My Thoughts on the Book as a Whole

What else can I say about The Great Gatsby that I haven’t said already?  Well, to start with, overall I found The Great Gatsby to be an interesting novel that I didn’t completely dread to pick up and read every day that I needed to.  It certainly wasn’t a bore to read, like some other classic novels that contain confusing text and word choices that I don’t understand.  I think that The Great Gatsby was a very well-written novel that employed great diction and sophistication, but wasn’t too complex that I had a loss of understanding and wasn’t able to comprehend the main ideas and the plot in general.  The plot of The Great Gatsby was very intriguing, with the changes in the relationships between the main characters and the discovery of who Gatsby really is.  The themes of the novel were well-addressed, ones of aspiration and possibilities, which included Gatsby’s dream to become rich and successful and have the girl he wanted as his own.  Also, the motif of time was fascinating, demonstrating that what happens in the past can either repeat itself in the future or just simply remain in the past.

The ending of the novel showed that Gatsby’s dream wasn’t obtainable for him and, because of this, died, as well as the American dream, which is the idea that Fitzgerald was trying to emphasize, albeit a depressing one.  Having Gatsby murdered for a crime and social injustice that he didn’t even commit was bad enough, but then he also had no one to come and pay their respects at his funeral, which made it even worse.  No one really liked Gatsby as he was trying to obtain his dreams, and because of this, he ended up dead and alone, no longer the great man he once was.  Gatsby is like a tragic character; his flaws kept him from being as great as the title had implied he should be.  He was way too caught up with trying to win over Daisy, which led to his eventual downfall in the end.

I wouldn’t say that this book is one of my favorites, but I didn’t extremely dislike it either, so overall, it was an okay book for me.  The characters and the storyline were compelling, but the theme of the novel turned on itself in the end, which I didn’t particularly enjoy.  This novel made me think in depth and analyze more below the surface than others have for me in the past, which is probably a good thing.  I started this blog with a quote, so I’ll end it with one, too, to wrap it all up:

“I think that at last I’ve done something really my own, but how good ‘my own’ is remains to be seen.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald about The Great Gatsby

Chapter Nine – The Final Chapter

After the murder of Gatsby, Wilson is seen by the public as a “mad man” and “deranged by grief” because no one knew the reason why Wilson killed Gatsby.  Myrtle’s sister, Catherine, didn’t confess that her sister was involved in an affair and how that may have caused Wilson to kill Gatsby because she probably didn’t want to taint her dead sister’s image with this detail.

No one seems to have the slightest care about Gatsby’s death except Nick so Nick frantically goes calling around to see if anyone else will stand by Gatsby’s side with him, but to no avail.  Nick calls Daisy and Tom to tell them about Gatsby’s demise, but he discovers that they have packed up and gone away without a trace.  Nick is starting to feel isolated from society with being the only one that cares about Gatsby.  He even tries to find Wolfshiem, Gatsby’s closest friend, to tell him the news, but Wolfshiem doesn’t want to have anything to do with Gatsby after death.   He apparently has more important matters to attend to than the death of a close friend.  Wolfshiem even says, which displays a lot about his character, “Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”  I think this is a great quote that shows that Wolfshiem finds people useless after death and so he stops caring about them after they pass on.  Mr. Klipspringer, another “friend” of Gatsby’s, called Gatsby’s house but wasn’t too keen on going to the funeral and just wanted a pair of his shoes back.  It’s very sad that no one seems to care anymore about Gatsby since he is dead, which follows what Wolfshiem said.

Gatsby’s mysterious past returns in the form of his father, Henry Gatz, who hears about Gatsby’s death from a newspaper in Chicago and comes to New York for the funeral.  He is very solemn and upset about the loss of his son, which is to be expected from most parents, but he is also very proud of Gatsby and who he became.  He is in awe of the wealth that Gatsby was able to accumulate after leaving home and he tells Nick about how Gatsby visited him two years ago and bought him a new house.  This demonstrates that Gatsby did still care about his family after he left them and didn’t forget about them after he became well-known and wealthy.

On the day of Gatsby’s funeral, no one shows up.  No one cared about Gatsby enough to take the little bit of time out of their day to pay their respects to Gatsby.  Hundreds of people used to come to his house when he threw parties, but now they have all abandoned him.  It’s ironic that the “great” Gatsby has lost all of his greatness, and it’s shown by the turnout at his funeral.

