Chapter 1-5:A Beautiful Little Fool
Aim: In this 30-minute lesson, you will go over the part 1-5 of the book. Go over comprehension questions after each paragraph, and practice using new expressions.
After saying hello, read the following part of the book out loud with the tutor.
The telephone rang inside, startlingly, and as Daisy shook her head decisively at Tom the subject of the stables, in fact all subjects, vanished into air. Among the broken fragments of the last five minutes at table I remember the candles being lit again, pointlessly, and I was conscious of wanting to look squarely at every one and yet to avoid all eyes. I couldn’t guess what Daisy and Tom were thinking but I doubt if even Miss Baker who seemed to have mastered a certain hardy skepticism was able utterly to put this fifth guest’s shrill metallic urgency out of mind. To a certain temperament the situation might have seemed intriguing–my own instinct was to telephone immediately for the police.
The horses, needless to say, were not mentioned again. Tom and Miss Baker, with several feet of twilight between them strolled back into the library, as if to a vigil beside a perfectly tangible body, while trying to look pleasantly interested and a little deaf I followed Daisy around a chain of connecting verandas to the porch in front. In its deep gloom we sat down side by side on a wicker settee.
Describe the relationship between Tom and Daisy. How does Nick think of their relationship? How would you describe it?
Daisy took her face in her hands, as if feeling its lovely shape, and her eyes moved gradually out into the velvet dusk. I saw that turbulent emotions possessed her, so I asked what I thought would be some sedative questions about her little girl.
“We don’t know each other very well, Nick,” she said suddenly. “Even if we are cousins. You didn’t come to my wedding.”
“I wasn’t back from the war.”
“That’s true.” She hesitated. “Well, I’ve had a very bad time, Nick, and I’m pretty cynical about everything.”
Evidently she had reason to be. I waited but she didn’t say any more, and after a moment I returned rather feebly to the subject of her daughter.
“I suppose she talks, and–eats, and everything.”
“Oh, yes.” She looked at me absently. “Listen, Nick; let me tell you what I said when she was born. Would you like to hear?”
“It’ll show you how I’ve gotten to feel about–things. Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. 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.”
Why does Daisy say ‘she hopes [her daughter] will be a 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!”
The instant her voice broke off, ceasing to compel my attention, my belief, I felt the basic insincerity of what she had said. It made me uneasy, as though the whole evening had been a trick of some sort to exact a contributory emotion from me. I waited, and sure enough, in a moment she looked at me with an absolute smirk on her lovely face as if she had asserted her membership in a rather distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belonged.
What “secret society” do the Buchanans belong to? What made Nick feel uneasy?
- How does duplicity affect the relationship between Nick and Jordan, and the marriage of Tom and Daisy?
- Why does Daisy hope her daughter to be ‘a beautiful little fool’? What does she mean by that? If you had a daughter, would you want her to be a fool?
- Describe the ‘distinguished secret society to which [Daisy] and Tom belongs’. Do you know of any ‘secret society’ in the world you belong to? Do you also feel uneasy about such society? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!
Do you understand the following words and expressions? Practice using the new words or expressions with the Cambly tutor.