The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Set in the background of jazz age in USA, The Great Gatsby is considered a phenomenal American classic by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The novel highlights the poignant tale of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, and his pursuit of Daisy Buchanan, a wealthy young woman whom he loved in his youth.
The Great Gatsby Characters
Nick Carraway is the narrator and moral arbiter of The Great Gatsby.
Tom Buchanan represents the brutality and moral carelessness of the established rich.
Daisy Fay Buchanan
She is Nick’s distant cousin and Tom’s wife, she is the “Golden Girl” who has become the incarnation of Gatsby’s dream.
Jordan Baker is an attractive young woman golfer who becomes involved with the narrator and who is given to compulsive lying.
Jay Gatsby is both a racketeer and a romantic idealist, he devotes his life to amassing the wealth he thinks will win Daisy and thereby make his dream come true.
George Wilson is the proprietor of a shabby garage in the “valley of ashes.” His wife, Myrtle, is Tom’s mistress and he is the deluded killer of both Gatsby and himself.
Myrile Wilson is a woman of ludicrous ostentation, whose animal ‘vitality’ attracts Tom and eventually leads to her death.
Catherine, Myrtle’s heavily made-up sister, “a slender, worldly girl of about thirty.”
Mr. and Mrs. Mckee
Mr. and Mrs. Mckee is a photographer and his wife, who live in an apartment below the one Tom keeps for Myrtle.
“Owl-Eyes” is a stout, middle-aged man who attends Gatsby’s parties and turns up at his funeral.
Meyer Wolfsheim is the Jewish gambler and racketeer who is Gatsby’s business associate.
Ewing Klipspringer is the piano-playing ‘boarder’ at Gatsby’s mansion. He is more interested in recovering his gym shoes than in attending Gatsby’s funeral.
Dan Cody is a “pioneer debauchee” who employed youthful Gatsby and gave him his “singularly appropriate education.”
Mr. Sloane, He and his lady friend snub Gatsby one afternoon when they stop at his house with Tom.
Michaelis is a young Greek who operates a coffee shop next door to Wilson’s garage.
Pammy Buchanan is Tom and Daisy’s daughter, she appears momentarily as a possession to be displayed.
Henry C. Gatz
Henry C. Gatz is Jay Gatsby’s father, a solemn, helpless old man who takes pride in his son’s prosperity.
The Great Gatsby Summary
Nick Carraway is from a prominent, well-to-do family in the Mid-West. He comes to New York to amass a fortune from bond business. He rents a house at West Egg, next to Gatsby’s palatial residence and within a stone’s throw of his cousin Daisy Fay Buchanan’s residence at East Egg. He is delighted to watch life in New York at close quarters.
Tom Buchanan’s, Daisy’s husband, is a fabulously rich and robust person; he takes keen interest in sports and games, excelling in football. Nick does not understand why Daisy should cling to Tom who, perhaps dissatisfied with his married life. But Daisy wants Nick to be involved with Jordan Baker, her companion who is a golf player, or get engaged to someone else.
One Sunday afternoon, Tom and Nick travel by train bound for New York and get down midway at the valley of ashes where a huge signboard of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, the oculist in the form of a pair of eyes (minus nose), stands. Tom calls on his mistress, Myrtle Wilson, wife of a garage owner, George B. Wilson, Myrtle Wilson is a healthy stout woman in her thirties. She travels under the pretext of seeing her sister, Catherine, on the advice of Tom, to New York for their routine clandestine meeting in a flat on the top floor of a building in the city. When Tom and Myrtle meet Catherine, Mrs. McKee and her husband the conversation centres round the strained relations between Tom and Daisy Daisy’s being a Catholic is a great hindrance in regard to her divorcing Tom. When Myrtle refers derogatorily to Daisy, Tom slaps her across the face.
