The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby


Summary
At the onset of this book, the reader is introduced to the narrator, Nick Carraway, who
relates the past happenings that construct the story of Jay Gatsby and Nick during the
summer of 1922. After fighting in World War I, or the Great War as Nick called it, Nick
left his prominent family in the West of America for the North where he intended to learn
the bond business. Nick was originally supposed to share a house in West Egg near New York
City with an associate of his, but the man backed out and so Nick lived with only a
Finnish cook. Right next door, Gatsby lived in a glorious mansion with expansive gardens
and a marble swimming pool, among other luxuries. Yet Nick did not even hear about Gatsby
until he went to visit his distant family at East Egg next to West Egg.


Daisy was Nick’s second cousin once removed, and Tom Buchanan was Daisy’s hulking brute of
a husband and classmate of Nick’s from college. Jordan Baker, a prominent golfer player of
the time, was staying with Daisy and Tom. As they sat down and chatted, it was Jordan who
mentioned Gatsby, saying that she had been to one of his extravagant parties that he held
every weekend. The four sat down to dinner when Tom received a phone call, which Daisy
suspected to be from Tom’s mistress. Afterwards, Daisy and Nick talked and Jordan and Tom
went out to walk about the grounds. Daisy talked about her little daughter and how when
she was born Tom was not even there and she had wished out loud that she would be a fool,
for that was the only way she could ever be happy. The four met again at the house and
then Jordan went to bed and Nick went home.


In the next chapter, the reader is introduced the bleak stretch of land between New York
City and West Egg. It was there that Nick first met Tom’s mistress. Nick and Tom were
taking the train into New York City one Saturday when Tom signaled to Nick that they were
going to get off the train halfway to their destination in what seemed to be the middle of
nowhere. Tom walked into an auto garage where he talked with a man named George Wilson,
who asked about a car Tom was supposed to sell him. Wilson’s wife, Myrtle, emerged from
the upstairs of the garage. When Wilson went off to his office for a moment, Tom quickly
told Myrtle that he wanted to see her and to take the next train into New York. They
arranged where they would meet quickly and moved away from each other before Wilson
returned. Myrtle told Wilson that she was going to go visit her sister in New York and
boarded the same train as Tom and Nick, but in a different car. They met again in New York
and took a taxi to the apartment that Tom had purchased for the two of them. Myrtle called
her sister Catherine and the McKees that she and Tom were friends with on the phone and
the six of them sat around in the apartment and got exceptionally drunk once they arrived.
During this time, Nick learned about Tom and Myrtle, as well as the fact that neither of
them could stand their spouse. Nick could hardly remember what had gone on that night at
the apartment and the next thing he knew, he was in Penn Station waiting for the four o’
clock train to go home.


Every weekend, Nick’s next door neighbor Gatsby had extravagant parties at his house. One
Saturday morning, Gatsby’s butler came to Nick’s house and invited him to the party that
was to be held that evening. Nick showed up that night, not knowing a soul there, and not
even knowing what the host himself looked like. He soon found Jordan, and spent the rest
of the evening with her. Nick found himself speaking with a man he recognized from the
war. Nick told him that he did not even know who the host was, but that he had just been
invited by him. The man looked puzzled and then told Nick that he was Gatsby. Both were
embarrassed and apologized to each other. At that moment, a butler appeared and told
Gatsby of a phone call that he had to attend to. Gatsby excused himself and said that he
would talk to Nick later that night. Nick then rejoined Jordan. Later, the butler came up
to Jordan and asked her to speak to Gatsby privately. Nick waited around for an hour
before the two emerged, and then said goodbye to Jordan and Gatsby and went home.


One July morning, Gatsby’s car rode up Nick’s driveway and proclaimed that the two of them
were going out to lunch and that he would drive them. On the ride there Gatsby told Nick
the story of his life thus far, most of which Nick found out to be false later that
summer. Gatsby told him that he was from a wealthy family in the Midwest and was educated
at Oxford. He said that all of his family died and he came into a lot of money. He then
fought in World War I and earned many awards for his valor and bravery. He then told Nick
that he was going to make a large request of him, but that he could not ask him himself
and Jordan was going to tell him later that day when they went out to tea.


