The Great Gatsby

Journal

Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Summary (pgs 1-21)

The first chapter starts off describing Nick Carraway, a man from the Midwest who has moved to the West Egg in New York. One evening Nick is invited to his cousin Daisy and her husband's house on the East Egg for dinner. When they have dinner, Tom gets a phone call that Daisy's friend, Jordan, says is from his girlfriend in New York. After dinner, Nick leaves and once he's home, he sees his neighbor, Mr. Gatsby, standing near the water. Nick looks out at the water to see what he was looking at, but when he looked again for Mr. Gatsby he was gone.

Character Description #1: Nick Carraway

Characteristics:


  • Not judgmental
  • Doesn't criticize people
  • Attended Yale
  • Currently working as a bonds man
  • Family has owned a hardware store for generations
  • Family has been well-to-do for three generations


Nick Carraway is the narrator of the novel, which means we get to hear the story from his point of view and his opinions of what is happening. Since he is not judgmental, many people tell him things that they wouldn't normally share with just anyone. He relates to the main characters because Daisy is his second cousin, Tom was an old college acquaintance, and Mr. Gatsby is his neighbor. Since he lives next door to Mr. Gatsby we also get an incite into his fancy parties.



Quote #1

"'Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,' he told me, 'just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.'" (1)


I think this quote is really interesting because it is saying that you never fully understand what someone else is going through, which I definitely agree with. Each person may have a reason for being the way they are or may not have it as good as you do. This means you can't really judge a person because you will never know their whole story.



Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Summary (Pgs 23-38)

Tom and Nick travel to the valley of ashes and meet up with Tom's girlfriend, Myrtle. They join her in her apartment but it quickly turns into a small gathering as Myrtle's sister, Catherine, and the McKee's join them. After much small talk, Myrtle begins bringing up Daisy, but Tom tells her to quit. When she continues to talk about his wife, he hits her and breaks her nose. Everyone quickly rushes to her side and Nick ends up staying out until late hours of the night.

Character Description #2: Tom Buchanan

Characteristics:


  • Big/strong man
  • Went to Yale
  • College friend of Nick's
  • Abusive
  • Cheats on his wife
  • Played football in college


Tom Buchanan plays the role of Daisy's husband and Tom's college acquaintance. He demonstrates an example of infidelity by having an affair with his girlfriend, Myrtle. Tom also symbolizes the common theme throughout the story, which is an unhappy, dishonest marriage.

Quote #2

"With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change." (30)


This quote is important because it shows how people's personalities change with their surroundings, which happens a lot throughout the story. For example, when people go to Mr. Gatsby's parties, for that night, they feel like an important somebody. Just like when Myrtle puts on a new dress, she feels fancy and wealthy, bringing out a different side of her.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Summary: (Pgs 39-59)

Nick Carraway recieves an invitation to attend Mr. Gatsby's party. While he's at the party he runs into Jordan Baker again, and they begin to talk with several people. One of the people they chat with turns out to be Mr. Gatsby who recognizes Nick from the war. Also, Nick begins dating Jordan even though he knows she is a liar and cheats at golf. We also learn about Nick's daily life describing his work, the women he's met, and his hobbies.

Character Description #3: Jordan Baker

Characteristics:


  • Dishonest
  • Cheats in golf
  • Pro-golfer
  • Attends Mr. Gatsby's parties
  • Begins to date Nick
  • Small, athletic

Jordan Baker is important in this story because she links Jay Gatsby and Daisy together. She talks to Gatsby about finding a way for them to meet. Also she represents the continuous theme of lies, by being a dishonest person and cheating at golf.

Quote #3

"It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey." (48)


This quote is talking about Gatsby's smile, which has a huge affect on people. It is like when you see someone and, by the look on their face, you can tell they have more confidence in you than you do in yourself. I think this is really interesting because it also puts Gatsby up on a pedestal, making him superior to everyone else.

