“I was Within and Without” What Does This Quote Mean?
The endless variety of life simultaneously captivated and repulsed me from within and without.
The implication of the sentence is that Tom Buchanan guests’ way of life is both revolting and alluring.
Nick isn’t really a fan of their ostentation and expensive clothing.
Chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby depicts Tom Buchanan, who invites Nick to his apartment for a little party. He takes Nick to New York City, where he encounters his long-time mistress, Myrtle Wilson. When the party starts, Nick is not comfortable being surrounded by many wealthy strangers. It always makes him feel out of place. He decides to drink some whiskey so that he could relax a bit. However, it doesn’t help, and he still wants to leave the apartment.
Nick engages in a number of chats with passersby while attempting to flee. They all live opulent lives filled with parties, drink, and money. Later, when he has left, he admits that neither the party nor the outside world had made him feel good enough. Nick is constantly curious as to what is going on in that apartment. By using this remark, he is implying that all of the partygoers are fascinating and having a good time. Yet he still doesn’t understand them.
The sentence that begins “I was within and without” symbolizes these opposing emotions. He continues by expressing his delight and revulsion at an extravagant lifestyle. They have great manners, yet they are lavish and unethical. Nick is unable to accept it because of his modest way of living. Nick tries to participate in the conversations with the people of the affluent society, but he still finds it revolting. Nick is unable to accept of the luxury and redundancy due to his experience in the Middle East. He stays away from wealthy strangers as a result.