“Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge,” I thought; “Anything at all....”
Could Gatsby be Black?
The question is only theoretical; while Gatsby, based on evidence throughout the book — his large parties, his inclusion in society, and his enormous wealth — is most certainly not African American, he is directly related to these “three modish negroes.” A better-posed question would be, How is Gatsby’s situation similar to an African American’s?
In a period of severe racism, with a clear reversal of social norms, a “white chauffeur” is driving around African Americans in a “limousine.” Evidently, these African Americans have somehow fallen upon a significant degree of wealth and prosperity. They are, in a sense, the quintessential example of the “American Dream” since their money and success is as “new” as physically possible. Indeed, they rose up from the lowest possible social standing, in which all of their ancestors were slaves, without property or freedom, socially dead.
Yet, the ultimate rise of African Americans, demonstrating that “anything can happen,” apparently correlates to Gatsby’s own success, which Nick indicates when he relates, mirroring the earlier phrase, that “even Gatsby could happen.”
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “The Great Gatsby (Chapter IV)” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and leave a comment on the lyrics box