The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published in 1925 and praised as one of the best pieces of American fiction of its time. A novel of mystery and tragedy, noted for the stunning way its author portrayed a man’s life in the American society he was a part of.
Although, it was not an initial success for Fitzgerald during his lifetime, as it was treated only as a snapshot of the frantic post war society known as the Jazz Age, today it gives readers with a window through which to observe life in the 1920s and has been read and taught all over the world. Part of Fitzgerald’s charm in The Great Gatsby, in fact, is his ability to capture the mood of a generation during a politically and socially critical and intense period of American history.
Compiled into nine brief chapters, The Great Gatsby involves the lives of four wealthy characters which later acquainted with Nick Carraway, whose perspective is used in the book. Nick’s life was based on the life of Fitzgerald himself. They came from the same town, attended the same university, served in the same army, and ended up in New York after war.
He decided to work in the bond business and settled West Egg, Long Island. His neighbor was a mysterious wealthy man in his thirties, named Gatsby, who was the subject of endless conversation to the guest of his parties. He had been rumored to be a hero at the Great War, while others said that he served as a German spy. As Nick gradually became closer and learned more about Gatsby, every detail about him seemed suspicious, except his love for Nick’s cousin, the charming Daisy Buchanan.
Jay Gatsby’s night parties were held with one and one reason only: to attract Daisy, who lived just across the bay, in the more fashionable East Egg. From the lawn of his incredible mansion, Gatsby could see her house just across the bay. A green light could be seen shining at night, which later becomes a symbol of the “future that year by year recedes before us.”
Though Daisy was already a married with another man and had become a mother, Gatsby still worshipped her as his “golden girl.” They first met when she was a young lady from a prosperous family and he was a working- class military officer. Daisy promised to wait for his return from the war. But instead she married Tom Buchanan, a wealthy classmate of Nick’s. Coming back with a great amount of fortune, Gatsby, who still believed that they belonged together, tried to pursue Daisy.
Gatsby’s mission to his beloved had guided him from the bottom to the top to the edge of life-death.
Nick Carraway had just moved from Midwest to the west egg – the less fashionable part of the town as some may said – to get into bond business. It had been his coworker’s idea to buy a house and move in together. However, at the last minute he was sent back to Washington and he was left alone.
Upon a dinner with his second cousin, Daisy and her husband Tom, whom he had met in college, his neighbor, Gatsby, was brought up in a conversation. As he tried to speak up, the subject had changed and he held back his tongue. Tom had left the table and Daisy expressed her disappointment of Tom’s secret affair with Jordan Baker, another guest at the house. Nick finally excused himself and just as he was about to go, Daisy mentioned her interest between Nick and Jordan, thinking that they would be a good match. When he got home, he saw his neighbor and built up his courage to call him. But when the words about to come out, he vanished.
Time past and Nick was invited to go to New York, to meet Myrtle, Tom’s Mistress. Without Daisy, obviously. They stopped by George B. Wilson garage shop, where Tom met Myrtle and arranged a meeting at the station, before Tom picked her up. Nick was then introduced to Catherine, Myrtle sister whom on their first meeting was looking at the furniture possessively like it was hers and the Mckees from the flat below the one they are on. Gatsby was mentioned by Catherine and Myrtle and gossips were exchanged, leaving Nick wondering who Gatsby really was.
Finally, an opportunity knocks by. On one Saturday morning, a chauffeur gave him a formal note as an invitation to Gatsby party, signed by Jay Gatsby himself and so he went to the party that night. It was a wondrous party, complete with orchestra and people came from every corner, even the ones that hadn’t been invited. Mostly were bored tourists visiting the Long Island and ended up on Gatsby’s front door.
On his way to meet Gatsby, he ran into Jordan and soon introduced to her friends who – as any other girls in the story – were busybodies who couldn’t just mind their own business and Gatsby was once again their main discussion. Jordan then brought him to her own little party on the other side of the garden before she finally took him to the host himself, Gatsby. However, he was extremely hard to find hence they walked together and spent the night together until Nick met a man whom he had met at war. The man turned out to be Gatsby. He was surprised to find him easy to talk to as he thought Gatsby would be a “florid and corpulent person in his middle years”.
