The Great Gatsby Reading Journal

Chapter 1 Journal Entry (Pg. 1-21)

Summary- In Chapter 1, readers are introduced to the narrator, Nick Carraway, as well as several other important characters. Nick moves to a place in New York State called West Egg, which is just West of East Egg. His house is adjacent to the mysterious Gatsby mansion. After some exposition of Nick's background, the rest of the chapter consists of Nick meeting his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan, as well as a female pro golfer named Jordan Baker. Tom is rumored to be cheating on Daisy with someone in New York City.


Character- Nick Carraway- Nick Carraway is a newly wealthy man from a well-to-do family in the mid-west. Also, Nick is a World War I veteran. He is cousins with Daisy Buchanan and is a neighbor to Gatsby. As he learned from his father, Nick tries not to judge people. Nick seems to gain the trust of many people due to his accepting attitude.


Quote- "'You did it Tom,' she said accusingly." This quote by Daisy is in reference to her bruised pinky. It shows the uneasy nature of their marriage as well as Tom's violence. It is likely that Tom often abuses Daisy. Also, this quote sets a tone of scandal and abuse in this story.

Chapter 2 Journal Entry (Pg. 23-38)

Summary- During the second chapter, Nick travels to the valley of ashes with Tom to meet his girlfriend. This is strange since Nick is related to Daisy, who Tom is cheating on. In the valley of ashes, Nick meets George and Myrtle Wilson; Myrtle is Tom's girlfriend and George Wilson has no idea. Towards the end of the chapter, Myrtle, Tom, and Nick arrive at an apartment paid for by Tom and meet Myrtle's sister Catherine and the McKees. The chapter ends after Tom breaks Myrtle's nose for talking badly about Daisy.


Character- Myrtle Wilson- Myrtle lives above a garage with her husband George. She is a relatively large woman, and is cheating on her husband with Tom Buchanan. Mrs. Wilson thinks that she deserves a better life, so she has an affair with Tom and influences him to buy her gifts so that she feels loved. Myrtle seems loud and annoying, and she takes on an air of superiority even though she lives above a garage.


Quote- "Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand." This quote further proves Tom's violent, abusive behavior. Myrtle, who was annoying Tom by talking about Daisy, was the woman who had her nose broken.

Chapter 3 Journal Entry (Pg. 39-59)

Summary- Chapter 3 is mainly set in Gatsby's mansion and the surrounding area. Nick is invited to Gatsby's party and attends, wandering around uncomfortably until he notices Daisy's friend, Jordan Baker, at the party. Nick accompanies Jordan around the party for a while, and eventually they sit down at a table with a man who turns out to be Gatsby. They all talk, and Gatsby invites Nick to go on a boat ride with him the next day. Gatsby then leaves and asks Jordan to talk to him alone, and after a while the party dies down and everyone begins to leave.


Character- Jordan Baker- Jordan is a female professional golfer who is friends with Daisy Buchanan. She is small and sporty, and is known to be a liar. It is hinted at that Jordan even cheats at golf. In a previous chapter, Daisy tells Nick that she wants to arrange a marriage between Jordan and him.


Quote- "It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may only come across four or five times in life." Nick is describing Jay Gatsby's smile in this quote. It makes Gatsby out to be friendly, but also adds to the mysterious nature surrounding Gatsby. The quote makes the reader feel like Gatsby is like nobody they've ever met before.

Chapter 4 Journal Entry (Pg. 61-80)

Summary- Near the start of Chapter 4, Gatsby picks up Nick in his Rolls-Royce, and drives him to lunch. On the way there, Gatsby lets Nick know that he has a favor to ask him, but doesn't tell him what it is. At lunch, they talk to a Jewish gambler named Meyer Wolfsheim, and after they're done talking, Nick notices Tom Buchanan in the restaurant. After introducing Gatsby to Tom, Nick realizes that Gatsby was embarrassed and had left. Finally, when having tea with Jordan, Nick discovers that Gatsby used to be in love with Daisy before going to war, and Gatsby's request was that Nick invite Daisy over for tea so that Gatsby could drop in unexpectedly on Daisy and talk to her.


