A dinner party
Nick Carraway, the narrator, announces that he is writing his account two years after
the events described. Aged twenty−nine, in the spring of 1922, he travels East from
his mid−western home to work as a bond salesman III New York. He has rented a
house on West Egg, sandwiched between the mansions along the shore of Long Island
Sound. He knows nobody except his distant cousin Daisy Buchanan, who lives with
her wealthy husband Tom on East Egg, across the bay. Nick drives over to dinner with
the couple, whom he has not seen in years, and their guest Jordan Baker. Tom, an
athletic polo player, betrays his boorish arrogance as he expounds a racist theory he
has read. Daisy's magical voice compels Nick forward to listen to her, but he suspects
her sincerity when she says she is unhappy. In contrast, dark−haired Jordan strikes
Nick with her jaunty self−assurance. At one point, Nick's neighbour "Gatsby" is
mentioned and Daisy catches the name in surprise. Dinner is tense; Jordan reveals that
it is Tom's mistress telephoning him, and Daisy appears to know. Returning to West
Egg, Nick first sees Gatsby. As Nick is about to call to him, Gatsby stretches out both
arms towards the water or the green dock light opposite; Nick is mystified.
Commuting across the "valley of ashes" to the city, Tom suddenly pulls Nick from
their train to meet his mistress, Myrtle. She is a blowsy, vital woman, the wife of
servile garage−owner George Wilson. Myrtle catches the next train with them, and
impulsively buys a puppy while she and Tom insist that Nick accompany them to their
city apartment Nick reads discreetly while the couple are in the bedroom. Myrtle
decides to throw a party, and the apartment fills with people and social chatter. The
puppy blinks in the smoky air, the party gets progressively drunker, and Nick wonders
what the scene would look like to an observer outside. Myrtle starts chanting Daisy's
Plot Summary 5name, and Tom brutally breaks her nose: the sound of wailing accompanies Nick as he
Nick describes the lavish parties that nightly transform Gatsby's garden. One afternoon
a butler brings Nick a formal invitation, and at the party Nick is relieved to spot
Jordan in the swirling crowd. Nick hears many extravagant and contradictory rumors
from the guests. He and Jordan come across comical "Owl Eyes," a bespectacled man
trying to sober up in the library. Later, an elegant young man invites Nick for a
hydroplane excursion next morning, and as Nick confesses he has never met their
host, the man reveals himself to be Gatsby. Later still, Jordan is called to speak with
Gatsby in the house, and then hints at his amazing story but won't tell more Leaving
the party, Nick sees a car in a ditch with Its wheel off; the drunken culprit cannot
understand the car's predicament Nick interrupts the story here to reflect that he was
actually very busy in the weeks between these three parties described, enjoying the
adventure of New York He catches up with Jordan again and learns more of her
character: unlike Nick, she is incurably dishonest, and a careless driver.
Lunch in New York
Gatsby drives Nick to lunch in the city and tells him more about his past. Nick is
unsure whether to believe It all but decides to trust Gatsby when he produces an
authentic−looking medal as proof
Gatsby then hints of a favor he will ask Nick that day. They have lunch with a sinister
friend of Gatsby's, Meyer Wolfsheim, who was apparently responsible for fixing the
1919WorldSeries. When Tom Buchanan appears, Gatsby looks embarrassed and
disappears before Nick can introduce the men.
Gatsby's party 6Tea with Jordan
That afternoon, Jordan tells Nick the story and makes Gatsby's request. Jordan met
Daisy in 1917 and in the company of a young soldier. For a time after, Jordan heard
only rumors of her before Daisy became engaged to Tom. As bridesmaid, Jordan
witnessed Daisy's distress the eve of the wedding, as she held a mysterious letter until
It dissolved. Yet the couple married and travelled, although Tom got in the papers
after a car accident with another girl, and Daisy had a little girl. When "Gatsby" was
mentioned at their recent dinner party, Jordan realized that this is Daisy's young
soldier. Gatsby bought his house to be opposite Daisy, hoping she would appear at a
party. As she hasn't, he now wants Nick to ask Daisy to tea so that he might meet her
again. This afternoon, Nick first kisses Jordan, whose real presence contrasts to
Gatsby's ghostly devotion to Daisy.
