The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
Chapter 1-3 Summary
The novel opens with the narrator of the story, Nick Carraway. Nick introduces his father’s advice that had receivedwhen he wasyounger,andithas stuck with him ever since. The advice Nick’s father gave him was “Whenever you feel like criticizinganyone, just remember that all people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” Nick states that this advice from his father has made him inclined to reserve judgement. By Nick narrating that he reserves judgement, it gives the reader the first piece of information on a character. We now know that Nick reserves his judgement,or at least attempts to. Further into the novel, Nick moves to west egg to begin his career as aBond man. Nick rents a small house in the middle of 2 huge neighbouring homes, more significantly, beside a man as Gatsby.Nick visits his distant cousin Daisy, who lives with his Yale class member Tom. Jordan is introduced to Jordan Baker, a famous golfer. Nick is also introduced to the oppression thatDaisy adhereson a daily basisfrom Tom. After visiting Daisy, Nick returns home and sees his neighbour, Gatsby staring and reaching out for the green light on Daisy’s dock. In the following chapter, we are taken to a new setting, known as the valley of ashes.This new setting represents poverty. Subsequentlywe are introduced to Tom’s mistress Myrtle and her husband George Wilson, as well as an important symbol known as thebillboard of the eyes of doctor T.J Eckleburg, that watch over the valley of ashes like the eyes of God.Nick is forced to spend the day with Tom and Myrtle and he later witnesses Tom hitting her and breaking her nose for mentioning Daisy. Afterwards, Nick realizes that one of the reasons behind Gatsby’s popularity is because of his huge parties. Nick is the only person to receive an invite, so he is intrigued and decided to go. Nick finally meets Gatsby for the first time and he is surprised by the way Gatsby acts like such a gentleman. Gatsby then tells Jordan something privately but is not able to tell Nick just yet. Following the party, Nick begins a relationship with Jordan, however he also claims that she is dishonest.
In my opinion the beginning chapters of the novel are very thought-provoking and demonstrate the true potential of the novel. I believe that the advice Nick’s father had given him as a child is solid advice and could be used to prevent early judgement towards a person. The advice has really stuck with me because now when I begin to judge somebody right away I remember that I may have some advantages that they do not and therefore I should reserve my judgement. This has really helped me grow and will prove to be very helpful in the future because it has changed my perspective on judgement. This advice from his father also revealed what I think is a very important part of Nick’s personality. He believes that he reserves his judgement however in his actual life he creates judgements of people very quickly. Knowing that Tom is cheating on Daisy and abusive to Myrtle makes me feel angry. This is because I know the novel takes place in the 1920s and in this time, a man of power and wealth such as Tom had the ability to do anything he wanted. However, his actions really demonstrate that he has a very aggressive and deceiving personality. Another thing about this situation that makes me angry and sad is that Daisy does not have the ability to leave Tom even though she knows perfectly well about the other woman.In these 3 chapters, various symbols are also introduced including the green light. The green light symbolizes Gatsby’s desires and dreams and Gatsby often attemptsto reach out and grab it. This tells us that Gatsby is set on his goals and wants to achieve them very desperately. I feel that having an “enchanted item” like this is healthy and good for Gatsby because it allows him to visualize his goals and set an item that represents them, so they are always in sight. The valley of ashes is also a significant symbol because it demonstrates what is left over when everybody tries to chase the American dream. Not everybody can achieve it and therefore there is a build up of poverty. The valley of ashes is also significant because it contrasts the East and West Eggs in the sense that it is for very low income, poor individuals whereas the Eggs are for more wealthy individuals. It is also evident that when the setting is in the valley of ashes, there is often a conflict that arises. This may be the author using the dark settingtointroduce conflict and more dark ideas and events.I was personally very surprised by all the rumours about Gatsby and his mysterious life and actions. I want to know who heactually isandwhat it isthat he does. I wonder if the rumours are true.I also wonder why he calls everybody “old sport.” I have many questions regarding the mysterious Gatsby and hope to know more about him in the upcoming chapters.