Character- Jay Gatsby- A bit more information is revealed about Gatsby in Chapter 4. It turns out that the reason why he moved to West Egg was to be across the bay from his former love, Daisy. When describing his education, he quickly said that he went to Oxford in a way that made it sound like he was lying. Also, It is proven that Gatsby was made into a war hero during World War 1 after his machine gun detachments killed three German divisions. Overall, Gatsby remains fairly mysterious and determined to talk to Daisy.


Quote- "'What part of the Middle West?' I inquired casually. 'San Francisco.'" Gatsby is obviously lying to Nick in this quote, seeing as how San Francisco is on the West Coast. It isn't clear why Gatsby would lie about where he's from, but it makes the rest of what Gatsby says unreliable information. Besides Gatsby's goal of talking to Daisy, not much is clear about his background or his intentions.

Chapter 5 Journal Entry (Pg. 81-96)

Summary- Gatsby and Daisy finally face to face for the first time in many years during Chapter 5. It's obvious that Gatsby's very worried about what will happen when he sees Daisy at Nick's house. After Daisy shows up at the house for tea, Gatsby walks in and leans against the mantelpiece in Nick's living room; after some awkward small-talk, Gatsby talks to Nick in another room and confesses his embarrassment, and Nick tells Gatsby that Daisy is embarrassed too. Finally, Gatsby and Daisy become comfortable around each other, and they realize that they are both glad to see each other, after which, Gatsby gives Daisy and Nick a tour of his mansion. The chapter ends with Daisy and Gatsby looking at each other in adoration while Nick leaves Gatsby's mansion.


Character- Daisy Buchanan- It is clear that Daisy is second guessing her marriage with Tom. She probably should be because Tom is cheating on her and is most likely abusive. After talking to Gatsby in Chapter 5, it appears as though Daisy feels more in love with Gatsby than she is with Tom. It is likely that Daisy will end up having an affair with Gatsby, both because she likes Gatsby more, and because it is a way for her to get back at Tom. However, at this point in the story, Daisy still seems unsure of what she will do.


Quote- "No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart." This quote in reference to Gatsby is very likely foreshadowing something bad that will happen later in the story. Even though Gatsby has Daisy by his side again, this quote implies that he will still try to get back at someone for taking Daisy. It may not be foreshadowing an event, but it definitely sounds like it is.

Chapter 6 Journal Entry (Pg. 97-111)

Summary- At the beginning of Chapter 6, it is revealed that Jay Gatsby's real name is James Gatz. Also, we find out that he learned he learned how to make money from a man named Dan Cody. Gatsby befriended Dan Cody near Lake Superior, accompanied him on his yacht, and was taught a lot of valuable information before Cody died. After more of Gatsby's background is explained, the chapter takes place at another one of Gatsby's parties, and consists of Daisy and Tom coming to the party. Tom acts suspicious of Gatsby, and at the end of the chapter, without Tom's knowledge, Gatsby and Daisy kiss.


Character- Tom Buchanan- Tom is a very dislikable character. He cheats on Daisy, and is suspected of being abusive to her. Even though he is cheating on Daisy, he still becomes suspicious when she begins spending time around Gatsby. This shows that Tom is a complete hypocrite, and that he thinks he deserves more than everybody else.


Quote- "'By God, I may be old-fashioned in my ideas, but women run around too much these days to suit me. They meet all kinds of crazy fish.'" Ironically enough, this quote comes from Tom Buchanan. It is in reference to Daisy spending a lot of time around Gatsby. The quote shows how hypocritical and ignorant Tom Buchanan really is.

Chapter 7 Journal Entry (Pg. 113-145)

Summary- Many intense events transpire in Chapter 7, after the slow, sluggish start set on an extremely hot day. Tom, Nick, Jordan, Daisy, and Gatsby decide, after a while, to go to the city to do something. On their way there, Tom, who is driving Nick and Jordan, puts two and two together and realizes that Daisy is seeing Gatsby. When they arrive at their destination, a movie theater, a confrontation occurs in which Daisy reluctantly says that she never loved Tom, and Tom accuses Gatsby of doing shady business deals with Meyer Wolfsheim. Toward the end of the chapter, when Gatsby and Daisy are driving back to East Egg together, Daisy runs over Myrtle Wilson and kills her.