Nick invites Daisy to tea and the day arrives, pouring rain. Despite Gatsby's
nervousness, Daisy does arrive. The reunion is difficult, but after Nick leaves the
couple alone they are "radiant" together on his return. They take Nick over to Gatsby's
house so that Gatsby can show it off, and Gatsby is clearly overwrought by the
significance of the occasion after such a long wait.
Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy
tumbled short of his dreams−−not through her own fault, but because of the colossal
Vitality of his Illusion It had gone beyond her, beyond everything He had thrown
himself into it with a creative passion, adding to It all the time, decking It out WIth
every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge
what a man will store up In Ins ghostly heart.
Tea with Jordan 7Another party
Nick reflects on Gatsby's "notoriety," and to clear up misconceptions he provides a
brief biography of "James Gatz" who, at seventeen, invented and transformed himself
into Jay Gatsby. Nick is over at his neighbour's one afternoon as Tom Buchanan drops
by with another couple. The three are rude guests, and leave before Gatsby can join
them, as he had planned to. The following Saturday, Tom escorts Daisy there,
dismissing the extravagance as a "menagerie" Gatsby and Daisy dance, then sit on
Nick's porch together as Nick keeps a lookout for Tom. Afterwards, Gatsby says that
Daisy doesn't understand. Gatsby obviously expects to repeat the past when Daisy
renounces Tom, she and Gatsby can begin where they left off five years before.
Nick is invited to the Buchanans' with Gatsby and Jordan on a sweltering day at the
end of the summer, during which Daisy has spent much time with Gatsby. Daisy's
daughter Pammy says hello, then the group casts about for something to do
Daisy suggests the city. When an innocent comment betrays her feelings for Gatsby III
front of Tom, the tension worsens. Daisy gets into Tom's car with Gatsby, and Jordan
and Nick ride WIth Tom. Tom stops at Wilson's garage, and is dismayed to hear that
Wilson plans to get away with Myrtle Nick sees Myrtle intent at the window, plainly
thinking that Jordan is Daisy. They take a suite at the Plaza Hotel for mint juleps.
Finally, Gatsby tells Tom that Daisy doesn't love her husband and they confront one
another, as Daisy falters.
"Oh, you want too much I" she cried to Gatsby "I love you now−−isn't that enough? I
can't help what's past" She began to sob helplessly "I did love him once−−but I loved
Gatsby's eyes opened and closed.
Another party 8"You loved me too?" he repeated.
The two men drive their own cars away, and Gatsby and Daisy go on ahead while
Nick remembers that it is his thirtieth birthday. The story abruptly mentions a
"witness" at the "inquest."
Wilson, acting suspiciously, revealed to the coffee−store proprietor Michaelis that he
had locked his wife up. Later, Myrtle runs in front of a car from the city, and is killed.
Nick resumes his perspective as Tom's car pulls up to the commotion at the garage. It
becomes clear that the "death car" was Gatsby's. Arriving back at the Buchanans',
Nick finds Gatsby keeping a watch for Daisy, worried about Tom. Nick gathers that
Daisy was driving the car that Myrtle ran in front of because she probably believed
that Tom was in it.
Nick warns Gatsby his car will be traced, but he will not leave Daisy, his "grail." Nick
describes Gatsby's version of their courtship and Daisy's marriage. Gatsby plans to
swim, and Nick leaves with a compliment of friendship and thanks for hospitality.
Nick then pieces together the times and events that lead Wilson to find Gatsby in the
pool, and shoot him and then himself.
Nick arranges the funeral at which only one former guest, Owl Eyes, appears, and
meets with Gatsby's pathetically proud father. Nick reflects that the East is haunted for
him, and he decides to go home. Nick has chance meetings with both Jordan and Tom,
and is already distant from them. He looks at Gatsby's house before leaving, imagining
past wonder at the sight of this new world, relating this with Gatsby's own belief and
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