Nick can’t stand living in the east anymore ever since Gatsby died, so he wants to move back west.  But before he does, he receives as much closure as he can from Jordan and Tom.  Jordan basically calls him a liar and says that he is not as honest as he puts himself out to be, which is a bit harsh.  And Nick learns from Tom that Tom was the one who told Wilson that Gatsby owned the yellow car and ran over Myrtle, so he is partially responsible for Gatsby’s death.  It’s extremely sad that Daisy never even bothered to do one thing for Gatsby after he had been killed after he had taken the blame for her killing Myrtle.  It seems like she just used him and never really cared about him or loved him at all.

Gatsby’s dream, and with it the American dream, are lost.  All of Gatsby’s efforts have proven to be futile in the end.  The last line of the book addresses the themes of aspiration and possibility, when it states, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”


Chapter 8

After the harrowing events of the last chapter, more dramatic events occur at the end of this one, resulting in the deaths of two more characters and the end of a dream.

Gatsby is stubborn and refuses to leave town after his car was involved in a hit-and-run, for no other reason than that he won’t leave Daisy.  To Gatsby, Daisy was a “nice” girl who represented wealth and beauty to him when he was younger, which is all that he ever wanted in life.  In turn, he wanted her, and he acquired her love under false pretenses, making her think that he was secure and as rich as her.  Having her as the object of desire for many men previously made her even more desirable, because she was a hot entity to others.  He “committed himself to the following of a grail” is a metaphor that demonstrates how Daisy was a heavenly being to him.  They became very much in love with each other before Gatsby left for the war but then Daisy began to panic and started to date many  men again after he was gone from her sight.  Tom was one of these many men, and he offered her security, so she married him.  Gatsby believes that Daisy never loved Tom and only ever loved him, but he is just fooling himself.  Gatsby has become more and more degraded as the story has gone on and is no longer seen as a great man as the title had implied.

All the relationships between the characters seem to be falling apart.  Nick claims that he always disapproved of Gatsby the whole time that he had known him, which I personally did not see through Nick’s narrative and description of Gatsby throughout the novel.  He seemed to be intrigued by Gatsby and wanted to know more about him.  Tensions also rise between Nick and Jordan after the death of Myrtle and he doesn’t appear to have a care in the world left for her.  The whole world of Gatsby is turned upside down.

Meanwhile, Wilson is in a state of disarray and doesn’t seem to know what to do with himself because of his grief and anger.  He believes that Myrtle ran outside to talk to the man that she was cheating on him with, and that the man murdered her by running her over with his car.  Wilson is partially right.  Myrtle probably believed that it was Tom driving Gatsby’s car because that was the car he was driving earlier, but it wasn’t him who killed her and it was only an accidental killing.  He is furious and wants to discover who the man is that has caused so much trouble in his life.  So he somehow acquires a gun and goes around asking people if they know of a yellow car, which leads him to the false assumption that Gatsby is the man who not only killed his wife, but cheated with her, too.  The next thing you know, gunshots are fired and Gatsby is dead.  Wilson committed suicide right after he committed the murder of the namesake of this book.  Gatsby’s dreams and aspirations are dead along with him.

The tone in the last couple pages of this chapter changed from the usual perspective of Nick to becoming more matter-of-fact and detached, which may have foreshadowed Gatsby’s eminent demise.  The story has taken another shocking turn.


Chapter 7 – Part 2

On the same day that Tom finds out about Daisy’s affair with Gatsby, another significant occurrence in the plot comes into being, impacting the lives of our main characters dramatically.  Myrtle Wilson, Tom’s mistress, is run over and killed by Gatsby’s new yellow car.  Allow me to explain how exactly this event came about.

George Wilson discovered that his wife was having an affair, which made him become physically ill, just at the thought.  He locked her up in her room to prevent her from going to see her lover, and he planned to move away with her to prevent her from seeing him ever again.  This move on his part is completely out of character for him, because he is usually a weak, fearful guy who lets himself get bossed around by his wife.  He has become more courageous and has decided to take action for once.

