He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.
A Minnesota native himself, Fitzgerald is setting up Nick as a kind of prototypical, reserved Midwesterner. He’s also pointing to the limits of language, and the way in which not talking directly about something can be the most powerful way of addressing it.
We might think that Fitzgerald himself takes a different approach in the novel — after all, Gatsby is filled with richly evocative language and extravagant metaphors. There are times when Fitzgerald seems to be trying to say everything. But Gatsby is also a short, subtle novel, and Fitzgerald is warning us that much its meaning will lie beneath the surface of the words he uses.
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