of guilt or reservation.

Overall, Nick's weak-kneed devotion toward Gatsby overwhelms his better judgement, a vulnerable posture that can be seen as analogous to the gullibility of trusting investors who are taken in by fraudsters. This is what I mean by "gullible," not the strict definition.


Geoffrey Aronson We`re in agreement on Nick´s judgement.

Yes, these people are the true villains of the modern age. Instead of going into the military and doing the rest of us the good service of getting killed off, they are now making their "killings" in the financial world. And let no one misinterpret my meaning-I am only referring to those who are sociopathic and homicidal to begin with, not those who join the military to escape the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder, a secure job, or who want a cost free education, or training in the new military.


Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "Whew. You have prompted a lot of writing from me.

I believe there is earlier evidence of JG`s sociopathy. When clam evidence of JG`s sociopathy. When clam digging in Lake Superior before his encounter with Cody, he has had sexual relations with many young women. Despite breaking many hearts, he is only annoyed with their persistence and never experiences guilt for his use of them. This speaks clearly of a man who doesn´t respect women, their feelings, their sexuality or love. He is a user and abuser.digging in Lake Superior before his encounter with Cody, he has had sexual relations with many young women. Despite breaking many hearts, he is only annoyed with their persistence and never experiences guilt for his use of them. This speaks clearly of a man who doesn´t respect women, their feelings, their sexuality or love. He is a user and abuser...."



Agreed. I had forgotten this.


message 15: by Monty J (last edited Apr 06, 2017 11:59PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "First, it´s not an ordinary roadside establishment. It a mechanic`s garage. It`s quite conceivable that it was 50 yards. This is, after all, set in 1922. You can´t apply contemporary diners distanc..."

Wilson and Myrtle were in the heat of an argument. "Beat me... Throw me down and beat me, you dirty little coward!" were the last words Myrtle spoke to her husband (Ch. VII) just before running from the garage out into the street. Michaelis heard this and saw her running too. It is hardly conceivable that either man would not have been watching her intently at the moment she was struck, especially Wilson, for she had just escaped being locked in their apartment by him.

What baffles me is that so many authoritative individuals chose to ignore the testimony of Wilson and Michaelis--including Yale's professor Harold Boom and Baz Lhurmann (director of the latest TGG film) and Frances Ford Coppola (who wrote the script to the '70s film.)

Wilson was certain who killed his wife because he had seen Gatsby do it. Gatsby's death was an extra-legal execution, not a case of mistaken identity. Gatsby's death was therefore a direct consequence of his evil behavior, making a strong moral statement that is further reinforced by the fact that Daisy rejected him and so few came to his funeral..


Geoffrey Aronson No, there is no evidence that Wilson saw Gatsby do it. Quote your sources.It is but conjecture on your part that the men were watching herIt is not stated.


Geoffrey Aronson We have here a narrative fallacy. How is it that Nick who wasn´t at the scene knew what Myrtle said to her husband. Isn´t Nick taking literary license in this scene?


Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "No, there is no evidence that Wilson saw Gatsby do it. Quote your sources.It is but conjecture on your part that the men were watching herIt is not stated."

Okay, I will create a separate threat and cite chapter and verse. Predicting a slew of conversions. :)


Geoffrey Aronson Amazing that such a flawed novel, however it be a masterpiece, has generated so much discussion.


message 20: by Monty J (last edited Apr 11, 2017 02:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "Amazing that such a flawed novel, however it be a masterpiece, has generated so much discussion."

A few factors that could account for these flaws:
1) Zelda's madness - her demands for attention were immense.
2) Zelda's expensive tastes and social appetite - she was a party girl whose needs drained Scott's limited financial resources.
3) Zelda's affair - logically, one could conclude that it inspired the novel, but also inflamed and interfered with Scott's ability to concentrate on work.
4) Scott's excessive alcohol intake would have impaired his judgement.
5) Scott's own tendencies toward social excess - he too was a party animal, and they fed off each other's excesses.
6) Communication with editor - the Atlantic ocean lay between Scott and his editor Perkins, and the distance devoured time between revisions. The book needed more work and his letters indicate Scott knew it. But he desperately needed the money.