Myrtle was somehow able to escape from her room in her last few moments, to scream at Wilson, and to run outside, right into the path of Gatsby’s car.  I can speculate that she might have done this because she believed that Tom was driving the car and she wanted to run away with him.  Also, she might have came out due to her jealousy of Jordan, whom she mistook for Tom’s wife earlier on.  Or she could have simply just been running away from her husband.  Gatsby’s car never stopped and kept driving on, without a care in the world, after Myrtle was instantly killed upon impact.

Tom, driving his own blue car, becomes excited to see peoples’ misery when he sees a lot of traffic up ahead, indicating that an accident occurred.  True to form, he doesn’t care that someone may have gotten injured or killed.  He just notes, “That’s good.  Wilson’ll have a little business at last.”  But his whole demeanor changes when he realizes that someone close to him has been killed.  Tom walks into the garage and sees Wilson hysterical and in shock about the event that has just occurred.  Tom takes on an authoritative persona once he realizes what happened and he begins to tell Wilson to pull himself together.  Tom wants to be sure that he doesn’t receive the blame for the crime because he was driving that yellow car earlier on in the day.  He wants to save his own skin above anything else.  Tom remained strong among the people in the garage, but once he got back into his car, he began to cry.  He believes that Gatsby is the one who ran over Myrtle.

Gatsby tells Nick what happened later that night, but his focus is still entirely on Daisy.  Gatsby seems perfectly fine that a woman was killed with his own car; his only concern is how Daisy will take the news.  He seems to have filled up his heart entirely with Daisy, leaving nothing else to fit inside.  It is revealed that the driver of the car that killed Myrtle was, in fact, Daisy, but of course Gatsby is more than willing to take the fall for her. She was not in a proper emotional state at the time she ran over Myrtle and wasn’t able to stop afterwards.  Gatsby is too blindly in love with Daisy to realize anything else going on around him besides her. He is planning on watching her house all night to make sure she is okay and that Tom doesn’t hurt her, which I personally think is a little creepy.

Meanwhile, inside the house, Daisy and Tom appear to be having an intimate conversation, about what, I don’t know yet.  This chapter leaves me brimming with questions:  Who will get in trouble for Myrtle’s death?  Will this experience change Daisy?  What will happen in the love triangle between Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby?  I hope to find out the answers soon.



Chapter 7 – Part 1

This chapter is longer than all of the others, so I have decided to break it up into two posts.

In the beginning of it, Nick discovers that Gatsby has stopped throwing parties, which is quite surprising because grand parties were his trademark throughout the novel.  The likely reason for this occurrence is because Daisy didn’t like his parties, and it seems like everything that Gatsby has done in his life since he met Daisy has been because of her.  “So the whole caravansary had fallen like a card house at the disapproval in her eyes,” is a simile that demonstrates how much weight Daisy’s opinion has for him.  She is everything to him and the shining star in his life, which can be a bit extreme at times.

On the hottest day of the year, which Fitzgerald stresses greatly in this chapter, Nick has a get-together with Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, and Jordan, in what turns out to be the climax of the story thus far.  I was wondering as I read why Fitzgerald was stressing the heat of the day so much, and I drew the conclusion that it might be symbolic of the hot-tempered rage that simmers inside Tom during this chapter.  Gatsby and Daisy kiss as soon as Tom leaves the room and Daisy tells Gatsby that she loves him, right in front of Nick and Jordan.  They have progressed in their relationship and Daisy seems to be more carefree about Tom talking to his mistress.  Daisy finally allows her daughter to meet Gatsby, which is a big step for her and shows that she is ready for Gatsby to become a huge part of her life.  Tom comes back into the room and finally realizes what has been going on between Gatsby and Daisy, and he is clearly shocked that she would do that  and have the audacity to do it right in front of him, no less.  Tom can barely contain himself with all his pent-up anger toward Gatsby, a man that he clearly dislikes.

All of a sudden, Tom becomes very possessive over Daisy and wants her to ride into the city with him, but she refuses and tells him that she wants to go with Gatsby and he can take Nick and Jordan.  This is a huge blow to Tom, his wife would rather be in the same car with her lover than him and is open about it.  I can almost sympathize with him, but he is also cheating on Daisy, which makes him kind of a hypocrite.  Tom is extremely upset that everyone knew about the affair between Daisy and Gatsby but him.