Nick found the fact that bad rumors of him were told everywhere – to think that he even killed a man – despite Gatsby being like this was peculiar. When the night ended, Jordan told him to find her on the phone book and called her on the matter upon her and Gatsby discussion that night when they had separated. When he left Gatsby’s drive, a man stood in the middle of the road and was looking fiercely at his car. His car was broken and this man later would be known as Owl Eyes. In the car, there was someone else who were as frustrated as he was. It seemed that the car and wheels wasn’t connected anymore. As Nick went back, from afar Gatsby bid him a quick farewell.
For a while Nick lost track of Jordan Baker, whom he seemed to have a feeling with until one summer, they began to get closer again. In these events he found out that Jordan was “incurably dishonest” and at her first tournament, cheated to win. This led Nick to the conclusion that Jordan was not happy to be one at disadvantage.
Once Nick tried to keep track of people who came to Gatsby Party. From East Egg, came the Chester Beckers, the Leeches, a man named Bunsen whom he had known at Yale, Doctor Webster Civet, the Hornbeams, the Willie Voltaires and a whole clan named Blackbuck. Then came the Ismays, the Chrysties, Edgar Beaver, Clarence Endive, the Cheadles the O. R. P. Schraeders, the Stonewall Jackson Abrams of Georgia, the Fishguards, and the Ripley Snells. The Dancies came too, S. B. Whitebait, Maurice A. Flink, the Hammerheads Beluga the tobacco importer and Beluga’s girls.
From West Egg came the Poles, the Mulreadys, Cecil Roebuck, Cecil Schoen, Gulick and Newton Orchid, Eckhaust, Clyde Cohen, Don S. Schwartze, Arthur McCarty, the Catlips, the Bembergs, and G. Earl Muldoon. Da Fontano the promoter came there, Ed Legros, James B. (“Rot-Gut”) Ferret, the De Jongs, and Ernest Lilly.
Of theatrical people there were Gus Waize, Horace O’Donavan, Lester Meyer, George Duckweed and Francis Bull. Also from New York were the Chromes, the Backhyssons, the Dennickers, Russel Betty, the Corrigans, the Kellehers , the Dewars, the Scullys, S. W. Belcher, the Smirkes, the young Quinns, Henry L. Palmetto, Benny McClenahan , Faustina O’Brien, the Baedeker girls, Mr. Albrucksburger, Miss Haag, his fiancee, Ardita Fitz- Peters, Mr. P. Jewett, Miss Claudia Hip, and Duke. A particular man named Klipspringer was there so often and so long that he became known as “the boarder”. Although, this was quite a long list, the person whom Gatsby wished to come never did.
On another occasion, Nick had a ride and lunch together with Gatsby. That day, they had deep conversation in which from it Nick knew Gatsby more than ever. Gatsby told Nick his whole life and all the sort of things he had done. Gatsby was cleared in the suspicion as he had proofs to prove it. One of the major things was a memorial with Gatsby name on it for “valor extraordinary”. In farewell, he was told to have afternoon tea with Baker as there would some things that Gatsby wanted Nick to know. On the ride home, they met Mr Wolfshiem, Gatsby friend and had a little talk while eating. They were then interrupted by Tom, who seemed to disapprove Nick’s acquaintance with Gatsby.
Nick proceeded to his meeting with Jordan baker, where she told him her part of story with Daisy and Gatsby. How she knew them and later became Tom and Daisy’s bridesmaid. She told Nick when she had mentioned Gatsby earlier in the story, Daisy recalled Gatsby as the man she had known before. It was then revealed the reason that Gatsby bought the house there was because that he thought that Daisy would be near and eventually come to one of his night parties some night, but she never did. Jordan asked Nick to invite daisy for an afternoon tea and let Gatsby come so he could get back with her. Finally, Daisy and Gatsby met once again and reconnected their past. Gatsby then invited them to his house which Daisy was uncertain at first but in the end, they did. This only left Gatsby feeling blossomed and grew.
