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Meaning of a passage/The Great Gatsby 1. What is the meaning of the following sentence? “There was so much to read, for one thing, and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air.” 2. [ I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the “well-rounded man.” This isn’t just an epigram — life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all.” ] Does narrator think English majors are the most limited of all specialists? Book Version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Gatsby Pg. 7 Excerpt: There was so much to read, for one thing, and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air. I bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit and investment securities, and they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew. And I had the high intention of reading many other books besides. I was rather literary in college — one year I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials for the “Yale News.”— and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the “well-rounded man.” This isn’t just an epigram — life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all.
Oct 27, 2012 2:50 AM
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Answers · 2
1. Fresh air is considered healthy and morning air even more so. It gives an image that here was so much to enjoy at this point in his life, even breathing good air. 2. This is ironic. A 'well-rounded' man is usually meant to mean a man who is master at many things. The iron is to the author that many men who consider themselves to be 'well-rounded' actually have a little knowledge of a great number of things, but not a really profound knowledge of anything. The label 'well-rounded' is, many times, a conceit, an illusion.
October 27, 2012
NoAgenda, I agree with fdaxey's comments about the first question concerning fresh air, but have a different opinion concerning your second question. First of all, the passage doesn't refer to English majors. The "well-rounded man" is a well-educated and fully experienced man. A specialist by definition is limited to a narrow field of interest. How, then, can the well-rounded man be the most limited of all specialists? The irony is only apparent. The well-rounded man is limited by the fact that his goal is self improvement. His "specialty" confines him to understand the world through the "single window" of the self. As the story of the Great Gadsby unfolds the well-rounded "Nick Carraway" proves to be the only character with wisdom and integrity. His life of self-education and self-improvement makes him more "successfull" than the enormously rich Mr. Gadsby. Or as Shakespeare expressed it, "This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man".
October 27, 2012
chen
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English