The Great Gatsby Reading Journal
by Bethany Schifferdecker
Chapter 1 (pg. 1-21)
Character: Nick Callaway
- Slow to judge others
- Originally from the Midwest, now lives on West Egg
- Works in bonds
- His family is well-off and owns a hardware store
Quote: "...Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men," (pg. 2).
-This quote appears at the very beginning of the novel when the narrator is introducing the story. I believe that it's an example of foreshadowing for the events to come, though I can't say for sure until I've read more of the novel.
Chapter 2 (pg. 23-38)
Character: Tom Buchanan
- Married to Daisy but having an affair with a woman named Myrtle
- Very open about his affair by introducing his lover to Nick and taking her all over the city
- Willing to throw around money to keep Myrtle happy
- Proves himself to be abusive when he breaks Myrtle's nose at their party
Quote: "'...at least you didn't marry him.' 'I know I didn't.' 'Well, I married him,' said Myrtle, ambiguously. 'And that's the difference between your case and mine,'" (pg. 34).
-Myrtle is complaining about how unhappy she is in her marriage which is something that's been pretty important in the novel so far as both her and Daisy are dealing with failed marriages.
Chapter 3 (pg. 39-59)
Character: Jordan Baker
- A golf champion that is very well known
- Attends Gatsby's parties and is brought into his confidence on some secret
- A generally dishonest person who avoids men who would be clever enough to realize it
Quote: "Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known," (pg. 59).
-This statement by Nick doesn't just tell the reader how honest he is, but shows how dishonest many of the other characters of the story are in contrast.
Chapter 4 (pg. 61-80)
Character: Mr. Gatsby
- Received honors in the war
- Inherited his money from family members
- Was once in love with Daisy and now wants to stage a chance meeting so he can see her again
Quote: "'Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.' Then it had not been merely the stars to which he had aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor," (pg. 78).
-In this quote, Gatsby becomes less of an enigma and more of a real, relatable character. His longing for a past love quickly defines his character and explains many of his actions.
Chapter 5 (pg. 81-96)
Character: Daisy Buchanan
- Unhappy in her marriage
- Still in love with Gatsby
- Willing to have an extramarital affair
Quote: "Daisy's face was smeared with tears, and when I came in she jumped up and began wiping at it with her handkerchief before a mirror. But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room," (pg. 89).
-When Nick comes back in on Daisy and Gatsby, it's clear from this quote that they have definitely rekindled their previous romance and it's obviously a turning point for the whole plot line.
Chapter 6 (pg. 97-113)
Character: Tom Buchanan
- Is quick to judge (decides Gatsby must be a bootlegger)
- Pretentious (looks down on Gatsby for being of "new money")
- Doesn't even try to appear devoted to his wife as he leaves her at the party to hang out with another guy
- Suspicious of how Daisy knows Gatsby
Quote: "He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was..." (pg. 110).
-The quote makes it obvious just how stuck in the past Gatsby and how that completely controls his life now, which is becoming a pretty important theme of the novel so far.
Chapter 7 (pg. 113-145)
Character: Daisy Buchanan
- Lets Tom and Gatsby fight over her without doing anything to resolve it
- Runs over Myrtle (probably on purpose) and doesn't even stop
- Lets Tom think that Gatsby killed Myrtle
- Connives with Tom about Gatbsy's demise
- Basically the worst person ever
Quote: "...with every word she was drawing further and further into herself, so he gave that up, and only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling unhappily, undespairingly, toward that lost voice across the room...Her frightened eyes told that whatever intentions, whatever courage she had had, were definitely gone," (pg. 134-135).
-This is the point in the novel when Daisy goes from the victim, an oppressed women trapped in a loveless marriage, to the villain. She has promised herself to two separate men and has betrayed both of them. Because of this, she is the center of every conflict within the novel and everything that happens from this point on is her fault.
Chapter 8 (pg. 147-162)
Character: George Wilson
- Completely distraught over Myrtle's death
- Driven by his grief to madness
- Is led to believe that it was Gatsby who killed Myrtle by Tom and goes and kills him to get revenge
- Blames himself to an extent for his wife's death because he killed himself after killing Gatsby
Quote: "...perhaps [Gatsby] no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. he must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through a frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass," (pg. 161).
-Gatsby has spent the last five years of his life completely focused on one single thing: Daisy. Now that he had, and lost her, his world is completely changed, almost as if he has nothing to live for anymore; the world had nothing left to offer him.
Chapter 9 (pg. 163-180)
Character: Jay Gatsby
- Worked to better himself by living a strictly regimented life when he was young
- Took care of his father financially once he became wealthy
- Lost his whole world when he lost Daisy
- Only really had a few friends in the world as no one else came to his funeral
Quote: "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther....And one fine morning----So we beat on, oats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past," (pg. 180).
-These final words of the novel show the author's entire purpose in the book, and are a perfect example of the mentality of this "lost generation," Nick is saying that we spend our entire lives chasing things that are really unachievable, though due to our human nature, we persevere, day after day despite the constant obstacles that we face. This last paragraph summarizes the entire theme of the novel.