What a shame that someone so talented could have so many powerful forces working against him--love, family, substance abuse. (E. Hemingway and E. O'Neill faced similar hurdles. So did Ray Carver. How much did these challenging forces inspire vs impede?)

There is a lesson here for all prospective authors.

This novel speaks, perhaps more than any, and with considerable confusion, to what it means to be an American. Compared with communist China and Russia, we are an untested infant society. TGG highlights our great weakness, the corruption that is too often too tightly bound to unbridled capitalism.


Geoffrey Aronson Good that you have so much sympathy for SF. As he is not one of my favorite writers, I am not so apologetic. But sure, those life troubles both propel one to grater production even if simultaneously chipping away at the quality of one´s work.

I´ve always put him at the bottom of the list of great American writers. I find Hemingway, Steinbeck, Melville, Cather, McCullers, Vollman, Minot, Ellison, DuBois, Sinclair,Buck, Mailer, Roth,Thurber, Parker,Jhirii,Cisneros, and so many others th.at don`t immediately come to mind so much more interesting. TGG interest lies mostly in its obscure intentions and the prospect of deciphering


message 22: by Monty J (last edited Jun 15, 2017 01:47PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying In summary, Daisy was wearing white, making her easy to spot. Myrtle had over thirty feet to cover in her run from the garage to the road. She would have stopped short if she saw a woman at the wheel of the yellow car instead of Tom. It would have been highly unusual for a woman to be driving, not to mention out of character for Daisy, who was used to being chauffeured. Not one eye-witness said the driver of the death car was a woman. Only Gatsby makes this assertion, and Gatsby has selfish motives for making it. Gatsby also said he threw on the brake, a statement disputed by the witnesses.

For the reader to believe Gatsby, he/she must suspend both reason and logic, as Nick did. And Nick’s admiration for Gatsby is well-established. Gatsby lied about his name, his family history and his sources of wealth and he deceives people by selling them fraudulent securities. What is the reader’s excuse for accepting the word of a criminal who lies for a living over the testimony of two hardworking, honest, respected businessmen?


Geoffrey Aronson She was wearing white, but the door of a speedster would have hid that. I think it more like 45 feet.

Nick is not naive about Jay´s ill gotten gains. Recall at the party when he takes him aside, Nick almost chortles when he hears the fabricated gallivanting around Europe buying up jewels story. Plus, the fact that Nick damns both Daisy and Tom at the book`s end with the famous line about their carelessness in destroying other people`s lives and I can´t see the argument that he isn´t including Daisy in that condemnation. If he surmised Daisy to be behind the wheel then he wouldn´t have cause to include her in that very judgemental remark.

Yours is an unusual interpretation about the "truth" behind the hit and run. I have sought information on the internet as to whether anyone else has come up with that without any success. That however, doesn´t exclude the possibility. If you are right then everyone else is wrong. That´s entirely possible. SF has written so much ambivalence and ambiguity into this novel as to make it almost not work. I believe TGG to be the overly ambitious novel of a writer not quite up to its extremely difficult demands.


Geoffrey Aronson Which brings up a serious point not touched upon by this or any other message thread I have encountered here on GR. The question is whether there have been other books in literary history in which the writer`s overly ambitious efforts were jettisoned by his inability to match its demands. The only one that comes to immediate mind is The Alexandrian Quartet by Lawrence Durrell.


Geoffrey Aronson Also keep in mind that if Daisy were behind the wheel and it came out in court that Myrtle was her husband`s lover, Daisy would have been suspected of 1st degree homicide. It would have only taken a disgruntled servant in the Buchanan household to tip off the coppers of that fact.


message 26: by Monty J (last edited Jul 19, 2017 05:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "The question is whether there have been other books in literary history in which the writer`s overly ambitious efforts were jettisoned by his inability to match its demands."

Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises comes to mind. I consider it a copycat novel, where the author seemed to be attempting to ride the wave of initial literary attention earned by TGG. In TSAR, Hemingway addresses many of the same themes, corruption prominently among them, while in a very weak way he offers up a social contract theory (transaction exchange parity) borrowed from a more prominent author. Had Hemingway been more mature, he might have made a powerful philosophical statement. As it was, Jake's thoughtful musings were dismissed by most readers as meaningless drunken blather.


message 27: by Geoffrey (last edited Jul 19, 2017 05:48PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Aronson Yes, Monty, we are all aware of that. I believe I alluded to that possibility a few years ago. Not every servile household has a disgruntled servant so had she been behind the wheel, they would have covered her if they liked her. There is nothing in the novel that points to any maltreatment on Daisy`s part towards the staff. So, SF doesn`t plug any hints as to their surpressed animosity to the lady in the house, so why would they have gone to the pólice?


Amber Firstly, I think you give Gatsby a little too much status. It's great that you can relate such a classic work or literature to modern politics but Gatsby isn't a politician. He wants to be respected but no more than any other average person of East Egg is. Its not like he is trying to change policy or become mayor. He just wants to live a comfortable life with his first love. I know I keep making him out as just incredibly naive but that's how I see him. He may be a liar but it isn't to anyone's detriment and it doesn't really give him any power over anyone. The one thing I will admit is when the cop lets Gatsby off a speeding ticket after Gatsby shows him a white card. That is a major hole in my argument and not something I can possibly refute. I do not however think his crimes are nearly as dire as you imply or at least his intentions are good enough that he doesn't seem to be power hungry. He may be corrupt but he isn't trying to use that corruption to take advantage of people pursue anything more than a childhood fantasy.

The other thing I wanted to address is his motives. Your argument states:

"Gatsby had Motives for Lying-- 1) to impress Nick, a bond salesman, so he would join him in his illicit bond sales scheme, 2) to avoid prosecution for vehicular manslaughter, 3) to avoid a newspaper scandal about his affair with Daisy and 4) to avoid an investigation into his illicit business affairs."

1. I don't think Gatsby had any interest in having Nick join his "illicit bond sale scheme" as the only time he offered it it was clearly as a favor to Nick for helping him with Daisy. Not to mention Nick upright refused and showed no further interest.
(I know this opposes my argument that Gatsby wasn't driving but I'd rather just discuss than have tunnel vision because I'm too focused on being right) If anything perhaps he wanted somebody to believe him. It would make sense given that nobody actually ever believed him aside from Nick. With all the rumors about him, and Tom's accusations, and Daisy's (at least to him) betrayal it would be understandable if he just wanted somebody to believe he is a good person. That, I think, would make far more sense than him just trying to impress Nick. After all (I maintain that) proving his worth and respectability is all he's ever been trying to achieve.
2. He said he would tell anyone that it was he, not Daisy, who had been driving. I believe him give all he has done for her. After pining for her all those years, buying his house because its across from hers, and throwing those parties just hoping she would come one day its pretty clear he's dedicated to her. Heck he even sits outside in the bushes all night to make sure she's okay (which is creepy and severely inappropriate but still a testament to his protection of her). I don't think he would ever dream of letting Daisy take the blame for it.
3. Gatsby already has a ton of rumors surrounding him. I highly doubt that it would really make too much of a difference to him. If it came down to it he could always bribe someone. Anyway I don't see how the detail of who was driving would change the likelihood that a newspaper would make a story out of the scandal since, regardless its still them two in the car together.
4. Tom already had an investigation done and could still show them to the public. I suppose Gatsby wouldn't know that Tom was having an affair with Myrtle so Gatsby still might have wanted to stop further investigations but he probably could have bribed someone and stopped it from happening.

