Consoling proximity of millionaires

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

Meaning

Nick isn’t living a really luxurious lifestyle, but the “proximity of millionaires” makes him feel a bit more important and allows him to pretend that he is more wealthy than he actually is. In the intense, splendid world of the Roaring 20’s, money is what allows the rich to distract themselves from boredom and entertain themselves, and nowhere else is this kind of money, this playtime money, more abundant than in West Egg. Since this attitude of money being used to keep the wealthy pleased is popular in the time of this novel, it makes sense for Nick being next to millionaires being “consoling” to him. Nick’s house looks like a small connector to Gatsby’s mansion, but that proximity makes him feel safe behind the shield that money has to offer in West Egg.

Of course Nick is also being a bit arch and ironic here.

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