In the start of this chapter we see that Gatsby and Nick’s relationship is growing stronger and stronger. Nick talks about a trip to New York with Gatsby where Gatsby tells him about his life. Although Gatsbyopens upto Nick, Nick thinks that his stories are most likely fake or exaggerated. Gatsby claims he is the son of his rich parents from San Francisco, and that he attended Oxford. However, Gatsby sees that Nick does not believe him so therefore he shows him evidence in the form of a medal and picture of him playing cricket at Oxford. In this chapter we also see a glimpse into Gatsby’s personal connections, including the police commissioner that gave him a white card that allows him to get out of trouble with the police. Nick later meets Jordan who finally tells him about how Gatsby is in love with Daisy. Nick is also told about how Gatsby and Daisy knew each other and were in love before Gatsby went away to war. Gatsby also asks Nick to hook up a meeting between himself and Daisy, and Nick agrees asking for nothing in return.Later, Gatsby and Daisy have a very awkward meeting but eventually begin to talk normally and seem happy catching up with one another. Daisy seems overwhelmed by all of Gatsby’s possessions and then Gatsby reveals how he used to stare at the green light on her dock, and what it represented. Nick is worried aboutwhether or notDaisy will live up to the high expectations Gatsby had been dreaming about. In the next chapter, the narrator, Nick, goes out of the story telling perspective and begins to tell the reader about Gatsby’s real life. Gatsby was born as James Gatz, and he was the son of poor farmers. He dropped out of college because he was embarrassed by thee way he was paying for his tuition. Gatsby was funding his college education by being the janitor for the college, which he found humiliating. Once he dropped out he began to work on Lake Superior and one day he saved a wealthy man named Dan Cody from a storm at sea. Dan Cody was grateful for this act and asked for his name, to which Gatsby (James Gatz at the time) replied as “Jay Gatsby.” Gatsby began to sail with Cody and he was taught how to be a gentleman and more importantly, Gatsby was taught about the wealthy life.Later on, Dan Cody passedaway,but he left $25,000 for Cody. After his death, Gatsby decidedto pursue the life of a rich man. Nick goes to Gatsby’s house and sees Tom there because he had come to ride horses. After a couple days pass, Daisy and Tom go to Gatsby’s house for his party and they both seem to be havinga bad time. After the party Tom tells Daisy that Gatsby is just a bootlegger, but this makes Daisy upset. Gatsby tells Nick that he wants Daisy to leave Tom and live with him, to which Nick responds by reminding Gatsby that he can not recreate the past. However, Gatsby believes that he can.
In these 3 chapters, a lot of information is revealed about the past. To begin, when I was reading about Gatsby telling Nick about his life, I was also very sceptical. This is because Gatsby’s life seems far too normal compared to all the rumours that were told about him. I question why Gatsby decided to lie even to somebody he appears to be getting close to and wants to open up to. I believe that the only reason Gatsby wants to get close to Nick is because he knows that Nick has a connection to Daisy. After I continued to read, I was very surprised by Gatsby’s tough upbringing and childhood, and was shocked by how he got so wealthy and came from basically nothing. I felt angry about the fact that Tom denied having dinner with Gatsby because it showed how arrogant he is, and how he has no respect for anybody but himself and a select few others. I was glad to see that Gatsby and Daisy appeared to be having an enjoyable time when they met up, mostly because of my hate for Tom’s character. Personally, I would love to attend one of Gatsby’s enormous parties, and it shocks me that Tom and Daisy are not having an amusing time. However, I do understand why they would not have fun, because they do not like the inappropriate behaviour the guests at the party were taking place in. I was happy that Gatsby had a mentor like Dan Cody because it gave him the ability to change his life for the better. I enjoyed seeing Gatsby’s evolution and it makes me excited to see that we are learning more and more about him as the novel goes on.