I also don't think the witnesses would have had a clear enough view to tell who was drivng but the arguments have already been made so we will just have to agree to disagree there.

As far as whether Daisy would even want to drive I don't doubt it. Similar to how Mildred in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 liked to go driving fast when she was stressed I imagine Daisy felt the same way. Both are also incredibly irresponsible and so take little consideration of how dangerous it is but do they do it for their own selfish benefit.


Frankly I didn't know such a viewpoint existed where people passionately hate Gatsby for his corruption and Daisy too. I always saw the characters as pitiful and sympathetic and while I could understand people being irked at their stupidity I didn't think they were so despised. This discussion has really shed light on the book in a new way and while I mourn the loss of the characters I loved I appreciate the new insight. However, I still cannot shed my initial feelings towards the characters either.


message 29: by Monty J (last edited Aug 23, 2017 10:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Amber wrote: "the only time he offered it it was clearly as a favor to Nick for helping him with Daisy. "

Acutally, Gatsby attempted to recruit Nick at least 3 times (twice in Ch V and again, implicitly, when Gatsby takes Nick to meet Wolfsheim.) See citation #8 here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


Amber wrote: "the only time he offered it it was clearly as a favor to Nick for helping him with Daisy. "

Acutally, Gatsby attempted to recruit Nick at least 3 times (twice in Ch V and again, implicitly, when Gatsby took Nick to meet Wolfshiem.)

Amber: "He may be a liar but it isn't to anyone's detriment... I do not however think his crimes are nearly as dire as you imply or at least his intentions are good enough that he doesn't seem to be power hungry. He may be corrupt but he isn't trying to use that corruption to take advantage of people pursue anything more than a childhood fantasy."

The people whose financial security was destroyed by buying the illicit bonds he was selling might disagree.


Amber: "..throwing those parties just hoping she would come one day its pretty clear he's dedicated to her. "

This is a popular grossly overstated interpretation of a off-hand speculation by Jordan. There's no evidence in the book that Gatsby ever said that. It's Jordan's unsupported opinion, not an established fact. (See citation #7 in the previous link about Gatsby's criminality.)

It is an overblown romantic notion (promoted by Hollywood and at least one prominent literary professor, Yale's Harold Bloom) to believe the parties were for Daisy, but the obvious reason, clearly hinted at by Fitzgerald, was to sell party-goers worthless bonds. (See citation #2 in the previous link.)

Amber: "... people passionately hate Gatsby ..."

Hate has nothing to do with it. It's a matter of reading the book closely, as Fitzgerald wrote it and citations of text prove, not how Hollywood and professors beholden to Ivy League political prejudice exploited and massaged it.


Karen Amber, good job. You should also know that everyone is wrong about this novel except for Monty. He also thinks it's a true story.


Geoffrey Aronson The parties had a twofold purpose, Monty, both to woo Daisy and to sell bonds. Whichever had precedence is a matter of opinion. You and I are on the same page on this but there is ample argument that he was slyly pursuing his heart beat.


message 32: by Monty J (last edited Jan 04, 2018 08:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "... there is ample argument that he was slyly pursuing his heart beat. "

Okay, I'm game. If that's true, please show us this "ample evidence."

There's only Jordan's offhand speculation, plus a boatload of biased literary interpretation. The only place in the book where anyone ties the parties to Daisy is that one absurd speculation by Jordan. Think about it; if Gatsby wanted to see Daisy all he had to do was pick up the phone.

Yes, he subscribed to various newspapers so he could read about her, but spending that kind of money and time "solely" (to quote Professor Harold Bloom) to see an old flameout is logically absurd and not supported in the text.

You spend that kind of time and money to make more money, which in this case means to sell worthless bonds to the suckers who came to the parties, most of whom "were brought," according to the guy with owl-eyed glasses.