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Summary: (Pgs 61-80)

Jay Gatsby drives Nick into the city to eat lunch and tells him more about himself, such as the fact that he went to Oxford and received a medal of honor as a lieutenant in the war. When they arrive at the restaurant, Gatsby introduces Nick to his friend Meyer Wolfsheim, a notorious gambler. Meyer hints at the possibility of Gatsby being involved with his gambling crimes. After lunch, he met up with Jordan who told him about her talk with Gatsby. She says that Gatsby and Daisy were once in love and that he plans to meet up with her again through Nick.

Character Description #4: Jay Gatsby

Characteristics:


  • Mysterious
  • Throws many parties
  • Extremely wealthy
  • Was once Daisy's lover
  • Wishes to get back together with Daisy
  • Lives in an extravagant mansion
  • Went to Oxford
  • Tries to become friends with Nick
  • Was a lieutenant in the army
  • Inherited his money when his entire family died
  • From the Midwest


Mr. Gatsby is the main character in this story. He knows many people, throws lots of parties, and is still a mystery to everyone. No one knows for sure what his past was like but there are certainly many stories. However, he does slowly start opening up to Nick in order to get closer to Daisy.

Quote #4

"There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired." (79)


I'm not completely sure what is meant by this quote, but I still find it interesting. These categories seem like an odd way to categorize people, but I guess it is sort of true. There are these four stages: people trying to reach their goals, people that have reached them, people that have too much other stuff to worry about, and people that gave up and are tired. That is my interpretation at least.

Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Summary (pgs 81-96)

Nick agrees to set up a time for Daisy to come over to his house and be surprised by Gatsby's presence as well. On that day, it is really awkward at first, and Gatsby even has second thoughts, thinking it was a terrible mistake. When Nick goes outside and leaves them alone, he comes back to find that they are enjoying each other's company. Gatsby then invites them both over to his house, shows them around, and has Klipspringer play the piano for them. After a while, Nick realizes that Daisy and Gatsby had forgotten he was even there, so he decides to leave.

Character Description #5: Daisy Buchanan

Characteristics:


  • Nick's second cousin
  • Lives on East Egg
  • Married to Tom
  • Really quiet, draws people in
  • Charming
  • Had a relationship with Gatsby


Daisy's role in the novel is that she has connections to Gatsby. Before she was married to Tom, she loved Gatsby and realized she is still in love with him when she met up with him at Nick's house. Gatsby is willing to do anything to be with her and goes to great lengths to win her over. Daisy is experiences internal conflict throughout the story because she is in love with her husband and Gatsby.

Quote #5

"No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart." (96)


I think this quote is really good because it is saying that nothing can change what you have your heart set on. If you want something or someone badly enough, you'll do anything in your power to get it. For Gatsby, he has his heart set on Daisy and won't let anything (even her husband) get in the way of getting her back.

Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Summary: (Pgs 97-111)

Nick tells us the truth about Gatsby's past, saying that his name was actually James Gatz, a poor man that was inspired to become wealthy and independent by a man named Dan Cody. Then Nick talks about his day, saying he went over to Gatsby's house and found Tom Buchanan and some friends there. Gatsby invites Tom and Daisy to his party the next night where they both have a bad time. When they leave Gatsby tells Nick that he is upset about them not enjoying the evening and that he wishes to have a relationship with Daisy like the one they used to have.

Character Description #6: Meyer Wolfsheim

Characteristics:


  • Sketchy
  • Notorious gambler
  • Fixed the World Series
  • Has business connections
  • Possibly involved in secret crimes
  • Friend of Gatsby

Meyer Wolfsheim is a mysterious character that is very shady. We aren't really sure what kind of business he is running, but we are told he is a gambler. Gatsby tells Nick that he fixed the World Series but that he is too wealthy and powerful to be caught. This sort of implies that Gatsby could be involved in his crimes, making Gatsby a sketchy character as well.

Quote #6

"It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment."


I disagree with this quote because I think looking at things from a new perspective can make something a lot better. It can also be fascinating to see something as others see it instead of the way you do. From my experience I think it is really interesting to hear someone else's perspective because it is something I never would have seen on my own. Other people's opinions can open your eyes to a totally new way of viewing things.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Summary: (Pgs 113-145)

One hot summer day, Nick goes over to Daisy's house to eat lunch along with Gatsby, Tom, and Jordan. When they get bored they decide to go into the city where they get a suite in the Plaza Hotel. While there, Tom decides to confront Gatsby about having feelings for Daisy and they get into a huge argument. On the way home Nick, Jordan, and Tom come upon a terrible accident in which Myrtle was hit by a car and killed. When Nick gets home, he finds Gatsby in his yard and he tells Nick that Daisy was the one that hit Myrtle while driving his car.

