The Great Gatsby Reading Journal
Chapter 1 Journal Entry (Pg. 1-21)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.