-The Great Gatsby-

Chapter 1

The Novel begins with the audience being introduced to the narrator and protagonist of the story Nick Carraway; he also casts himself as the author of the book. Nick Carraway is a young man who was in the army and studied at Yale University. He is originally from Minnesota who moved to New York to work in the bond business (the summer of 1922). He learned from his father to not criticise people, because if he holds them up to his own moral standards, he will misunderstand them. 

He states that he is very tolerant and very moral, as he doesn’t like to pass judgement. He mentions the hero of his story, Gatsby, saying that Gatsby represented everything he hates, but that Gatsby escapes from his usual judgments. Gatsby’s personality was nothing short of ‘gorgeous.’

He takes up residence in West Egg, a Long Island community, where he rents a modest home next to Jay Gatsby, a wealthy and mysterious businessman, who lives in a mansion. Unlike the conservative, aristocratic East Egg, West Egg is home to the ‘new rich’, to those who have made their fortunes recently, and have neither the social connections nor the cultural refinement to be accepted among the ‘old money’ families of East Egg. West Egg is characterised by flaunting displays of wealth and poor taste. Nick doesn’t socially fit in with his West Egg neighbours. 

As Nick has many connections on East Egg , such as his cousin Daisy Buchanan who is married to Tom Buchanan. Tom is a powerful figure socially and a former member of Nick’s social club at Yale. However he notes Tom was very arrogant and many didn’t like him at Yale. Nick goes for dinner upon moving to New York , he is greeted on the porch by Tom who is dressed in riding clothes .Inside, Daisy lounges on a couch with her friend Jordan Baker, a competitive golfer who yawns as though bored by her surroundings.

Tom tries to interest the others in a book called ‘The Rise of the Colored Empires’ by a man named Goddard. The book embodies racist, white-supremacist attitudes that Tom seems to find convincing. The book explains that the Nordic race, with which Tom identifies himself, created civilisation and is now threatened by the rise of other, inferior races. 

Daisy tries to lighten the mood by laughing at Tom about his obsession with the book but is interrupted when Tom leaves the room to take a phone call. Daisy follows him frantically, and Jordan tells Nick that the call is from Tom’s mistress (and that this is a regular occurrence).

After an awkward dinner. Jordan wants to go to bed because she has a golf tournament the next day. As Nick leaves, Tom and Daisy hint that they would like for him to take a romantic interest in Jordan. When Nick arrives home, he sees Gatsby for the first time, a handsome young man standing on the lawn with his arms reaching out toward the dark water.

 Nick considers calling out to Gatsby but stops himself when he sees Gatsby extend his arms out toward the far side of the water. Nick looks out at the water, but all he can see is a distant green light that might mark the end of a dock (a detail that will become a recurring theme).

Plot Summary

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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