Character Description #7: Jay Gatsby

Characteristics:


  • Idealist
  • Stuck in the past
  • Becomes more obvious with his affair
  • Willing to do anything for Daisy
  • Possibly a bootlegger
  • Self-made man

Gatsby becomes more obsessed with Daisy and is convinced that things between them will go back to the way they were five years ago. His character is an example of someone that sees things only the way they want to see them and doesn't consider the reality of things. He is also an example of someone living the American Dream. Gatsby is an extremely wealthy and independent man who doesn't have to struggle and has worked hard to get where he is.

Quote #7

"Afterward he kept looking at the child with surprise. I don't think he had ever really believed in its existence before." (117)


This quote shows Gatsby's surprise when he sees Daisy's child. Until he had seen the little girl, he never really saw her as actually having a child with Tom. He was shocked to see her because it brought him back to reality for a little while. The reality was that things can't be the way they were five years ago because Daisy is married to Tom and has a daughter.

Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Summary: (Pgs 147-162)

Gatsby thinks back five years ago about his romance with Daisy and how close he felt to her. His story comes to an end when Nick has to go to work and Gatsby decides to get in the pool. Then the topic switches over to George Wilson and how the night of his wife's death, he confronted her about her affair. He eventually decides that the driver of the car that killed Myrtle was her lover and so he sets out to find him. George Wilson discovers that it was Gatsby, so he goes to his house and kills him while he is laying in the pool before he commits suicide as well.

Character Description #8: George Wilson

Characteristics:


  • Physically sick because of Myrtle's infidelity
  • Owns a car garage
  • Discovers his wife's affair
  • Kills Gatsby
  • Commits suicide
  • Blonde, spiritless man

George Wilson plays a major role in this chapter because he ignites the climax of the story. He kills Gatsby which changes the story drastically. No more parties will be held at his house and the relationship that began to grow between him and Daisy is over.

Quote #8

"Standing behind him, Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, which had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night." (159-160)


This quote is explaining that George Wilson considers the eyes of Doctor Eckleburg as the eyes of God. He believes that they see everything just as he does. George also states that Myrtle could try to fool him about her affair, but not God. This shows that he believes, in the end, that she would be punished for what she did.

Chapter 9

Chapter 9: Summary (163-180)

After Gatsby's death, Nick decides to have a large funeral for him, but only Owl Eyes, servants, himself, and Gatsby's father, Henry Gatz, show up. Henry is very proud of all that Gatsby accomplished in his lifetime, especially his huge mansion. Nick breaks up with Jordan and decides to move back to the Midwest. On his way out of town he runs into Tom who admits to telling George that Gatsby killed Myrtle, causing him to get killed. Nick comes to the conclusion that, in life, everyone is always setting goals for their future but are constantly being pushed backward.

Character Description #9: Nick Carraway

Characteristics:


  • Actually judges everyone
  • Plans Gatsby's funeral
  • Moves back to the Midwest
  • Doesn't get involved in arguments
  • Helped Gatsby and Daisy meet up
  • Disappointed with the East

Nick Carraway is sort of hypocritical because in the beginning he says he doesn't judge anyone, but he most definitely does. He describes himself as an honest, good man when he isn't exactly that either. Also, Nick's opinion of Gatsby constantly changes throughout the story, but in the end he sees him as a good friend and mourns after his death. Finally, he brings closure to most of the story's issues and the people at the end of the story.

Quote #9

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." (180)


This quote sums up the theme of the story into one sentence. It is saying that we all have dreams and ambitions but no matter how hard we try to make them happen we will always be pushed backward at some point and have to fight our way back. This relates to Gatsby as he has a dream to be with Daisy, but he is stuck in the past and can no longer be with her like he would prefer to be.