As the story opens, Nick has just moved from the Midwest to West Egg, Long Island, seeking his fortune as a bond salesman. Shortly after his arrival, Nick travels across the Sound to the more fashionable East Egg to visit his cousin Daisy Buchanan and her husband, Tom, a hulking, imposing man whom Nick had known in college. There he meets professional golfer Jordan Baker. When Nick returns home that evening, he notices his neighbor, Gatsby, mysteriously standing in the dark and stretching his arms toward the water, and a solitary green light across the Sound. One day, Nick is invited to accompany Tom, a blatant adulterer, to meet his mistress, Myrtle Wilson, a middle-class woman whose husband runs a modest garage and gas station in the valley of ashes, a desolate and run-down section of town that marks the convergence of the city and the suburbs.
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Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. And that poor little girl, born alone into a lonely world. They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together. Chapter 2 Nick Carraway About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land.
This is a valley of ashes -- a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Trains and other technology like automobiles seemed to decrease isolation throughout the nineteenth century—but did they?
Or, like Facebook, do they just give the appearance of togetherness while making us all more and more isolated? Chapter 3 Nick Carraway At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others — poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner — young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.
Fitzgerald thought so, too. As soon as I arrived I made an attempt to find my host, but the two or three people of whom I asked his whereabouts stared at me in such an amazed way, and denied so vehemently any knowledge of his movements, that I slunk off in the direction of the cocktail table — the only place in the garden where a single man could linger without looking purposeless and alone. These parties are full of people who instantly forget each other, or never even knew each other to begin with.
Well, not the meaningful kind, anyway. In my car. Talk about lonely. Chapter 7 Nick Carraway Thirty — the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning brief-case of enthusiasm, thinning hair.
But there was Jordan beside me, who, unlike Daisy, was too wise ever to carry well-forgotten dreams from age to age. But at least he has someone to keep him company, right? But Nick is totally right about all the thirty-something men being married. Just saying. Chapter 8 Nick Carraway He stayed there a week, walking the streets where their footsteps had clicked together through the November night and revisiting the out-of-the-way places to which they had driven in her white car.
Probably in the rain. And in rags. Sorry, dude: we know how this scene ends. Chapter 9 Nick Carraway After a little while Mr. Gatz opened the door and came out, his mouth ajar, his face flushed slightly, his eyes leaking isolated and unpunctual tears. He had reached an age where death no longer has the quality of ghastly surprise, and when he looked around him now for the first time and saw the height and splendor of the hall and the great rooms opening out from it into other rooms, his grief began to be mixed with an awed pride.
Next morning I sent the butler to New York with a letter to Wolfsheim, which asked for information and urged him to come out on the next train. That request seemed superfluous when I wrote it. Wolfsheim arrived; no one arrived except more police and photographers and newspaper men. A little before three the Lutheran minister arrived from Flushing, and I began to look involuntarily out the windows for other cars.
And as the time passed and the servants came in and stood waiting in the hall, his eyes began to blink anxiously, and he spoke of the rain in a worried, uncertain way. The minister glanced several times at his watch, so I took him aside and asked him to wait for half an hour. Nobody came. Is it the rain? Gender Chapter 1 Nick Carraway The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon.
They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall.
Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor. Here, Tom literally—or is it metaphorically? Again a sort of apology arose to my lips. Almost any exhibition of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me. I looked back at my cousin, who began to ask me questions in her low, thrilling voice.
It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again. Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered "Listen," a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.
Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening I drove over there to have dinner with the Tom Buchanans. And just after the war I spent two days with them in Chicago.
This is evidence that the girl Gatsby was in love with—Daisy—no longer exists. No wonder she cries. Wilson stood face to face discussing, in impassioned voices, whether Mrs. Dai —— " Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.
Men have fists. Guess who wins? Hint: sticks and stones can break your bones, and … yeah. It pretty much ends there. Chapter 3 Nick Carraway It made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply — I was casually sorry, and then I forgot. It was on that same house party that we had a curious conversation about driving a car. You see, when we left New York she was very nervous and she thought it would steady her to drive — and this woman rushed out at us just as we were passing a car coming the other way.
It all happened in a minute, but it seemed to me that she wanted to speak to us, thought we were somebody she knew.
Well, first Daisy turned away from the woman toward the other car, and then she lost her nerve and turned back. The second my hand reached the wheel I felt the shock — it must have killed her instantly. This is chivalry at work—great, right? Well, maybe, until you realize that it means women never having to take responsibility for their actions, and never having to grow up. Through this twilight universe Daisy began to move again with the season; suddenly she was again keeping half a dozen dates a day with half a dozen men, and drowsing asleep at dawn with the beads and chiffon of an evening dress tangled among dying orchids on the floor beside her bed.
And all the time something within her was crying for a decision. She wanted her life shaped now, immediately — and the decision must be made by some force — of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality — that was close at hand.
In that way, The Great Gatsby is really about the fight between Gatsby and Tom: whose vision of America is going to win? His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked—and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts.
So why does he get to be mean-dad to everyone? Chapter 3 "I like to come," Lucille said. I was going to wear it tonight, but it was too big in the bust and had to be altered.
It was gas blue with lavender beads. Two hundred and sixty-five dollars. And notice how she says "I never care what I do": just one more example of the careless wealthy. Why would you care, when you know that your host will just replace whatever you break? Jay Gatsby "See! It fooled me. What thoroughness! What realism! But what do you want? What do you expect? In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and he champagne and the stars.
At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his motor-boats slid the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains.
Also, notice the insect imagery? The men and girls like "moths"; the station wagon like a "brisk yellow bug"? Chapter 4 Nick Carraway The idea staggered me. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people — with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe.
Chapter 7 Nick Carraway "Her voice is full of money," he said suddenly. That was it. Maybe something like this. Tom Buchanan "Self-control! Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. This is dated and totally racist. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made […].
The Great Gatsby Quotes
Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. And that poor little girl, born alone into a lonely world.
The Great Gatsby Summary
Buy Study Guide While The Great Gatsby is a highly specific portrait of American society during the Roaring Twenties, its story is also one that has been told hundreds of times, and is perhaps as old as America itself: a man claws his way from rags to riches, only to find that his wealth cannot afford him the privileges enjoyed by those born into the upper class. The central character is Jay Gatsby, a wealthy New Yorker of indeterminate occupation. Gatsby is primarily known for the lavish parties he throws each weekend at his ostentatious Gothic mansion in West Egg. He is suspected of being involved in illegal bootlegging and other underworld activities.
The Great Gatsby
He begins by commenting on himself, stating that he learned from his father to reserve judgment about other people, because if he holds them up to his own moral standards, he will misunderstand them. He characterizes himself as both highly moral and highly tolerant. He briefly mentions the hero of his story, Gatsby, saying that Gatsby represented everything he scorns, but that he exempts Gatsby completely from his usual judgments. West Egg is characterized by lavish displays of wealth and garish poor taste.