The two men arrived in New York City and met with Meyer Wolfshiem, the “man who fixed the
World Series in 1919”, for lunch. He reminisced about past years while they ate lunch
before he excused himself and left the two men. Nick then recognized Tom and introduced
Gatsby and Tom to each other. Before the three could begin talking, Gatsby had left.


That afternoon, Jordan explained the story of Gatsby and Daisy, and how they fell in love,
but then Gatsby had to leave for the war. Before he could get back, Daisy had married Tom,
thinking that Gatsby would never return. Daisy had not heard of Gatsby until that night
that Jordan had mentioned him to Nick at Daisy and Tom’s house. And it was not a
coincidence that Gatsby lived so close to Daisy; he had bought that house so that he could
be just across the bay from Daisy. Gatsby wanted Jordan to ask Nick if he could invite
Daisy over for tea so that Gatsby could “pop in.” Nick, shocked at the simplicity of the
request, agreed.


Nick arranged plans for the tea with Daisy and Gatsby, telling Daisy specifically not to
bring Tom. On the planned day and in pouring rain, flowers and a gardener to mow the lawn
arrived from Gatsby’s estate. Gatsby showed up, extremely nervous and regretting the whole
idea. Just as Gatsby was about to go home, Daisy pulled up in the driveway. Nick let her
in to find that Gatsby was gone. Then there was a knock on the door and Nick let in a
drenched Gatsby. For a while, there was nothing but awkward pauses between the three
people, but after much prodding from Nick, Daisy and Gatsby began to talk. Then Gatsby
suggested that the three of them go to look at his house. They toured most of the rooms
and then stopped in one of them so that one of Gatsby’s permanent guests could play the
piano for them. The two of them hardly noticed when Nick left for his house.


For several weeks, Nick did not see nor hear from Gatsby. Then one Sunday, Nick stopped
over to visit and he was not there for more than a few minutes before someone had brought
Tom Buchanan over for a drink. It was a party of three; Tom, a man named Sloane, and a
woman that Nick had seen previously. They had all ridden there on horseback and were now
sitting around with drinks. After a while, the girl invited Nick and Gatsby over for
dinner, much to the displeasure of Sloane. Nick refused, but Gatsby agreed after some
coaxing. As Gatsby went inside to get a jacket and his car keys, the three tired of
waiting and rode off without him.


The next Saturday evening, both Daisy and Tom attended Gatsby’s party. Gatsby introduced
them to all of the different people at the party. Gatsby and Daisy danced and then went
over to Nick’s house to talk as Nick stood guard. They then sat down for dinner while Tom
went off with some other group. Nick and Gatsby could both tell that the only part of the
party that Daisy had enjoyed was when she and Gatsby had spoken privately. Tom came back
while Gatsby was receiving a phone call and inquired as to Gatsby’s profession, listing
several rumors he had heard that night including a bootlegger. Then Daisy and Tom went
home while Nick waited for Gatsby to be free after Gatsby had said he wanted to talk to
him. When Nick finally met with Gatsby, Gatsby was depressed because Daisy did not enjoy
herself. Nick suggested that maybe it was not possible for Gatsby to repeat the past with
Daisy, a notion that Gatsby quickly rejected.


The next Saturday, Gatsby failed to have a party as he always did before. Out of
curiosity, Nick went over to Gatsby’s house to inquire in Gatsby had fallen ill. An
unfamiliar butler answered that he was not and then reluctantly went to inform Gatsby that
Nick was there at his request. He then promptly slammed the door in Nick’s face. Nick was
notified by his cook that Gatsby had fired all of his servants and replaced them so that
he would not have servants telling the entire town about his private affairs.


The next day Gatsby called Nick on the phone. At Daisy’s request, Nick was invited to her
house for tea with Jordan and Gatsby the next day. That day was the hottest of the summer,
and Gatsby and Nick waited before the butler led them into the salon where Jordan and
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