Nick returns home after a date with Jordan. He sees Gatsby’s mansion lit up, but it seems no one is there, as the house is totally silent. As Nick walks home, Gatsby has been waiting for him nervously and is shocked to see him by approaching him from across the lawn. Gatsby appears eager to make Nick happy, he invites him to Coney Island, then for a swim in his pool. Nick realises that Gatsby is nervous because he wants Nick to agree to his plan of inviting Daisy over for tea. Nick tells Gatsby that he will help him with the plan.
Gatsby offers to have someone cut Nick’s grass and he also offers him the chance to make some money by joining him in some business he does on the side (business that does not involve Meyer Wolfshiem), as a thank you for helping him. Nick is slightly offended that Gatsby wants to pay him for arranging the meeting with Daisy and refuses Gatsby’s offers, but he still agrees to call Daisy and invite her to his house, as he wants to instigate the reunion between them.
It rains on the day of the meeting, and Gatsby becomes terribly nervous. Despite the rain, Gatsby sends a gardener over to cut Nick’s grass and sends another man over with ‘a greenhouse of flowers.’ Gatsby worries that even if Daisy wants to see him, things between them will not be the same as they once were. Daisy arrives, but when Nick brings her into the house, he finds that Gatsby has disappeared. There is a knock at the door. Gatsby enters, having returned from a walk around the house in the rain.
To begin with, Gatsby’s reunion with Daisy is awkward. Gatsby knocks Nick’s clock over and tells Nick sorrowfully that the meeting was a mistake (as he becomes terribly anxious). Nick leaves them to talk, Nick returns to find Daisy shedding tears of joy and Gatsby glowing with delight. Outside, the rain has finally stopped, and Gatsby invites Nick and Daisy over to his house ( that he purchased to impress her originally and be near to her), where he shows them his possessions that he got to impress Daisy.
Daisy is overwhelmed by his luxurious lifestyle, and when he shows her his extensive collection of English shirts, she begins to cry. Gatsby opens up to Daisy about his long nights spent outside, staring at the green light at the end of her dock, dreaming about their future happiness.
Nick wonders whether Daisy can possibly live up to Gatsby’s vision of her. Gatsby seems to have idealised Daisy in his mind to the extent that the real Daisy, charming as she is, will almost certainly fail to live up to his expectations. At first glance their romance appears to be better than ever. Gatsby calls in Klipspringer, a strange character who seems to live at Gatsby’s mansion, and has him play the piano.
Klipspringer plays a popular song called “Ain’t We Got Fun?” Nick quickly realises that Gatsby and Daisy have forgotten that he is there. Nick gets up and leaves Gatsby and Daisy alone together, as he’s happy to see them together.
Nick Carraway, a young man from Minnesota, moves to New York in the summer of 1922 to learn about the bond business. He rents a house in the West Egg district of Long Island, a wealthy but unfashionable area populated by the new rich, a group who have made their fortunes too recently to have established social connections and who are prone to garish displays of wealth. Nick’s next-door neighbour in West Egg is a mysterious man named Jay Gatsby, who lives in a gigantic Gothic mansion and throws extravagant parties every Saturday night.
Nick is unlike the other inhabitants of West Egg—he was educated at Yale and has social connections in East Egg, a fashionable area of Long Island home to the established upper class. Nick drives out to East Egg one evening for dinner with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom, an erstwhile classmate of Nick’s at Yale. Daisy and Tom introduce Nick to Jordan Baker, a beautiful, cynical young woman with whom Nick begins a romantic relationship. Nick also learns a bit about Daisy and Tom’s marriage: Jordan tells him that Tom has a lover, Myrtle Wilson, who lives in the valley of ashes, a grey industrial dumping ground between West Egg and New York City. Not long after this revelation, Nick travels to New York City with Tom and Myrtle. At a vulgar, gaudy party in the apartment that Tom keeps for the affair, Myrtle begins to taunt Tom about Daisy, and Tom responds by breaking her nose.
As the summer progresses, Nick eventually garners an invitation to one of Gatsby’s legendary parties. He encounters Jordan Baker at the party, and they meet Gatsby himself, a surprisingly young man who affects an English accent, has a remarkable smile, and calls everyone “old sport.” Gatsby asks to speak to Jordan alone, and, through Jordan, Nick later learns more about his mysterious neighbour. Gatsby tells Jordan that he knew Daisy in Louisville in 1917 and is deeply in love with her. He spends many nights staring at the green light at the end of her dock, across the bay from his mansion. Gatsby’s extravagant lifestyle and wild parties are simply an attempt to impress Daisy. Gatsby now wants Nick to arrange a reunion between himself and Daisy, but he is afraid that Daisy will refuse to see him if she knows that he still loves her. Nick invites Daisy to have tea at his house, without telling her that Gatsby will also be there. After an initially awkward reunion, Gatsby and Daisy re-establish their connection. Their love rekindled, they begin an affair.
After a short time, Tom grows increasingly suspicious of his wife’s relationship with Gatsby. At a luncheon at the Buchanans’ house, Gatsby stares at Daisy with such undisguised passion that Tom realizes Gatsby is in love with her. Though Tom is himself involved in an extramarital affair, he is deeply outraged by the thought that his wife could be unfaithful to him. He forces the group to drive into New York City, where he confronts Gatsby in a suite at the Plaza Hotel. Tom asserts that he and Daisy have a history that Gatsby could never understand, and he announces to his wife that Gatsby is a criminal—his fortune comes from bootlegging alcohol and other illegal activities. Daisy realizes that her allegiance is to Tom, and Tom contemptuously sends her back to East Egg with Gatsby, attempting to prove that Gatsby cannot hurt him.
When Nick, Jordan, and Tom drive through the valley of ashes, however, they discover that Gatsby’s car has struck and killed Myrtle, Tom’s lover. They rush back to Long Island, where Nick learns from Gatsby that Daisy was driving the car when it struck Myrtle, but that Gatsby intends to take the blame. The next day, Tom tells Myrtle’s husband, George, that Gatsby was the driver of the car. George, who has leapt to the conclusion that the driver of the car that killed Myrtle must have been her lover, finds Gatsby in the pool at his mansion and shoots him dead. He then fatally shoots himself.
Nick stages a small funeral for Gatsby, ends his relationship with Jordan, and moves back to the Midwest to escape the disgust he feels for the people surrounding Gatsby’s life and for the emptiness and moral decay of life among the wealthy on the East Coast. Nick reflects that just as Gatsby’s dream of Daisy was corrupted by money and dishonesty, the American dream of happiness and individualism has disintegrated into the mere pursuit of wealth. Though Gatsby’s power to transform his dreams into reality is what makes him ‘great,’ Nick reflects that the era of dreaming—both Gatsby’s dream and the American dream—is over.
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