Not only does Tom receive the news about Gatsby and Daisy today, but he also discovers that his girlfriend, Myrtle, is going to move west with her husband.  Tom is finally getting karma for his hateful disposition and affairs in the past.  Myrtle looks at Jordan, whom she believes to be Daisy, with jealousy and hatred, which I feel may be foreshadowing of a conflict in the future.

At a hotel when Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Nick, and Jordan get back together, Tom decides to let his full wrath out upon Gatsby.  He interrogates him about going to Oxford, and then delves into asking Gatsby about sleeping with his wife.  Gatsby can’t stand hiding his relationship with Daisy any longer, so he tells Tom that Daisy never loved him and only always loved Gatsby.  Tom doesn’t believe this and admits that he has strayed from being faithful but has always loved Daisy, which I think was sincere.  Daisy tries to lie and say that she never loved Tom in order to please Gatsby, but she can’t go through with it.  Gatsby is clearly disappointed that he wasn’t Daisy’s only love in her life, and I think he was a bit arrogant in thinking so.  Daisy is very troubled and reluctant to get everything out in the open, and Gatsby makes her tell Tom that she is leaving him,  which leaves him in disbelief.

Tom reveals that Gatsby is a bootlegger and a gambler, which causes Daisy to shrink away from Gatsby and become fearful again.  Tom now believes that he has won.

I am very interested to see what happens next and how this development is going to affect the plot going forward.


Chapter 6

The chapter begins with more rumors about Gatsby, and then it finally delves into the truth.  According to the public who has seen him at his numerous parties, Gatsby is involved with an “underground pipe-line to Canada” and his house is actually a boat that just looks like a house.  The rumors seem to become more and more farfetched as time goes on.  After some time, Gatsby finally reveals the truth to Nick about his identity and background, and it kind of surprised me because of how in-depth his previous lies were.  Gatsby’s real name is James Gatz, and he is the son of poor farmers in North Dakota.  One day when he was seventeen, he met a millionaire named Dan Cody who was sailing around in his yacht.  Dan Cody took a liking to him, and it was then that he changed his name to Jay Gatsby.  Gatsby had always fantasized of being rich and successful and Dan Cody was the embodiment of his dream.  He sailed around the world with Cody for five years until Cody died, but from that death he inherited twenty five thousand dollars.  The rest of the millions went to a woman who seemed to have swindled it from Cody, and that may be the reason why Gatsby is slightly wary of women.

Tom finally finds his way over to Gatsby’s house in this chapter, but not for the reason that you might think.  He just randomly shows up at Gatsby’s house out of nowhere in order to have a drink, which I consider to be quite rude, but it fits in with his character.  Gatsby was very uncomfortable with the situation, which is understandable because he loves the man’s wife, but then he seems to try to provoke Tom.  He says “I know your wife,” to Tom in an aggressive sort of manner, trying to assert his dominance over Tom.  At the end of Tom’s visit, he reintroduces his sexist ideals to Nick, saying that women run around too much.  It appears to me that Tom doesn’t believe that women should be independent and that they need to be escorted around by men all the time, and not go off by themselves.

Due to Tom’s beliefs, it makes sense that he chose to accompany Daisy to her first-ever Gatsby party.  I don’t think that he has caught on to what is happening between Gatsby and Daisy quite yet, though.  When Tom arrives at the party, the whole atmosphere seems to change, from being exciting to becoming stifling.  Gatsby likes to get under Tom’s skin and make him uncomfortable, it appears, because when Gatsby indroduces Tom to everyone as “the polo player,” Tom wants him to stop but Gatsby doesn’t oblige.  It seems that Gatsby likes to amuse himself by making Tom squirm, because then it makes Gatsby appear superior.  Daisy doesn’t have a very nice time at the party in West Egg and is only happy when she is with Gatsby.  Tom becomes very suspicious about Gatsby at the party and calls him a bootlegger, which suggests that he isn’t very fond of Gatsby.  Daisy tells him that Gatsby got his money from owning drugstores, which is an intriguing piece of news.

From what I’ve seen of Gatsby in this novel so far, he appears to dwell on the past, especially the past involving Daisy, and he wants to go back to that time.  He is a lost soul because he has left something of himself in the past, which he desperately wants to get back.  He even says, when Nick tells him he can’t repeat the past, “Can’t repeat the past? … Why of course you can!”

