On the white steps an obscene word, scrawled by some boy with a piece of brick, stood out clearly in the moonlight

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

Meaning

The graffiti on Gatsby’s steps evokes a deserted building, bathroom stall, or any other site vandals might consider uncared-for or unloved enough to deface.

That Gatsby’s house is now a target for such abuse reinforces the line describing it as an “incoherent failure.” Gatsby’s ultimate goal was to climb the social ladder and achieve both romantic and worldly success. However, it appears that he has failed in his quest: since his death, his house has gone to seed and his memory has been neglected or mocked.

Also see Barbara Will’s influential essay “"The Great Gatsby” and the Obscene Word."

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