Chapter 3-7: Dishonesty in Women
Aim: In this 30-minute lesson, you will go over the part 3-7 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.
I began to like New York, the racy, adventurous feel of it at night and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye. I liked to walk up Fifth Avenue and pick out romantic women from the crowd and imagine that in a few minutes I was going to enter into their lives, and no one would ever know or disapprove. Sometimes, in my mind, I followed them to their apartments on the corners of hidden streets, and they turned and smiled back at me before they faded through a door into warm darkness. At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others–poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner–young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.
Again at eight o’clock, when the dark lanes of the Forties were five deep with throbbing taxi cabs, bound for the theatre district, I felt a sinking in my heart. Forms leaned together in the taxis as they waited, and voices sang, and there was laughter from unheard jokes, and lighted cigarettes outlined unintelligible gestures inside. Imagining that I, too, was hurrying toward gayety and sharing their intimate excitement, I wished them well.
How does Nick describe New York City? Describe New York that you know of.
For a while I lost sight of Jordan Baker, and then in midsummer I found her again. At first I was flattered to go places with her because she was a golf champion and every one knew her name. Then it was something more. I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity. The bored haughty face that she turned to the world concealed something–most affectations conceal something eventually, even though they don’t in the beginning–and one day I found what it was. When we were on a house-party together up in Warwick, she left a borrowed car out in the rain with the top down, and then lied about it–and suddenly I remembered the story about her that had eluded me that night at Daisy’s. At her first big golf tournament there was a row that nearly reached the newspapers–a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round. The thing approached the proportions of a scandal–then died away. A caddy retracted his statement and the only other witness admitted that he might have been mistaken. The incident and the name had remained together in my mind.
Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever shrewd men and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage, and given this unwillingness I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard jaunty body.
What does Jordan’s actions say about her personality? Why did she ‘avoid clever shrewd men’?
It made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply–I was casually sorry, and then I forgot. It was on that same house party that we had a curious conversation about driving a car. It started because she passed so close to some workmen that our fender flicked a button on one man’s coat.
Do you agree with Nick about ‘dishonesty in a woman’?
“You’re a rotten driver,” I protested. “Either you ought to be more careful or you oughtn’t to drive at all.”
“I am careful.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Well, other people are,” she said lightly.
“What’s that got to do with it?”
“They’ll keep out of my way,” she insisted. “It takes two to make an accident.”
“Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself.”
“I hope I never will,” she answered. “I hate careless people. That’s why I like you.”
Her grey, sun-strained eyes stared straight ahead, but she had deliberately shifted our relations, and for a moment I thought I loved her. But I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires, and I knew that first I had to get myself definitely out of that tangle back home. I’d been writing letters once a week and signing them: “Love, Nick,” and all I could think of was how, when that certain girl played tennis, a faint mustache of perspiration appeared on her upper lip. Nevertheless there was a vague understanding that had to be tactfully broken off before I was free.
Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.
Why does Nick say that ‘[he is] one of the few honest people that [he has] ever known’? Do you think Nick is an honest man?
- Describe Jordan in your own words. What kind of person and woman is she? Do you like Jordan?
- What does Jordan’s driving say about her character?
- Are there any stereotypes against women in your country? 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.