Chapter 5

Right away, the first line of this chapter intrigued me.  “When I came home to West Egg that night I was afraid for a moment that my house was on fire.”  This is not a normal thought that crosses people’s minds when they come to their house.  Could it be possibly symbolize  the burning passion that is inside Gatsby’s heart for Daisy?

Gatsby acts very odd when he speaks to Nick about having Daisy over.  He starts off the conversation by asking Nick to go to Coney Island with him, a very strange request considering the fact that it’s two in the morning.  Then he wants to make plans to cut Nick’s grass in order to make the land look nicely for Daisy’s arrival.  Following that, he tries to get Nick interested in an illegal money-making opportunity as a sort of repayment for the favor, but of course Nick won’t accept it.

When the big day arrives, Gatsby is absolutely frightened.  He wears the best and most expensive-looking clothing he owns in an effort to impress Daisy, but he still looks nervous.  He has dark circles under his eyes, and I can infer that he has been so worried about this encounter with Daisy after almost 5 years that he was restless and couldn’t sleep all night in anticipation.  Rain was pouring on this day, which may symbolize the turbulent emotions that are erupting inside Gatsby at this time.

When Daisy finally came, she had on a “bright ecstatic smile,” which is quite a change from the last time when Nick saw her, when she was cynical and depressed.  Gatsby actually left Nick’s house through the back door when Daisy arrived, just to reenter the house from the front door, which I found to be humorous.  When Gatsby comes in, the situation becomes extremely awkward because he doesn’t know what to do.  Everyone is very uncomfortable, including Nick, who turns red and leaves the room.  Gatsby follows him out and Nick has to give Gatsby girl advice and tell him how it was rude that he left Daisy alone in there.  So Gatsby goes back in and when Nick returns a little bit later, the atmosphere between Gatsby and Daisy completely changes.  Gatsby is in a joyous mood and Daisy is very emotional.  At this point, the rain stops, which could mean that the heavy weight that has been holding down Gatsby has been gradually lifted and that he is feeling much better about the situation.

Gatsby invites Daisy and Nick over to see his house, where he shifts in mood once again and becomes awed by Daisy’s presence.  He let them see them all of the fancy shirts that he owned to show off his wealth to Daisy, which he believes is his ticket to winning her over.  She starts crying when she sees the shirts, which I don’t understand.  What is it about Gatsby’s shirts that made her feel the need to cry?  The chapter ends off with Gatsby and Daisy holding hands, which may show that she is interested in him.

One line of this chapter I particularly liked and I feel it goes along well with the theme of the novel.  It’d be a good place for this post to end.  “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”


Chapter 4

More gossip about Gatsby is spread at the beginning of this chapter.  According to others, he is a bootlegger, and the rumor about him killing a man is restated.  This causes me to wonder; which of the many statements made about him are true and which are false?  People from all over come to Gatsby’s extravagant parties but know basically nothing about him, which is odd. Fitzgerald spends a little over two pages naming the people who came to Gatsby’s parties in order to place emphasis on the amount of people who arrived from all over with all kinds of different professions just to go to the party of a man who is a stranger to most of them.  Gatsby surrounds himself with people who are strangers to him for a reason that is brought up later on in the chapter.

Gatsby invites Nick to go to lunch with him and he tells him about his life, all the while with an ulterior motive in mind.  At first Nick observes that Gatsby is a very restless person who doesn’t like to talk much.  Then, while they were “sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather conservatory”, which is a metaphor for a car, Gatsby finally opens up to Nick about his background.  He tells him how he was the son of wealthy people in the middle-west who died and that he was “educated at Oxford,” but he says this part in a tone of voice that suggests that it bothers him somewhat.  He tells Nick that after his family died, he “lived like a young rajah in all the capitals of Europe,” which is a simile that suggests that he travelled around using his wealth in order to forget his sad past.  Gatsby’s smile is described in such a wondrous tone as he tells about his war medals and he shows Nick one that he carries around with him all the time, as well as a photograph of him at Oxford.  Nick seemed to be skeptical that Gatsby’s life story was true up until that point, but when he saw physical objects that proved it he began to believe everything that Gatsby told him.  The big reveal about why Gatsby has so many parties is discovered:  he hangs out with strangers in order to keep his mind free from the sad past he had faced.

