January 10, 2013

"A breeze stirred the gray haze of Daisy’s fur collar."

Very little going on in the action here. A tiny wind creates a bit of motion in a small subsection of the lady's clothing. But poetically — in the sound and look of the words — this is a very happening sentence.

Breeze and haze go together, with their z's. Gray rhymes with the beginning of haze, and haze rhymes with the beginning of Daisy. Gray... hay... day... Gray heyday.  

Stir and fur rhyme, and there's a faint echo of that rhyme at the end of collar.

We saw the wind ruffling Daisy's clothes one other time in this "Great Gatsby" project, but we can't talk about that now, because the idea is to restrict ourselves, each day, to one sentence, in isolation.


traditionalguy said...

Daisy has fur. Gatsby thinks She is his pet.

Gatsby is in for a big surprise. Hazy Daisy is another man's pet and he has papers on her and pays for her fur grooming.

All you need to learn about rich folks is learned in The Westminster Dog Show.

Ann Althouse said...

"Daisy has fur. Gatsby thinks She is his pet."

Yeah, and a collar.

Ann Althouse said...

There's only one other mention of fur in "The Great Gatsby":

"One of my most vivid memories is of coming back West from prep school and later from college at Christmas time. Those who went farther than Chicago would gather in the old dim Union Station at six o’clock of a December evening, with a few Chicago friends, already caught up into their own holiday gayeties, to bid them a hasty good-by. I remember the fur coats of the girls returning from Miss This-or-That’s and the chatter of frozen breath and the hands waving overhead as we caught sight of old acquaintances, and the matchings of invitations: “Are you going to the Ordways’? the Herseys’? the Schultzes’?” and the long green tickets clasped tight in our gloved hands. And last the murky yellow cars of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad looking cheerful as Christmas itself on the tracks beside the gate."

Ann Althouse said...

As for whose "pet" Daisy might be, in context, Gatsby isn't present, but Tom is badmouthing Gatsby.

The motion of the fur seems like Daisy herself is bristling.

Dante said...

I'm still trying to glare tragically. I make one eye sad, and try to glare with the other. But I can't do it.

How one gets from stirred Haze and Breeze to Bristling is another one of those leaps that are just too long for me.

Maybe if I think of it enough, I WILL be able to add 2 + 2 and get 5. I know I can!

Hagar said...

Madame has a flighty mind.
But, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Wikipedia geography lessons?

Chip Ahoy said...

Well, you see, for a boy looking for a ripping story and not finding it in Great Gatsby, a breeze stirring the gray haze of Daisy's collar is excitement and tension and suspense and humor and plot advancement of the very first order indeed. Because it forces the reader to think that Fitzgerald really is most interesting of all when at Yale dressed up in drag, and that's quite an achievement for a sentence in a book to do to force you outside of it and view its author in another fictional situation in Google images [F.Scott Fitzgerald drag].

I told a bright fellow of this project and his face lit right up. Apparently I landed on one of his favorite subjects. He adored the book where I didn't. I tried real hard to get him to hate it too. I'm afraid I failed. But he did say, "What happened anyway? How did it end?"

A tale so gripping it just peters out, innit.

Here's what synopsis of it miss. The ones I've read. It all goes to hell and the dream is dead, yes, the American dream is dead, even back there in 1922. Nick lives but his dreaming dies he goes back whence he came, everybody dies, except old money goes off scott free, just leaves, and leaves behind death and ruined lives while they remain unchanged, not untouched, but undamaged, unchanged.


I don't know why it's famous. I'm that thick, I just don't. And the other thing I don't get is "the great American novel," what does that mean anyway? I'm supposed to automatically go along with the idea of it? The perfect novel. That kind of talk is unnerving.

But, my favorite part is Fabergé Egg / Rotten Egg / Cigarette Ash Tray, now who would have thought of that?

deborah said...

The quote at 3:21 was moving for me, really caught the sense of going home for Christmas Break.

traditionalguy said...

You're a pearl of great price, Professor. One in a million.

We do appreciate your courage in expressing yourself before us pigs.

Conserve Liberty said...

Well you all can just go right ahead and discuss amongst yourselves the death of the American Dream and cuckoldery and bestiality and the like.

I for one will just stick to imagery. I read and reread Fitzgerald for the imagery.