Chapter 7-9 Summary
This part of the novel starts with Daisy and Gatsby’s love for each other getting stronger and stronger. Since Gatsby has now almost got Daisy, he stops having parties and fires all his workers to prevent them from spreading gossip. Nick visits Tom and Daisy for dinner and he finds Gatsby and Jordan there as well. Gatsby sees Daisy’s baby for the first time and it shocks him because he finally realizes that she is truly real, which he had a challenging time believing in the past. During the lunch, Tom catches on with the feelings that Gatsby and Daisy share, and when Daisy asks Gatsby to go to Now York, Tom sees this as an opportunity to confront them. He suggests that they should all go together. Tom, Nick, and Jordan go in Gatsby’s car. Gatsby and Daisy go in Tom’s car. When Tom needs gas, him, Nick, and Jordan stop at Wilson’s garage and they learn that George Wilson knows that his wife is having an affair, but he does not know with who. Later, they all meet at a hotel in New York and Tom confronts Gatsby. He accuses him of not attending Oxford, and he asks what Gatsby wants with Daisy. Gatsby responds by saying Daisy loves him, and not Tom. He then tells Daisy to tell Tom that she never loved him, but this was extremely difficult for Daisy. After this, Tom realizes he has the upper hand and exposes Gatsby for bootlegging. Gatsby and Daisy drive back home, and the rest follow afterwards. During the drive back, Tom, Nick, and Jordan drive by the valley of ashes and realize that Myrtle had been killed. They find out that it was Gatsby’s car who had hit them. Back at Tom’s house, Gatsby is found standing in the bushes because he is worried for Daisy. However, Nick checks up on Daisy and she seems fine as she is eating with Tom. The next day Nick visits Gatsby and suggests that he should leave but Gatsby refuses to and claims he is waiting for Daisy to come back to him. Gatsby continues by telling Nick about how he built his dreams around Daisy and that he needed her to complete his image of his future successful self. Afterwards, the story shifts to George Wilson who assumes that whoever was driving the car must have been the person who was having an affair with his wife Myrtle. George finds Gatsby eventually in his pool, then shoots and kills Gatsby and himself afterwards. Nick rushes to Gatsby’s house and sees him dead. Nick talks about what happened after Gatsby’s death, and tells the readers that very few people attended his funeral, and that all of Gatsby’s proclaimed friends did not show up. This makes Nick feel sick and he is tired of the East, he decides to move back to the Midwest. Nick also breaks up with Jordan, and comes to conclusion that Tom and Daisy are careless, irresponsible people. Nick thinks about all the people who came to America to pursue a dream and relates it back to how Gatsby had the dream of pursuing Daisy.
In my opinion, these 3 chapters were the most eventful. To begin, I enjoyed the fact that Gatsby and Daisy were falling more and more in love. I like the idea of Gatsby and Daisy being happy together, without Tom in the picture. I did not enjoy the confrontation of Tom and Gatsby. I felt shocked with how quickly Daisy lost interest in Gatsby and how quickly she regained her love for Tom. I found this very disappointing because it shows that those we chase do not always want us. However, this idea is a very important lesson to learn because it helps us grow and realize that life is not a dream. I believe that it is good to have dreams but the way that Gatsby was very obsessive about his dreams was unhealthy. I also felt very angry with how Tom treated the situation of Myrtle dying, and put the blame entirely on Gatsby without even assuming that maybe Daisy was the one driving. This showed me how careless Tom and Daisy really are. Another thing that proved this was by the way they treated it compared to the way Gatsby treated it. Gatsby was extremely stressed about the situation and stayed outside Daisy’s home during the middle of the night to make sure she was okay. Daisy and Tom did the opposite and Daisy did not even call Gatsby to tell him she was fine. Another thing that made me very angry was the fact that George killed Gatsby. This is because Gatsby was my favourite character, despite his unhealthy obsession with his goals. The part that really hit me was how none of the people that enjoyed Gatsby’s huge parties did not even come to his funeral. This part also teaches a very valuable lesson that in the end, all we have is ourselves, and the few people that care for the us the most. The rest of the people we interact with daily are most likely just temporary characters in our lives. The fact that Daisy did not even send flowers to Gatsby’s funeral was saddening because it showed that she did not truly care for him, while he loved her more than anything. If I were in Nick’s position, I would also have a very pessimistic view on society, due to him having to experience so many careless, unappreciative, uncaring people. To conclude, I really did enjoy “The Great Gatsby.” I believe that the novel expresses very valuable lessons about life, and it takes us back into a different time in history.