Which is supported in the text by Nick's observation of a number of well-dressed Englishmen: (p.46)
I was immediately struck by the number of young Englishmen dotted about; all well dressed, all looking a little hungry and all talking in low earnest voices to solid and prosperous Americans. I was sure that they were all selling something: bonds or insurance or automobiles. They were, at least, agonizingly aware of the easy money in the vicinity and convinced that it was theirs for a few words in the right key.
Here we have seven lines of text spelling out the reason for the party. Compare that, in terms of emphasis, with Jordan's two lines: (p.84)
“I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties, some night,” went on Jordan, “but she never did."
Somehow, Professor Bloom chose to ignore Nick's salesmen and exaggerate Jordan's aside. Why?

Was this an covert attempt on the professor's part to downplay Fitzgerald's artiful critique of capitalist society's corruption in favor of classifying The Great Gatsby as an updated Romeo and Juliet? Was it because Bloom (and his academic minions) didn't want to offend the wealthy pro-capitalism benefactors who supported Yale University, sat on it's board and, indirectly, paid his salary?

Think about it. If the The Great Gatsby were taught in the Ivy League bastions of capitalism as an expose of the corrosive influence of unbridled capitalism on America's collective character, as I maintain Scott Fitzgerald intended, the door to Pandora's Box gets flung wide open. Wall Street would have to do some soul searching, backtracking. What a mess it would make. Social critique would cause the great masses of small investors to become wary of tricksters like Jay Gatsby. No, they need to be kept naive and trusting so they'll be easy targets. Just as Nick remained naive and trusting of Gatsby until the very end. He never doubted for a moment--despite credible, impartial, contradictory eyewitness testimony--when Gatsby said Daisy was driving.


message 33: by Monty J (last edited Jan 04, 2018 08:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "... Nick damns both Daisy and Tom at the book`s end with the famous line about their carelessness in destroying other people`s lives and I can´t see the argument that he isn't including Daisy in that condemnation. If he surmised Daisy to be behind the wheel then he wouldn´t have cause to include her in that very judgemental remark."


You seem self-contradictory here. If Nick condemns rich people as careless, and Daisy is rich, then she is included. If she were driving, then it further demonstrates that she is among the careless rich, perhaps the most careless among them.

Nick didn't for a moment allow himself to think Gatsby could have been driving. He thought, even suggested to Gatsby, that Daisy was driving, cinching her as one of the careless rich.


message 34: by Geoffrey (last edited Jan 04, 2018 09:31PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Aronson Yes, exactly, Monty. Sorry, I miswrote in my previous posting. It should have been written, "If he surmised Daisy to be behind the wheel then he would have cause to include her.........
Thanks for pointing out my slip of the pen.


Geoffrey Aronson Again, Monty, I have to harken back to the passage in which Jay tells Nick about his jewel hunting exploits in Europe. It is evident to Nick that Jay is lying because Jay is not a very good liar. His speech is halting, with several pregnant pauses. This is a speech he had months to prepare and we can conjecture that he has told it before as his guests at the party speculate at what he "really did" to make his fortune. The lies did not fly and there was never a quench to the rumor mill.

So when he has this conversation with Nick about Myrtle´s death there are no pregnant pauses, no tells as to their falsehood. This is why the rest of us take Jay at his word.


message 36: by Monty J (last edited Jan 05, 2018 03:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "So when he has this conversation with Nick about Myrtle´s death there are no pregnant pauses, no tells as to their falsehood. "

On the contrary there are two such pregnant pauses: (Ch.VII, p.151)
"Well, I tried to swing the wheel---" He broke off, and suddenly I guessed at the truth.
"Was Daisy driving?"
"Yes," he said after a moment, "but of course I'll say I was... ."
The dash after "wheel" and the phrase "after a moment" constitute two such telltale pauses bookending Gatsby's lie.

(Thank you Geoffrey for jogging my memory and pulling this out of me. It was this very pregnant pause which tipped me off that Gatsby was lying. )

It's the kind of thing that you wake up in the middle of the night two months after reading the book and go "Holy s***; he was lying!" That's literally what happened. Then I had to go around reading and rereading, trying to understand what it would mean gif Daisy were not driving. It turned the book upside down and inside out for me.