One of the central themes of the novel, that this is the era of possibilities and aspirations, is noted when Nick says “Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge…anything at all.”

I finally realized something today that hasn’t ever crossed my mind before while reading this chapter:  when Gatsby is described by Nick, he isn’t referred to as Jay Gatsby or Mr. Gatsby, just plain Gatsby.  All of the other characters Nick addresses by their first name or uses a surname with their last name, except Gatsby.  This makes Jay Gatsby distinguishable from the other characters because Nick regards him as so, which adds to his significance.

When Gatsby and Nick go out to lunch they meet up with a friend of Gatsby’s, Mr. Wolfshiem, a Jewish gambler who fixed the World Series in 1919.  He describes Gatsby as “very careful about women,” which is an interesting characteristic to note.  When Nick brings Gatsby with him to talk to Tom, Gatsby seems to become very uncomfortable and just vanishes from sight.  This made me believe that he had a bad past experience with Tom, or that he was involved with Daisy in some way.

My latter guess turned out to be true.  As Jordan tells Nick later on that day, Gatsby was infatuated with Daisy when she was only eighteen years old, and then he went off to the war and never saw her again, which explains why he wanted to get away from Tom, the love of his life’s husband.  On the day before Daisy was going to marry Tom, Jordan “came into her room half an hour before the bridal dinner and found her lying on her bed as lovely as the June night in her flowered dress-and as drunk as a monkey.”  These similes together in the same sentence amuse me because they provoke such contrasting images.  Daisy was crying about how she didn’t want to marry Tom, with a  mysterious letter in her hand that may have proved why she had a sudden change of heart.  But she went through with it anyway and Gatsby, being a romantic, came to West Egg to live near her because he is still in love with her.  The favor Gatsby wants of Nick is that he invites Daisy to his house so Gatsby can come over and see her, which he hasn’t done in many years.

To end the chapter off, Nick expresses his interest in Jordan Baker, after she tells him about the intriguing history between Gatsby and Daisy, by holding her in his arms and kissing her.


Chapter 3

In this chapter, we finally actually see Jay Gatsby, who has been a sort of mysterious figure in the previous chapters.  Nick, our narrator, is invited to one of Gatsby’s famous parties, but upon arrival he isn’t able to find the host anywhere.  Gatsby remains as mysterious as ever.  Then Nick stumbles upon Jordan Baker at the party, the girl who he met once before at Tom and Daisy’s house.  They end up talking about rumors and gossip regarding none other than the great Gatsby himself.  One girl says that she heard he had killed a man and another girl pronounces that he was a German spy during World War 1.  This conversation adds to the mystery and intrigue that surround Gatsby.  Nick actually meets Gatsby later on in the night, but at first as no idea that the man he was having a conversation with was Gatsby.  I found this slightly humorous, because Nick spoke to Gatsby about not being able to locate the host all night,  and Gatsby had to inform him that Nick, in fact, had already met him.  Gatsby is described as an elegant, polite man in his early thirties who is tan and attractive with short hair.  His smile “faced-or seemed to face-the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.”  Gatsby first started to talk to Nick when he recognized him from the war and he calls Nick “old sport” repeatedly even though he just met him that night.  Gatsby wants Nick to join him on a hydroplane he bought after he just recently started talking to him.  Jay Gatsby seems like he wants to be a crowd pleaser; he throws many grand parties and he requested for the orchestra to play a popular song for the guests.  Gatsby also seems like a very important man; during the party he gets calls from Chicago and Philadelphia, and that’s just at times when he was talking to Nick.  Jordan told Nick that Gatsby told her that he is an Oxford man, but she doesn’t believe it.  Near the end of the night, Gatsby whisks Jordan away for an hour and she comes back to tell Nick how amazing it was and  that he told her something she can’t tell anyone.

Jordan Baker appears like she is extremely close to becoming Nick Carraway’s love interest.  Jordan is a golf champion who puts on a bored, haughty face for the world but has more to her than just that.  A simile that helps to characterize Jordan says “…there was a jauntiness about her movements as if she had first learned to walk upon golf courses on clean, crisp mornings.”   Jordan and Nick are juxtaposed to each other in the fact that she is a careless person and he is not.  She tells him that she likes him for this very reason.  Nick discovers that she is a dishonest person but he still has an interest in her despite this.  He reflects at the end of the chapter that “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known,” which reveals a lot about who he is and his beliefs.

