Seizes a cocktail out of the air,

from F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (Chapter III) on Rap Genius

Meaning

The Invisible Workers

Once again, Fitzgerald conspicuously fails to mention the servants at Gatsby’s party, instead portraying the cocktails as if floating in air. Although these lower-class, behind-the-scenes workers are crucial to the success and extravagance of the affair, they appear invisible, melding in with the air itself. In one sense, it’s their job to remain unseen while they ensure the smooth flow of events. In a deeper, more sinister sense, however, the guests, Nick included, choose to not see them.

The invisibility of the servants relates directly to the valley of ashes, where a poor, urban, working class community appears invisible to those passing by.

Like the impoverished residents within the valley of ashes, where the gray and ash-leaden agricultural imagery suggests the death of all surrounding life, the servants working at Gatsby’s mansion have experienced a social death. In both cases, members of the lower class haven’t had true opportunities to live, instead hampered by severe socioeconomic limitations. Consequently, the lower class continually seems invisible, unable to make significant marks on the world. Repeatedly, those of the upper class, perhaps ashamed at the symbolic death of their fellow humans, don’t acknowledge these “invisible workers.”

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