Then finally it made sense. The scene says more about Nick than Gatsby. Gatsby's about to confess a capital crime, but he can't get the words out before Nick rescues him, offering the suggestion that Daisy was behind the wheel. Either he was willing to sacrifice his own kin to save Gatsby's skin, or he was so infatuated with Gatsby that it was second nature to protect him.

Gatsby, true to his corrupt character, immediately seizes upon Nick's suggestion, quickly adopting a false heroic posture by saying he will shield Daisy from blame. It's a weak stance because, as owner and passenger of the car in a hit-and-run homicide, his responsibility would have been comparable to that of the driver. And did you notice that Gatsby failed to express remorse or sympathy for Myrtle?

This scene is almost a fulcrum for the entire novel. Daisy driving tips the scale toward romantic tragedy, whereas Gatsby behind the wheel and lying about it reveals his corruption. In any event, they were both corrupt for failing to stop and render aid.


Geoffrey Aronson He wouldn´t express remorse if he didn´t kill her. Actually he does sympathize with her prior to the confession. And remember he winces.

As for the parties, he doesn´t need a big bash to do business. He is called to meet with the bond thief in a restaurant with Wolfie. No extravagant gala there. But he is networking with the Egg crowd to see if he can make contacts who might buy his fenced goods. It´s more exploratory than anything else. Wolfie´s friends can now direct their criminal exploits to a greater financial gain with Jay as an intermediary. Only one middleman and everyone´s profit shares go up considerably.


Geoffrey Aronson As for the second pause, the sentence is already complete.


Geoffrey Aronson There is no reason to doubt Jordan´s observation. She´s on the money in all others.


message 40: by Monty J (last edited Jan 06, 2018 04:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "He wouldn´t express remorse if he didn´t kill her. "

Even assuming Daisy was driving, which I do not accept, it is hard to conceive that anyone--except someone like Jay Gatsby or Donald Trump--whose property was used to kill someone would not feel a sense of responsibility and remorse or strong regret.


Geoffrey wrote: "As for the parties, he doesn´t need a big bash to do business."

On the contrary. It is well established in the world of marketing that it is far less expensive to market to a large group than to seek people out individually, especially when that group has been wined and dined at company expense, softening their inhibitions and making them feel obligated.


Geoffrey wrote: "But he is networking with the Egg crowd to see if he can make contacts who might buy his fenced goods. It´s more exploratory than anything else. Wolfie´s friends can now direct their criminal exploits to a greater financial gain with Jay as an intermediary. Only one middleman and everyone´s profit shares go up considerably."

Here you contradict what you said above. Exploratory is how you prospect for sales. You've just proved my point that the parties were for peddling bonds.


Geoffrey wrote: "As for the second pause, the sentence is already complete."

It's a matter of structure. There's no functional difference between
"Yes," he said after a moment, "but of course I'll say I was."
and
..."Yes, but of course I'll say I was."
"Yes" does not stand alone; it has a modifier, "after a moment" and a subordinate clause "but of course I'll say I was." "After a moment" is the functional equivalent of preceding ellipses, indicating a telling pregnant pause suggesting Gatsby was telling a lie.


Geoffrey wrote: "There is no reason to doubt Jordan´s observation."

It wasn't an "observation"; it was a supposition.
"I think he half expected her"
is not the same as, "I heard him say" or some other direct observation.


message 41: by Geoffrey (last edited Jan 06, 2018 07:47PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Aronson Look up the word remorse and it reads " deep regret or guilt for a crime committed". You have unintentially expanded its meaning. If we assume that Jay did not kill Myrtle he would not have remorse. He would feel sorrow.