Character- George Wilson- Up to this point in the story, George has been increasingly suspicious of Myrtle's strange behavior. He finally ends up shutting her in a room, due to suspicion. George seems desperate to move away so that he and Myrtle can be away from whoever is seeing Myrtle. When Myrtle is killed by Daisy's car, George is devastated, and seems intent on getting revenge. His anger is initially directed at Tom, because he saw Tom driving Gatsby's car, but Tom tells him that he was not the one driving the car on his way back to East Egg, and George probably assumes at this point that Gatsby was the one who killed Myrtle.


Quote- "He looked -- and this is said in all contempt for the babbled slander of his garden -- as if he had 'killed a man.'" Gatsby is obviously being described in this quote. He looks like this just after Tom accuses him of illegally selling alcohol and abandoning someone named Walter Chase in jail. The expression on Gatsby's face implies that the accusations are true, and that Gatsby achieved his wealth through a lot of shady business.

Chapter 8 Journal Entry (Pg. 147-162)

Summary- The beginning of Chapter 8 fills in some remaining details about Gatsby's past. It confirms that it was around World War I when he met Daisy, and that Daisy married Tom when Gatsby was at Oxford. After filling in some details about Gatsby's past, the chapter focuses on George Wilson and his depressed, desperate nature after he finds out Myrtle is dead. George is completely broken down, and he remembers when Myrtle came home with her nose broken, at which point he decides to find the man who was beating and having an affair with his wife. He goes around asking people about the car, and eventually arrives at Gatsby's house, who he suspects was his wife's lover and murderer; George then shoots and kills Gatsby and turns the gun on himself.


Character- Jay Gatsby (James Gatz)- In this chapter, we finally get all the details on Gatsby's past. Gatsby's motives were mostly only for Daisy, who he loved. He didn't really make the best decisions, but it isn't clear whether or not he deserved what happened to him. Obviously, he didn't deserve to be shot by George Wilson, because Gatsby was neither Myrtle's killer nor lover. Unfortunately, Gatsby died unsure of whether or not Daisy would choose him over Tom.


Quote- "It was after we started with Gatsby toward the house that the gardener saw Wilson's body a little way off in the grass, and the holocaust was complete." The tone of this quote is extremely sad, and at the same time, cold and informative. The part that says, "...the holocaust was complete.", basically says that the devastation is over, and no one else is going to die. At the same time though, this part uses the word holocaust, which makes the reader feel like there was an immense, unnecessary amount of loss.

Chapter 9 Journal Entry (Pg. 163-180)

Summary- Chapter 9 wraps up the rest of the story. Nick first tries to contact Gatsby's friends, but they are all superficial and will not come to the funeral. Daisy and Tom have left and nobody knows where they are at the time, and the only person close to Gatsby that comes is Gatsby's father from Minnesota. Nick attends the funeral, and then finds Jordan to tell her that they are through. Before he returns home, he sees Tom in the city, and thinks to himself that both Tom and Daisy are reckless people; shortly after, the book ends with Nick reminiscing on Gatsby, and with a depressing, yet slightly hopeful quote about life.


Character- Nick Carraway- At the end of the book, Nick seems cynical. He realizes that all of Gatsby's friends refuse to come to the funeral, and that Daisy and Tom are disastrous people. Against his own desires, he breaks it off with Jordan, who basically tells Nick that he is a hypocrite for saying that he is an honest person. Nick leaves the East, saying that after Gatsby died, the East was basically ruined for him. Nobody gets a good ending in this book, and Nick's ending is no exception.


Quote- "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." This is the last line of the book, and the one that seems depressing yet hopeful. It is depressing because it says that we are constantly getting older, and that we can't escape time. However, the part that says that, "...we beat on," gives a small amount of hope. The quote sticks to the overall tone of The Great Gatsby.