Chapter 2

In this chapter, I was introduced to a few new characters  that helped to liven up the story a bit.  Also, I was able to learn in more depth about the character of Tom Buchanan, as well as more about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing style.

The setting of this chapter is mainly in an apartment in the city, but not just any apartment.  This one belongs to Tom Buchanan and his mistress, who I will discuss more later on.  Nick Carraway, the narrator, is brought by Tom to meet his mistress, which I happen to find rather odd.  He seems to like to show her off since he takes her out a lot and doesn’t seem to feel too guilty about cheating on his wife, Daisy.  At this apartment, Nick meets a few new acquaintances when Tom’s mistress, Myrtle Wilson, invites them over.

Like Tom, Myrtle is married but seeking a relationship away from her spouse, George Wilson.  Mr. Wilson, a “spiritless man”,  works at a car repair garage and seems to be very easily bossed around by both Tom and Mrs. Wilson.  He knows nothing about Tom’s affair with Mrs. Wilson, thinking that when she goes out that she is visiting her sister in New York.  Tom and Myrtle appear to be very open about their relationship, except with Mr. Wilson, which is quite an uncomfortable situation.  The narrator, Nick, seems to feel uncomfortable with it, too, seeing as he didn’t want to meet Tom’s mistress and tried to get away and go home after he did meet her.  When Nick first met Myrtle, she made herself appear to be a sultry, seductive woman, but her whole demeanor changed to become more proud and even outgoing after she changed into an elaborate dress at her apartment. She is able to play different parts around different people, making her seem intriguing to others.

There is, however, an important development I have witnessed in this chapter that may hint at why the pair involved in an affair would not just divorce their respective spouses and get married to each other.  Tom may still care for Daisy, even if he is cheating on her.  Why else would he lie to Myrtle and  say that he can’t get divorced with Daisy because she is a Catholic (which is false) and it is against her religion?  Why else would he get into an argument with Myrtle about her right (or lack of right) to say Daisy’s name, ending up with him smacking Myrtle in the face and breaking her nose? He is not ready to leave Daisy entirely behind.

The other characters Nick met in the apartment that day were Catherine, who is Myrtle’s sister, and Mr. and Mrs. McKee, the downstairs neighbors in the apartment building.  Catherine is a slender, worldly woman who doesn’t understand why her sister won’t just divorce her husband and marry Tom already.  Mr. McKee is a feminine photographer that likes to think greatly about his art while his wife is a sort of annoying woman who is very  proud of her husband’s accomplishments.  These characters help contribute to the development of the more essential characters:  Tom and Myrtle.

Nick characterizes Tom in a way that I find slightly humorous, saying that “…his determination to have my company bordered on violence.  The supercilious assumption was that on Sunday afternoon I had nothing better to do.”  I also noticed that Tom’s temperament can change very quickly; it goes from friendly to cold after being asked one question by Mr. Wilson that he found to be displeasing.  Tom can become very violent when he is in a bad mood and he is seen to have a short fuse.  He is used to always getting his way in life so when someone tries to go against him, like Myrtle in the argument about Daisy, he can’t take it.  He is not someone that you want to get on the wrong side of and he can be frightening at times.

Enough about the characters; let’s talk about Fitzgerald’s writing style.

In the first paragraph of this chapter, I saw that Fitzgerald used strong diction in order to set a gloomy mood.  He utilized words such as “shrink”, “desolate”, “ashes”, “grotesque”, “smoke”, “dimly”, “crumbling”, “grey”, “invisible”, “ghastly”, “impenetrable”, and “obscure” to set this mood for the readers.  I thought that this was an interesting way to subconsciously get the reader into the ideas of the story.  I also find a metaphor that he uses later on to be amusing, when he says “…the cab stopped at one slice in a long white cake of apartment houses.”  This metaphor was similar to one I found in the last chapter where he compared a frosted wedding cake to a ceiling.  One more phrase that piqued my interest was when he referred to one dog biscuit as being “decomposed apathetically in the saucer of milk all afternoon.”  A dog biscuit is being personified a having a lack of emotions in this line, which is fairly ironic considering that it isn’t living.

This post has turned out way longer than I expected so I’ll just stop here for now.