If he didn´t kill Myrtle he wouldn´t feel remorse. He would feel sorrow if he was a decent human being for the death of another. But the fact that he owned the vehicle doesn´t implicate him in Daisy´s guilt.


message 42: by Geoffrey (last edited Jan 06, 2018 07:45PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Aronson If you go back to my post, I add that it enhances his business prospects to have the huge bash at his mansion. You are selecting only one sentence to comment without reading the rest of the paragraph.

This is what conservatives do to make invalid points, such as when the National Review neglected to mention that Satomoyer, SCOTUS justice, prefaced her remarks with "I should hope that a person from the hood....."

I should hope you remember the rest of what she said, namely that, to paraphrase, a kid from the hood should have a better grasp of justice than a privileged white person.....

I go on to embrace the marketing idea of the bashes. They aren´t necessary but do make for better business.

Jay could have approached prospective clients in private dinner scenarios. That is a more customary approach among the upper classes than to throw a party to which every Tom, Dick and Harry is invited.

Yes, you are right about the corporate world. However this is not a corporate affair but a criminal one.

I suspect that Jay is also playing the "big man" approach to entering Egg society.

The intent is three-fold. To play the big man, to make business contacts and to perchance meet his favorite flower.


Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "Look up the word remorse and it reads " deep regret or guilt for a crime committed". You have unintentially expanded its meaning. If we assume that Jay did not kill Myrtle he would not have remorse..."

Per Wex Law Dictionary, Cornell Law School:
Accessory After The Fact
Definition
Someone who assists another 1) who has committed a felony, 2) after the person has committed the felony, 3) with knowledge that the person committed the felony, and 4) with the intent to help the person avoid arrest or punishment. An accessory after the fact may be held liable for, inter alia, obstruction of justice.
(Again, assuming Daisy drove, which I do not accept.) Gatsby: a) aided and abetted Daisy in avoiding detection and apprehension for murder. (He drove the getaway car, which was her murder weapon, b) hid the murder weapon in his garage and c) failed to stop and render aid.

He therefore is guilty of multiple crimes relating to Myrtle's murder. Remorse is therefore relevant.


message 44: by Monty J (last edited Jan 06, 2018 09:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "They (the parties) aren't necessary but do make for better business."

This is the crux of our disagreement and why I focused on the one sentence. The parties were not only necessary; they were vital, for the bonds were hot and needed to be moved as quickly as possible, which meant casting a wide net that wasn't tailored to the wealthy set. The targets were the "affluent" (Nick's term,) anyone with enough money to invest.

Yes, truly wealthy people require special handing, and you typically would not access them except through one of their employees who would be trained enough to spot questionable merchandise.

The parties were for the wannabes, most of whom were "brought," ostensibly in a car hired by Gatsby, according to the owl-eyed man.

No, the parties were absolutely vital to a successful bond scheme. Today investment sales schemes are done with invitation-only "seminars." (I have been to a couple, both for real estate investment trusts (REITs.) Free food, with beer and wine. And a really powerful, entertaining speaker.

What Gatsby was doing was truly on the leading edge given the times. Even today, every realtor, insurance salesperson and stockbroker looks for social events they can attend where they can press flesh and hand out cards.


Geoffrey Aronson Okay. Good argument for the gala. I wouldn´t have done it that way if I were Jay. The chance for detection would be too great for those more enterprising of the partygoers to blackmail or turn Jay into the police.

There was no need for a quick solution. The bonds could´ve sat under Jay´s pillow for a year and by that time the case would have closed for lack of solving. When one pulls a heist, one is best off sitting on the goods for a while before getting rid of them. The fuzz get tired of dead end leads and the case goes cold.


message 46: by Geoffrey (last edited Jan 07, 2018 01:06PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Aronson The more I think about this book the more questions arise in my mind.

How is that there is a dog leash in Wilson´s home but no doggie?Where´s the pooch? Wilson discovers the leash but has not seen or heard there being a dog at their home.

