Taking a white card from his wallet, he waved it before the man’s eyes.
When Nick and Gatsby are driving, Gatsby easily evades the authority of the police with a white card. Instead of performing his civic duties and enforcing the law, the officer treats Gatsby like an old friend. The officer’s treatment of Gatsby suggests police corruption and a skewed system of justice that favors affluent people above the average citizen. This type of behavior illustrates the extent of control and influence the wealthy or prominent have in society because they have methods and the means to work “the system” to their benefit.
The white card is a figurative and literal symbol of unethical privilege, entitlement, and freedom. Gatsby enjoys letting others know he has great advantages because it further establishes his identity as a distinguished, rich man. Nick sees the more sinister, suspicious elements of Gatsby’s personality unraveling. Since Gatsby has connections with the police, it foreshadows that he may have some type of criminal history.
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