He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way

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

Meaning

Gatsby is actually reaching his arms toward the green light across the bay. That Gatsby is reaching toward something so far away and, in Nick’s mind, minute, means that this symbol is desired by Gatsby.

This line also ties into one of the final lines of the book: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning ——”

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