And how is that Wilson automatically decides she has a lover? For all he knew, she could have adopted it.


message 47: by Monty J (last edited Jan 07, 2018 02:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "There was no need for a quick solution. The bonds could´ve sat under Jay´s pillow for a year and by that time the case would have closed for lack of solving. When one pulls a heist, one is best off sitting on the goods for a while before getting rid of them. The fuzz get tired of dead end leads and the case goes cold."

I have worked in and audited the securities industry. Here's the way I see it.

Securities, like currency, have serial numbers enabling them to be tracked. Whether the securities are counterfeit or stolen, it is the title (name or ID of security,) denomination and serial numbers that go out on the wire services to alert subscribers and authorities. Every bank headquarters and brokerage office has a subscription, as do law enforcement agencies.

If sales of securities occur incrementally instead of as a bundle, they can begin to circulate, and every time they change hands, any sensible buyer will check the serial numbers against the hot list. The longer it takes to peddle a batch of securities, the higher the risk of detection. Therefore, it is vital to turn the entire lot quickly. Even amateurs like Gatsby know this.

If counterfeit, once they are printed, the forger/printer wants to be paid. if they are stolen, the thief wants to be paid. The longer it takes to raise the money, the more nervous they get. And frazzled nerves cause mistrust that can snowball into somebody getting hurt. So here again is cause for urgency.

The book didn't go into any of this until the very end, after Gatsby had been killed and Nick intercepted the phone call from Slagle. Even then, the message was cryptic. But the serial numbers were mentioned, along with enough information to cinch Gatsby as a key player in a bond scam.


message 48: by Monty J (last edited Jan 07, 2018 02:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "The more I think about this book the more questions arise in my mind.

How is that there is a dog leash in Wilson´s home but no doggie?Where´s the pooch? Wilson discovers the leash but has not seen or heard there being a dog at their home.

And how is that Wilson automatically decides she has a lover? For all he knew, she could have adopted it. "


Ditto. The leash/dog thing keeps nagging me too.

The dog, of course, is the puppy Tom bought for Myrtle on the way to the party in chapter two, but I matched the dog/leash symbolically to Myrtle's gullible husband, whom she treated like a dog on a leash until he wised up and turned on her.

As long as Wilson was willing to "play the sap" for Myrtle, there would have been no plot point and no reason for Myrtle to dash out into the road. I cannot help wondering if Fitzgerald got the idea for Wilson/Myrtle from his own experience with Zelda, who had that scandalous affair with the pilot during the writing of the novel. Maybe he had felt like a dog on a leash and felt it would work as a symbol for the Wilson's corrupt relationship.

Would love to do a word search through Zelda's diaries and look for some comment about a leash.

Maybe the leash is what made Wilson start wondering, but what's missing is a bit of dialogue where Wilson confronts Myrtle with it, asking for an explanation. Without it, we're left wondering, like we are in Cassablanca over the Letters of Transit. (There's no such thing as letters of transit, but the audience buys into the idea.)

Dashiell Hammett was good at leaving out details for the reader to fill in. The plot in this novel is almost as tightly wound as The Maltese Falcon, which was on Fitzgerald's list of favorite books.

In The Great Gatsby though, so many details are left out the book is flawed, enabling (I maintain) the gods of academia to twist it into something Fitzgerald did not intend.

On the flip side, it's these flaws that enable people like us to debate to our hearts' content.


Geoffrey Aronson Exactly, Right on. I am in agreement on every point you have made.

Now if I could only find my copy of TGG and quote directly from the text as to the dialogue between Jordan and Nick at their breakup. I still don´t understand their respective points about honor and honesty. I suspect one or the other is misusing the word as did Daisy in saying how sophisticated she is. She was bemoaning the fact, half hysterically about her high level of sophistication. I believe she is but using the word euphemistically as she is covertly referring to her awareness of her husband´s infidelities.


Geoffrey Aronson I know that you have a big beef with the lords at Harvard. I can attest to that fact having met JK Galbraith and taken a course with another prof there. What heights of elitist arrogance. I am glad I never attended further. UConn was bad enough.


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