Nick Carraway’s other neighbour, Jay Gatsby, whom he has seen earlier stretching his hands towards a great light across the bay, hosts a party where people indulge in endless rounds of drinking, dancing eating and backslapping with the host keeping himself in the background most of the time. Nick’s only acquaintance at the party is Jordan Baker. Rumours are afloat that Gatsby is a spy and he has killed a man.
While looking for the host, Nick and Jordan Baker meet a man with Owl’s eyes in Gatsby’s library, who appreciates Gatsby’s taste for “real books.” Then they come across Gatsby, the host himself, who is immediately wanted on the phone. Nick surmises that Gatsby himself is not in the social swim, because he abstains from drinking. But Jordan Baker has a private meeting with Gatsby and later leaves the party in a daze. She, however, keeps the agenda of the meeting a secret. This disillusions Nick.
Nick also hears one Sunday morning the Gatsby is a bootlegger and murderer. He is also a nephew of Van Hindenburg. Nick prepares a list of guests at Gatsby’s parties that summer. A large number of these guests are from East Egg, the favourite to haunt of the rich for ages.
Gatsby calls on Nick and invites him to lunch in New York that day. On the way, he spins a long yarn about his parentage, his higher education at Oxford his distant travels. He refers to his military feats, the death of German soldiers in the First World War, and consequently being awarded medals by all the Allies. He wants to impress Nick that, socially and financially, he is at par with Daisy.
Gatsby introduces Nick to Meyer Wolfsheim, a gambler by profession having been charged with fixing the World Series at the old Metropole restaurant in New York. When Gatsby goes to answer a phone call, Wolfsheim boosts the image of Gatsby as an innocent and moral person. Then, Gatsby and Wolfsheim discuss the murder of Rosy Rosenthal and how the culprits came to be electrocuted for the crime. Meyer Wolfsheim, after eating to his heart’s content, leaves. Tom appears and he is introduced by Nick to Gatsby.
Jordan Baker unearths Daisy’s amorous past and reveals it to Nick. Daisy always dressed in white, driving her white car, was the most popular girl in Louisville five years ago. Young men took a fancy to her and hung about her. When she had a tryst with a young lieutenant (Gatsby) one day, she absented herself from the Red Cross Office that day. When she decided to marry Tom, he presented her with a string of pearls worth three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. A baby was born. With the arrival of Nick and the constant mention of Gatsby, her love for him is revived. But she refuses to see him.
Back from a visit to the Central Park where Nick and Jordan Baker profess their love for each other, Nick finds Gatsby’s mansion decorated with make-and-break lights, from tower to cellar, his own house covered in a splendour of light. But there is perfect silence in the house. Gatsby offers Nick a bit of confidential and lucrative business, but Nick declines as his hands are full.
Daisy comes to visit Gatsby on the misty Sunday afternoon, but Gatsby is in low spirits. Nick eavesdrops on Gatsby and Daisy while they exchange their secrets. Later, when both of them move around the house, Gatsby shows off his costly outfits to Daisy and is in cheerful spirits. They enter the music room where Klipspringer sings The Love Nest and another song for them. Gatsby is lost in Daisy’s charms and Nick quietly leaves.
A reporter calls on Gatsby to verify rumour about him. By now, Nick has come to know of Gatsby’s background. Gatsby comes of poor parentage in North Dakota, but entertained lofty aspirations of rising about his lowly status in life. He joined Lutheran College of St. Olaf’s in South Minnesota, but only for a couple of weeks. He worked along the south share of Lake Superior as a clam-digger and salmon-fisher. He was then picked up by Dan Cody, a fabulously rich person. Before becoming Cody’s right hand man, Gatsby worked with him as a steward, mate, skipper, secretary and even jailor for five years. On Dan Cody’s death, he reportedly inherited a sizeable sum of money some twenty five thousand dollars the major portion of which he lost to Ella Kaye. Cody’s mistress, in a law suit.
