Gatsby becomes obsessed once again with his love for Daisy, Gatsby calls off his parties, which were primarily a means to lure Daisy. He also fires his servants to prevent gossip of Daisy appearing at the house and replaces them with shady individuals connected to Meyer Wolfsheim.
Nick takes the train to East Egg for lunch at the house of Tom and Daisy. He finds Gatsby and Jordan Baker there as well. The brewing confrontation between Gatsby and Tom becomes heated. Daisy and Gatsby have become bolder in their displays of affection. When Tom takes a phone call in another room (to Myrtle), Daisy kisses Gatsby and proclaims her love. Suddenly the nurse brings in Daisy’s toddler daughter, Pammy, appears.
The child is allowed to stay just long enough for Daisy to show her off to the group and is then whisked away so the adults can have lunch on their own. Gatsby is stunned and can hardly believe that the child is real. For her part, Daisy seems almost uninterested in her child. During the meal Gatsby and Daisy gaze lovingly at each other, and Tom can no longer deny that they are having an affair.
Complaining of her boredom, Daisy asks Gatsby if he wants to go into the city. With Tom desperate for a confrontation, Tom seizes upon Daisy’s suggestion that they should all go to New York together. Nick rides with Jordan and Tom in Gatsby’s car, and Gatsby and Daisy ride together in Tom’s car. Stopping for gas at Wilson’s garage, Nick, Tom, and Jordan learn that Wilson has discovered his wife’s affair (however not that it’s Tom) ,and plans to move her to the West. Under the brooding eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, Nick perceives that Tom and Wilson are in the same position.
In the oppressive New York City heat, the group decides to take a suite at the Plaza Hotel. Tom initiates his planned confrontation with Gatsby by mocking his habit of calling people ‘old sport.’ He accuses Gatsby of lying about having attended Oxford. Gatsby responds that he did attend Oxford—for five months, in an army program following the war. Tom asks Gatsby about his intentions for Daisy, and Gatsby replies that Daisy loves him, not Tom. Tom tries to catch Gatsby in a lie, but Gatsby is cool and composed.
Realising he’s getting nowhere, Tom finally erupts, ‘What kind of row are you trying to cause in my house anyhow?’ Daisy tries to deny that anything is going on, but Tom is determined, insisting that he won’t let ‘Mr. Nobody’ make love to his wife. Tom angrily and confidently claims that he and Daisy have a history that Gatsby could not possibly understand. He then accuses Gatsby of running a bootlegging operation.
Daisy feels herself moving closer to Tom as she observes the quarrel. Realising he has bested Gatsby, Tom sends Daisy back to Long Island with Gatsby to prove Gatsby’s doesn’t matter as much as he does to Daisy (becoming more confident). As the row quiets down, Nick realises that it is his thirtieth birthday.
Driving back to Long Island, Nick, Tom, and Jordan discover a frightening scene on the border of the valley of ashes. A car coming from New York City struck Myrtle (killing her in the process), then sped away. Nick realises that Myrtle must have been hit by Gatsby and Daisy, driving back from the city in Gatsby’s big yellow automobile. Tom thinks that Wilson will remember the yellow car from that afternoon. He also assumes that Gatsby was the driver.
Back at Tom’s house, Nick waits outside and finds Gatsby hiding in the bushes. Gatsby says that he has been waiting there in order to make sure that Tom did not hurt Daisy. He reveals to Nick that Daisy was driving when the car struck Myrtle and that it wasn’t planned, but that he will take the blame, to ensure she’s safe.
Still worried about Daisy, Gatsby sends Nick to check on her. Nick finds Tom and Daisy eating cold fried chicken and talking. They are happy together and have talked out their problems, Nick leaves Gatsby standing alone in the moonlight, perplexed by the situation.
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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