“Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what he’s got about improving his mind? He was always great for that. He told me I et like a hog once, and I beat him for it.”
The expressions “bound to” and “always great for that” demonstrate Mr. Gatz’s belief that Gatsby is born an ambitious kid and destined to be great.
“Looking eagerly” resonates with the earlier mention of “sought admiration from my eyes.” Mr. Gatz is trying to convince Nick of the greatness of his son, seeking approval. What’s rather peculiar is that he’s doing it after Gatsby died. Gatsby’s death does not seem that significant to him, perhaps because his son has long ago become a photo of a magnificent building rather than an actual person. Like the New Yorkers, Mr. Gatz has come to see his son as a symbol.
What Mr. Gatz is feeding on is the relics of Gatsby’s success—he has it in his mind that people should all look up to Gatsby, his marvelous rags-to-riches story and his self-improvements. It seems especially tragic in light of Daisy’s pronouncement earlier in the book that well-born “West Eggers” rush “from nothing to nothing.”
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “The Great Gatsby (Chapter IX)” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and leave a comment on the lyrics box