The Great Gatsby The story begins with the book’s author, who we later learn is named Nick Carraway, recalling stories from his childhood about lessons his father taught him.
He speaks of his past and characterizes himself as both highly moral and highly tolerant.He cites that it was his father who taught him not to pass his judgment onto people.Nick mentions that the hero of the story, Gatsby, was the exact opposite of him and says that his personality is nothing short of “gorgeous”.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
In the summer of 1922 Nick moves from Minnesota to New York to take up a job in the bond business.He is renting a house in West Egg, Long Island which is home to new money, and people who have no ties to the old money that is East Egg.Nick is neighbors with Gatsby, who while Nick lives in a modest home is living in a monstrosity of a mansion.Unlike most that inhabit West Egg Nick has ties to people that live in East Egg because of his education from Yale University.One night Nick goes to East Egg to have dinner with his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan, they are also joined by Daisy’s friend Jordan Baker.While talking before dinner Tom receives a phone call and Jordan tells Nick that it’s from Tom’s lover in New York.
Tom, known for his infidelities, makes no pretense to cover up his affairs.As Tom and Daisy work to set up Nick and Jordan, they seize the opportunity to question him about his supposed engagement to a girl back home. Nick reassures them there is no impending marriage, merely a series of rumors that cannot substitute for truth.Upon returning home that evening, as he is sitting outside, Nick sees Gatsby for the first time Nick’s initial impulse is to call out to Gatsby, but he resists because Gatsby “gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone.”Gatsby is standing by the water with his arms outstretched toward the water.This gesture seems odd to Nick, because all he can make out is a green light, such as one finds at the end of a dock, across the Sound. Looking back at the mysterious figure Nick realizes that Gatsby has vanished.
The valley of the ashes, an intersection between the suburbs and the city, Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, watches over everything that happens in the valley of ashes.One day, as Nick and Tom are riding the train into the city, Tom forces Nick to follow him out of the train at one of these stops. Tom leads Nick to George Wilson’s garage, which sits on the edge of the valley of ashes. Tom’s lover Myrtle is Wilson’s wife. Wilson is a lifeless yet handsome man, colored gray by the ashes in the air.Tom takes Nick and Myrtle to New York City, to the Morningside Heights apartment he keeps for his affair.
They then throw an spur-of-the-moment party for Myrtle’s sister, Catherine and a couple named the McKees.The McKees, who live downstairs, are a horrid couple: Mr. McKee is pale and feminine, and Mrs. McKee is shrill.Catherine tells Nick that she has heard that Jay Gatsby is the nephew or cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm.The group gets drunk and Nick confesses that this is only the second time he has been drunk in his life.Nick is repulsed by the behavior that is taking place at the party, yet at the same time seems fascinated by it.
Tom and Myrtle get into an argument after she mentions Daisy, this results in Tom breaking Myrtle’s nose. We learn that Gatsby’s fame comes from the lavish extremely exclusive parties that he throws inside of his mansion every weekend.One day Nick is given one of these invites by Gatsby’s chauffeur.Nick goes and feels out of place amongst the strangers who are all sharing rumors that they’ve heard about their host.Nick bumps into Jordan whose friend speculates that Gatsby was a German spy during the Great War.Guests at the party marvel over Gatsby’s Rolls Royce, pool, lavish food, and live band.Nick and Jordan set out to find Gatsby to unveil the mystery.Instead, they run into a middle-aged man with huge, owl-eyed spectacles whom Nick dubs Owl Eyes who sits looking at the books in Gatsby’s library.
Once midnight rolls around Nick and Jordan make their way outside and find themselves sitting at a table with a young man that Nick recognizes from serving with him in the Great War.The man turns out to be the Jay Gatsby.Nick becomes awestricken with Gatsby. He notices that Gatsby does not drink and that he keeps himself separate from the party, standing alone on the marble steps, watching his guests in silence.Later as the party is starting to break up Gatsby’s butler tells Jordan that Gatsby would like to see her.Jordan comes from the meeting proclaiming that she has heard something extraordinary.Nick says goodbye to Gatsby and begins to walk home, on his walk he notices Owl Eyes having a hard time getting his car.