Chapter 7-5: The Interrogation
Aim: In this 30-minute lesson, you will go over the part 7-5 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 prolonged and tumultuous argument that ended by herding us into that room eludes me, though I have a sharp physical memory that, in the course of it, my underwear kept climbing like a damp snake around my legs and intermittent beads of sweat raced cool across my back. The notion originated with Daisy’s suggestion that we hire five bathrooms and take cold baths, and then assumed more tangible form as “a place to have a mint julep.” Each of us said over and over that it was a “crazy idea”–we all talked at once to a baffled clerk and thought, or pretended to think, that we were being very funny. . . .
The room was large and stifling, and, though it was already four o’clock, opening the windows admitted only a gust of hot shrubbery from the Park. Daisy went to the mirror and stood with her back to us, fixing her hair.
How can a room be ‘large and stifling’? What does that description suggest the mood now?
“It’s a swell suite,” whispered Jordan respectfully and every one laughed.
“Open another window,” commanded Daisy, without turning around.
“There aren’t any more.”
“Well, we’d better telephone for an axe—-“
“The thing to do is to forget about the heat,” said Tom impatiently. “You make it ten times worse by crabbing about it.”
He unrolled the bottle of whiskey from the towel and put it on the table.
“Why not let her alone, old sport?” remarked Gatsby. “You’re the one that wanted to come to town.”
Compare the attitude of Gatsby and Tom toward Daisy.
There was a moment of silence. The telephone book slipped from its nail and splashed to the floor, whereupon Jordan whispered “Excuse me”—but this time no one laughed.
“I’ll pick it up,” I offered.
“I’ve got it.” Gatsby examined the parted string, muttered “Hum!” in an interested way, and tossed the book on a chair.
“That’s a great expression of yours, isn’t it?” said Tom sharply.
“All this ‘old sport’ business. Where’d you pick that up?”
“Now see here, Tom,” said Daisy, turning around from the mirror, “if you’re going to make personal remarks I won’t stay here a minute. Call up and order some ice for the mint julep.”
As Tom took up the receiver the compressed heat exploded into sound and we were listening to the portentous chords of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March from the ballroom below.
Describe what’s happening in the room. How does the music elevate the tension? What’s ironic about the music?
“Imagine marrying anybody in this heat!” cried Jordan dismally.
“Still–I was married in the middle of June,” Daisy remembered, “Louisville in June! Somebody fainted. Who was it fainted, Tom?”
“Biloxi,” he answered shortly.
“A man named Biloxi. ‘Blocks’ Biloxi, and he made boxes–that’s a fact–and he was from Biloxi, Tennessee.”
“They carried him into my house,” appended Jordan, “because we lived just two doors from the church. And he stayed three weeks, until Daddy told him he had to get out. The day after he left Daddy died.” After a moment she added as if she might have sounded irreverent, “There wasn’t any connection.”
“I used to know a Bill Biloxi from Memphis,” I remarked.
“That was his cousin. I knew his whole family history before he left. He gave me an aluminum putter that I use today.”
Who is Biloxi? What do we know about him?
The music had died down as the ceremony began and now a long cheer floated in at the window, followed by intermittent cries of “Yea–ea–ea!” and finally by a burst of jazz as the dancing began. “We’re getting old,” said Daisy. “If we were young we’d rise and dance.”
“Remember Biloxi,” Jordan warned her. “Where’d you know him, Tom?”
“Biloxi?” He concentrated with an effort. “I didn’t know him. He was a friend of Daisy’s.”
“He was not,” she denied. “I’d never seen him before. He came down in the private car.”
“Well, he said he knew you. He said he was raised in Louisville. Asa Bird brought him around at the last minute and asked if we had room for him.”
“He was probably bumming his way home. He told me he was president of your class at Yale.”
Tom and I looked at each other blankly.
“First place, we didn’t have any president—-“
How do we know Biloxi was an imposter?
Gatsby’s foot beat a short, restless tattoo and Tom eyed him suddenly.
“By the way, Mr. Gatsby, I understand you’re an Oxford man.”
“Oh, yes, I understand you went to Oxford.”
“Yes–I went there.”
A pause. Then Tom’s voice, incredulous and insulting:
“You must have gone there about the time Biloxi went to New Haven.”
Describe how the story of Biloxi lead to Tom’s interrogation of Gatsby.
- Who is Biloxi? What do we learn about him and why is he relevant to the flow of the conversation in the room?
- Why do we care whether someone is an imposter or not? Do you know anyone around you that lied about their past? How did other people react to the truth when they found out about it?
- Do you think Gatsby is an imposter? 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.