On another day, Gatsby told him the reason why he changed his name from Jay Gatz to Jay Gatsby, how he invented the new him and the story of his best friend, Dan Cody who had died a long time ago and left Gatsby a legacy of twenty five thousand dollars, which he never received. For several weeks, he hadn’t had the chance of meeting him and mostly in New York with Jordan and her aunt until one day he reacquainted again along with Tom. Here came the talk of Daisy and Tom hadn’t been the slightest amused about it. When the next party was held and Daisy decided to come, Tom tagged along, perturbed by the idea of Daisy meeting Gatsby on her own. In this part also tom showed his disgust and annoyance of Gatsby.
After this party, Gatsby confronted his feelings of daisy with Nick. But Nick saw how Daisy had acted last night and he came to the conclusion that maybe they didn’t belong together and told Gatsby to forget the past. After all, you couldn’t repeat the past. Gatsby, however, being a persistent hard-headed man that he was, he believed that Daisy and him would last together.
Later, when he came over again he found out that Gatsby had dismissed most of his servants to make sure that when Daisy arrived, no one would gossip and cause a misunderstanding. The next day, Nick, Gatsby, Jordan and the Buchanans were having lunch together, which was the perfect definition of awkward. They decided to left to town with Gatsby’s car. On the way, they stopped by Wilson’s garage and found that the Wilsons would move west. Myrtle, on the other hand, was looking from afar with jealousy at Jordan baker, whom she thought was Tom’s wife. After a little talk with George, they soon left. After going around having nowhere to go, they finally stopped at a Plaza hotel. Here was the final confrontation of Tom and Gatsby.
Tom was mad at Gatsby who had interfered with his marriage and seemingly destroyed his affair with Daisy, while Gatsby believed that Daisy loved him and that she would definitely left Tom for him. They broke into a fight and Nick tried to stop them, failing miserably. Jordan and Nick tried to leave the scene but Tom and Gatsby insisted for them to stay. Finally, the focus turned to Daisy. Tom and Gatsby forced her to proclaim her opinion on their fight and she revealed how she had loved Gatsby in the past but when she thought that he was died, she moved on to tom. Gatsby still confused and surprised by this confession, thought that she was too excited and couldn’t think clearly. Tom, in his rage, revealed the drug business Gatsby was on and his bond with Wolfsheim and how Walter Chase who was in prison was connected to Gatsby. In this chaos, after a moment it went down and Nick realized that it was his birthday—not that it mattered anyway.
The Wilsons was having their own heated argument and the wife was locked up. When she tried to escape, she was hit by a car. It was a yellow car as what the witness claimed and Wilson got suspicious of Tom and Nick. Holding a grudge, Tom explained to him that it wasn’t their car they were driving but Gatsby’s. Which was true, actually, however he wasn’t the one who was driving but instead, Daisy was in control.
Nick suggested him to go away at least a week as the investigators would trace his car but he postponed as he wanted to at least enjoyed a few moments with daisy first. It was described how Daisy was in despair and depressed in the letters to Gatsby when he left but she had found solace in Tom. Jordan, meanwhile, called him and it ended with a sharp click, leaving nick wondering if he would ever talked to her again. Upon the funeral of Myrtle, Catherine was hard to locate and when they finally did she fainted and someone, either kind or curious brought her to her sister’s body.
Wilson in this funeral and had a little conversation with Michaelis, which involved him telling Michael that he would find and kill Myrtle’s killer. Thinking that the one who killed and had been having affair with her was the same man, he was filled with rage. Gatsby was going to the pool when it happened. He had no care in the world as his own warmth had gone leaving him. The chauffeur heard the gun shots and when he, Nick, the butler, and gardener rushed to the pool but Gatsby couldn’t be saved. The gardener saw Wilson’s body from afar. It had been done.
Surprisingly, not a lot came. Only the police, newspapermen and photographers came to the front door. Catherine didn’t say anything but that her sister never had seen Gatsby and was completely happy with her husband and had been into no mischief with this acclaim, Wilson charge was reduced to a man ‘deranged by grief’ and the case ended there.
Nick had informed the West Egg and answered questions involving Gatsby. However, when he called Daisy, She and Tom had left with their baggage. Nick wanted to have at least somebody for Gatsby funeral so he called Wolfsheim who left him with no answer and after a few tries he eventually gave up. When the news was up in the newspaper, he expected a reply from Daisy and Wolfsheim but what he got was only a letter from Wolfheim, stated that he couldn’t came as he had another business to attend to and that he didn’t know Gatsby family at all. Suddenly he had a phone call who he had thought at first to be daisy but instead it was another man who hung up when he said Gatsby was dead. Later on, a telegram came signed by Henry C Gatz, Gatsby’s father that wanted Nick to postpone the funeral until he came.