Though for just a brief moment the word "fur" did elicit a flicker of arousal .... but gray extinguished that forthwith.

rhhardin said...

It lacks the concealed alliteration of Coleridge.


"bathed by the mist"
"fainting beneath the burdens of their babes"
"tyrannous and strong"
"damsel with a dulcimer"
"dupes of a deep delusion"
"beneath the ruined tower"
"the ship drove fast"
"she sent the gentle sleep from heaven / that slid into my soul"
"but silently, by slow degrees"
"drunken triumph"
"beloved from pole to pole"
"terms for fratricide"

and many more lifted from Kenneth Burke "Musicality in Verse" _The Philosophy of Literary Form_ p.369

Maybe it's on google...I don't see it.

edutcher said...

If Daisy has fur, we know someone who will be licking his chops.

Ann Althouse said...

"How one gets from stirred Haze and Breeze to Bristling is another one of those leaps that are just too long for me."

The wind blew the fur, making it do something that if Daisy were a furry animal, she could do from the inside, through bristling. So it's an image of an emotional animal. But it's only wind.

In the earlier post with Daisy's clothing described as blowing, she is likened to a bird/butterfly that had flown around the house. Similar idea: the wind does something that looks like motion that Daisy could have physically done with her body if she were some animal that she's not.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't know why it's famous."

Because of the sentences.

ricpic said...

"That's one humdinger of a sentence," Scott exclaimed. "Alliterations and internal rhymes and all. I think that's earned me a liquid lunch." And he knocked off for the day.

CWJ said...

I do appreciate the breeze - haze construction. But like Deborah, I was more drawn to the going home passage. The phrase "the matchings of invitations" is great. Not just matching, but matchings. The plural perfectly evokes the several groups of fleeting encounters in the station.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

That's a really beautiful sentence. It's a poem as well. A blurrrrry and zzzzzey poem.

A breeze stirred

gray haze

Daisey's fur

Like this poem although not as great or complete -

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

ricpic said...

No matter how much feminists decry the abomination, beautiful women continue to voluntarily enslave themselves to wealthy men. A shanda!

Susan Stewart Rich said...

I love this Gatsby project. love, love, love.

sydney said...

I love this project, too. I actually look forward to it at the end of the day.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Susan. I love doing it. I love discovering in every sentence how beautiful it is.

sydney said...

Re: the 3:21 passage - the phrase "at six o’clock of a December evening" instead of "on a December evening" struck me. I have a handful of patients who speak this way. I find it very pleasing to hear for some reason.

deborah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
deborah said...

"damsel with a dulcimer"

It's an alliterative palindrome...(a)msel/ulcim

deborah said...

a brushwood gate,
and for a lock
this snail.

Anonymous said...

It's the 80s Music Video Industrial Fan I mentioned in an earlier Gatsby post: "it stirred the gray haze of Daisy’s fur collar as Tawny sprawled along the hood of Tom's Jaguar."

Guitar solo.

mccullough said...

The fur is most likely from a gray fox, which symbolizes cleverness/slyness and the gray fox is also an opportunistic feeder. This is a big part of Daisy's personality. Tom and Gatsby are her prey at this point.

wyo sis said...

It reminds me of trying to reproduce the sounds in a foreign language that are just slightly too nuanced to say easily. If a non-native speaker had to repeat that sentence just from hearing it they would probably not be able to do it accurately. Not quite a tongue twister though.

Dante said...

The wind blew the fur, making it do something that if Daisy were a furry animal, she could do from the inside, through bristling. So it's an image of an emotional animal. But it's only wind.

Sorry for this, but a quibble. Is it necessary to first set the context to make the purpose of the imagery understandable? If so, what's the purpose of the imagery?

A hazy breeze of fur could be sexually inviting. The warmth and softness of the woman. It's inviting, frankly.

I really appreciate your efforts to show how we are being manipulated by imagery, but mostly words, and are infected with ideas we may despise if we saw them clearly. It's great work.

But if I understand this sentence, it's something like "Here is the way I want you to understand this image," and "Here is the image."

OK, like I said, I'm dense about these things, but I don't understand the purpose. Hazy Breezy fur means sexual warmth. Anyone who disagrees has never had sex in front of a fireplace on a bear skin rug.

carrie said...

and it created an aura like a halo which is perfect because she is a mystical and divine creature