"... even when I was most keenly aware of its superiority to the bored, sprawling, swollen towns beyond the Ohio, with their interminable inquisitions which spared only the children and the very old — even then it had always for me a quality of distortion."
This is today's sentence in the "Gatsby" project, where we look at one sentence from "The Great Gatsby," in isolation. We don't worry about what else is going on in the great F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. It's a sentence unto itself. Whatever feeling or meaning that is generated within the bounds of the sentence — that is our concern here. And we're allowed to get it wrong. We can go off the tracks. It's pure language and the journey from one capital letter — Even — to the period — distortion.
Are you even or distorted? Get a grip! What is exciting you? Why are you sprawling and swollen? Get a hold of yourself and your excitement and your keen awareness, or we'll cut you down to size, because you are not a child or an impossibly old geezer. You're someone upon whom falls the demand to control yourself, and so I'm inclined to subject you to The Inquisition, the Inquisition that goes on forever. Interminably.
Nobody expects the Ohio Inquisition!