Gatsby now lets Tom know that he has known his wife Daisy. Tom Leaves along with Nick and other guests (Mr. Sloane and a lovely lady on horseback), showing a deep dislike for Gatsby. Tom warns Daisy not to attend any of Gatsby’s parties alone. At one such party. Gatsby dances the Daisy while Tom is made to dance with someone else. Tom finds out that Gatsby is a bootlegger and gets a huge sum from the drug stores. Gatsby confides to Nick that he wants Daisy to be separated from Tam to return to their native Louisville to recreate their past and get married.
Gatsby strips his mansion of all decorative lights and engages a new group of attendants so that Daisy’s frequent visit may not become public. He is invited by Daisy, along with Nick, to lunch. When Tom goes to answer the phone of his mistress, Daisy introduces her three year old daughter to Gatsby. Tom has now started suspecting a clandestine relationship between his wife and Gatsby.
When Daisy proposes to go to town in Gatsby’s car, Tom has to drive with Nick and Jordan Baker. Gatsby drives Tom’s car and Tom drives Gatsby’s car to New York. On the way, Tom stops for a while for a refuel at Wilson’s garage where Myrtle looks down angrily at Jordan Baker, mistaking her for Daisy.
When they reach the Plaza Hotel in New York, Tom asks Gatsby about his background and his relationship with Daisy. Daisy comes to Gatsby’s help and confesses that she loves Gatsby alone. Tom now exposes Gatsby’s nefarious activities-running drug stores, selling com alcohol and having killed someone. He does not want Daisy to divorce him for such an immoral character.
On the way back, Gatsby starts a little earlier in his own big yellow car. When Tom later comes to Wilson’s garage, they find that a big yellow car has overrun Myrtle Wilson.
While coming back home from Tom’s, Nick meets Gatsby hidden in the bushes with some strong men. He informs Tom that Daisy was driving the car. But he is determined to take upon himself the blame for Daisy’s sake. He is going to stay there the whole night among the bushes so that Daisy is not bullied and tortured by Tom.
Nick hardly sleeps a wink that night. Next morning he calls on Gatsby, who seems to be tired and depressed. Gatsby turns down Nick’s advice by shifting elsewhere for dodging the police. Gatsby tells Nick that he has been in love with Daisy all these years and that he takes it for granted that Daisy does not love Tom. Nick pays Gatsby a rare compliment that he is worth all put together.
Jordan Baker informs Nick that she has already left Daisy’s house and that George Wilson is beside himself with grief at his wife Myrtle’s death and wants God to punish the evil-doer. In a state of madness, he is heading towards Gatsby’s house because he believes that Gatsby has killed his wife. Meanwhile, Gatsby is waiting anxiously for a phone call from Daisy to know her plans. But when he is swimming in his pool at two in the night, he is shot dead by Wilson who, immediately after the murder, commits suicide.
Newspapers report that Gatsby has been killed by a distraught husband, whose wife had been overrun by his car. Nick is surprised to find no one turning up for Gatsby’s funeral. He makes all the arrangements by himself and holds himself responsible for the tragedy. Tom and Daisy are said to have left town after the incident. When Nick approaches Meyer Wolfsheim to attend the funeral, Wolfsheim excuses himself on the pretext that he is up to his ears in work. There is a phone call informing Nick that a member of Gatsby’s gang has been arrested.
Then, Gatsby’s father, Henry C. Gatz, appears on the scene. He tells Nick how Gatsby had come up in life in the face of all difficulties. The man with the owl-eyed spectacles that Nick had earlier seen in Gatsby’s library also comes.
Nick discovers that life in the East Egg is full of pretence, whereas life in the Mid-Western (where he comes from) is characterised by a rare degree of attachment to time-honoured customs and traditions, the pattern of life hardly changes there. He meets Jordan Baker before he leaves and she accuses him of being careless. Nick, however, preserves his love and admiration for Gatsby and wipes out carefully a bit of abuse scratched on Gatsby’s house. He compares him to be a worthy successor of Dutch sailors, who came over to America in search of happiness.
5 Best The Great Gatsby Quotes
#1 “I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
#2 “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
#3 “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
#4 “Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”
#5 “So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.”
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