When he came, grief was written all over his face but death had not been uncommon for a man in his age and he looked around the room with great pride of his son. They have a conversation of Gatsby and Nick stumbled upon Klippspringer. Nick was relieved when he met him as he saw him as a promise to attend the funeral. However, when he mentioned the funeral, klipspringer tried to make up an excuse that he had a picnic and this definitely aroused Nick’s irritation. He even tried to meet Wolfsheim himself but he was told that Wolfsheim had gone away to Chicago. But hearing Wolfsheim voice and Nick insisted to meet him. Wolfsheim finally came out of his office and told him how he and Gatsby met. Nick asked Wolfsheim to be in the funeral as he was one of Gatsby’s closest friends but he didn’t want to get caught with it.
The funeral went with only Nick, Henry, a few servants, the minister and owl eyes. They waited a bit more but saw no sign of anyone coming. After Gatsby’s death, it haunted nick more than anything that he went back home and before he left he met again with Jordan and she announced that she had been engaged to another man.
On another day, he met again with Tom Buchanan and at first was disgusted that he wouldn’t shake hands with him but, in the end, he did it out of formality. Tom told him what he had said to Wilson before the tragedy happened and that he had his share of guilt too but Nick couldn’t just forgive him.
Nick then thought how Gatsby had live his life. While he had tried to grasp his past, he hadn’t known that it had left him far behind. Too soon that he fell and couldn’t catch up.
Nick Carraway – the narrator of the story who defined himself as “one of the few honest people he knew”. The story revolves around him and his acquaintances as he became more and more involved and tangled in the mystery of Gatsby.
Jay Gatsby (James Gatz) – the focus of the story and indirectly the main character. He devoted his life to Daisy, whom he had met before and fallen in love with in the army and promised to wait for him to come back. However, as he returned with a great amount of fortune, Daisy already had been married with Tom Buchanan. Not bothered by this fact, he continued his quest of pursuing Daisy.
Daisy Buchanan – Nick Carraway’s second cousin. Although, married with Tom and became a mother, she still had feelings for Gatsby, which led to a forbidden affair and eventually to tragedy.
Tom Buchanan – Daisy’s Husband and Nick’s friend in college. He was a big hulking man who was considered a national figure. He had been having a secret affair with another woman, Myrtle, who was the wife of George B. Wilson. Despite this affair, he was mad upon knowing Daisy’s affair with Gatsby.
Jordan Baker – a girl whom Nick had encountered several times and seemingly Nick had feelings for. They gradually became closer as the time went by. She was engaged with another man in the end.
Myrtle Wilson: Tom’s Mistress and George B. Wilson’s wife. She was disappointed of her marriage with George, having little money and power, and was happy with her affair with Tom. She was killed in a car crash incident involving Daisy and Gatsby.
George B. Wilson – the owner of a small car repair company. Bewildered after the car crash that took his wife’s life and thinking it was the same man whom his wife had been having affair with, he was determined to find and kill the killer. Since Gatsby was the one who had the yellow car in the incident, he became the subject of George’s rage.
Henry Gatz – Gatsby’s father which later would appear in the story, after Gatsby’s death.
Meyer Wolfsheim – supposedly to be one of Gatsby’s closest friend. However, when invited to Gatsby’s funeral, it was then revealed that his bond with Gatsby was all business and he didn’t want anything more to do with Gatsby.
Catherine – Myrtle sister who had been introduced to Nick the same day he met Myrtle. A reckless girl full of lies who wanted everything to work in her favor.
Dan Cody – Gatsby’s best friend who had already been dead. He left Gatsby a legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars which Gatsby never took.
Ewing Klipspringer – a man who resided at Gatsby’s mansion and lived as though as his own. When informed about the funeral, he gave a picnic as an excuse to leave.
Owl Eyes – a man from Gatsby’s all night parties. He was one of the few people who came to Gatsby’s funeral.