Unfortunately, as our knowledge of others’ deepens, we often move from
enchantment to disenchantment. Initially we overlook flaws or wish them away;
only later do we realize peril of this course. In the novel “The Great Gatsby”
familiar, all-to-human arc.
Nick’s initial interest in Jordan is mainly for her looks and charm.
fluttering lips, and her quaintly tipped chin. He observes the lamp light that
“glinted along the paper as she turned a page with a flutter of slender muscles
in her arms.” He is willing to overlook her gossipy chatter about Tom’s extra-
marital affair, and is instead beguiled by her dry witticisms and her apparent
where Nick’s interest is already taking him.
It is Jordan, then, who makes Nick feel comfortable at Gatsby’s party,
home a summer house-party, Nick notes her dishonesty but forgives it,
praises his lack of carelessness, tells him directly “I like you”–and he is
smitten, After Jordan tells him the tale of Gatsby and Daisy’s past, Nick feels
overlooking this time her “wan, scornful mouth”–seals their romance by planted
a kiss on Jordan’s lips.
But the attraction can’t last and is, by summer’s end, replaced by
repugnance. The smallest of details, at first, heralds this falling-apart:
mine.” Here Fitzgerald has dropped a subtle hint that their liaison is to be the
matter of only a moment, and that Jordan’s “integrity” may be a matter of mere
apart–among Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby–that most rankles Nick, and he reacts with
disgust when she invites him in for a nightcap amid all the emotional wreckage,
then complains the next day of his refusal. But Jordan’s worst action, in Nick’s
eyes, is her failure to stay on at Daisy and Tom’s when Daisy needs her. The
was not, Nick sees that, while Jordan may excite his interest and passion, the
excitement pales in the light of her lack of “the fundamental decencies.” Though
it has been Nick’s first impulse to reserve judgments about her, in the end he
of her lack of integrity, Nick has held fast to his.