“I did, old sport,” he said automatically,

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

Meaning

The choice adverb ‘automatically’ reveals an awful lot about Gatsby’s motivation. He is fuelled by forces beyond his control and cannot master his attraction to the wealth and status represented by Daisy. His actions are almost non-deliberate, which invites readers' sympathies for his folly.

This idea is evidenced throughout the novel. Upon being reunited with Daisy, he is described as breaking down ‘like an overwound clock,’ reiterating the idea that he lacks control over himself.

Gatsby is also trying to get his story straight since he seems to have forgotten about telling Nick he received an inheritance.

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