The Great Gatsby

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Nick Carraway Character Analysis

A young man from Minnesota who has come to New York after graduating Yale and fighting in World War I, Nick is the neighbor of Jay Gatsby and the cousin of Daisy Buchanan. The narrator of The Great Gatsby, Nick describes himself as "one of the few honest people that [he has] ever known." Nick views himself as a man of "infinite hope" who can see the best side of everyone he encountered. Nick sees past the veneer of Gatsby's wealth and is the only character in the novel who truly cares about Gatsby. In watching Gatsby's story unfold, Nick becomes a critic of the Roaring Twenties excess and carelessness that carries on all around him.

Nick Carraway Quotes in The Great Gatsby

The The Great Gatsby quotes below are all either spoken by Nick Carraway or refer to Nick Carraway. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scribner edition of The Great Gatsby published in 2004.
Chapter 1 Quotes
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker)
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

In the novel’s opening lines, Nick Caraway recounts this important piece of counsel from his father. He presents himself as a character who is simultaneously privileged and empathetic.

This statement establishes, first, the high socioeconomic status enjoyed by most of the protagonists in the novel. Though Nick is far from the wealthiest character, his ties to old money and academic pedigree as a Yale graduate bring him into contact with the élite of both West and East Egg. Yet this line also immediately creates a level of distance from those élite: Nick is aware of his position and actively seeks to treat those from all walks of life with respect. He thus establishes himself as not only an accepting character, but also a relatively impartial narrator.

Fitzgerald gives us, then, a character who is both inside and outside of this privileged social sphere. At times he is fully enamored by the culture, while at others he points out the flaws in its decadence. The implication here, after all, is that many others with similar “advantages” as Nick are far more critical of those who hail from different social backgrounds. The more accommodating perspective that will pervade the novel, this line implies, comes from an early piece of “advice” from Nick's father—indicating that his views are shaped by key developmental experiences.

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He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby
Related Symbols: The Green Light and the Color Green
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

Nick observes, for the first time, Gatsby’s odd nighttime ritual: He looks out at a green light across the water.

The “green light” is undoubtably the most famous symbol from Fitzgerald’s novel, and it has been interpreted in a vast number of ways—from an indication of his love for Daisy to a model for the roaring-twenties aspirations of Americans. Part of that ambiguity comes from the writing itself: Nick describes the action as “curious” and dilutes its certainty with the phrase “could have sworn”—as opposed to simply saying “he was trembling.” The phrase “that might have been” to describe the location of the light plays a similar mystifying role. Thus the text places several layers of uncertainty between the reader and Gatsby, which mirrors Nick’s experience in the moment.

Despite these uncertainties, however, it is evident that the “green light” represents some kind of aspiration for Gatsby. That it is “single” stresses the directness of the goal, for Gatsby is not gazing at a general area but rather at a fixed and unique point. As it lies “seaward” and at the “end of a dock,” we can infer already that water symbolically separates Gatsby from the goal—and that crossing that water will allow him to access it.

Chapter 2 Quotes
This is a Valley of Ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Valley of Ashes
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

Nick begins the second chapter by ruminating on the Valley of Ashes between West Egg and New York City. Though his descriptions are evocative, they refer to a relatively decrepit and downtrodden region.

Fitzgerald accomplishes this effect by using a set of semi-sarcastic words and uncanny images. The nouns in the area “farm,” “ridges,” “hills,” “gardens,” “houses,” and “chimneys” all would seem to describe a normal rural environment—yet all these characteristic signs of civilization are composed of dust instead of actual materials. This Valley, then is “fantastic” only in that the dust has entirely replaced the physical environment. That the “ashes grow like wheat” indicates that debris has replaced actual agricultural production, while the constitution of the men as themselves in the form of ashes dehumanizes them and makes them the mere result of the smog.

The imagery speaks to both the squalor caused by the roaring twenties culture and the relative blindness of many Americans to those effects: the dust in the valley is the direct result of New York industry—and of the wish to outsource unsightly waste. The “impenetrable cloud” and “obscure operations” stresses how that outsourcing has allowed those with money to entirely ignore the effects of their exploits. This passages is thus a condemnation of the social and economic practices in the novel. Fitzgerald implies that people may travel through the Valley between West Egg and New York City, but they relate to its environment only as various combinations of undifferentiated dust.

Chapter 3 Quotes
He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

When Nick meets Gatsby for the first time, he observes the psychological power of the man’s smile. Instead of describing its physical characteristics, he focuses on how effectively it brings confidence to those who perceive it.

Nick begins the account with a cliché—“smiled understandingly”—but then quickly modifies it to more precisely articulate the effect. The implication is that ordinary phrases are insufficient to describe Gatsby’s magnetic effect, and thus a more precise commentary must be provided. His smile is able to provide “eternal reassurance” because it addresses a context beyond the person to which it is directed. That it has already examined “the whole external world” implies that Gatsby’s smile is elevated by his extensive travels, connections, and reflections. The viewer feels “irresistible prejudice” because he has been selected above that “external world” to receive validation and “reassurance.”

Yet this effect, Nick subtly implies, is not the result of Gatsby actually confiding great confidence in his interlocutor, but rather comes from a precise performance. This doubt comes, first, from how Nick corrects “faced” with “seemed to face,” and second from the series of qualifying clauses on understanding, belief, and assurance. Each of these takes an unusual form, in which the smile does not convey the thoughts or emotions of Gatsby but rather conforms to the desires of the viewer—of which Gatsby would presumably not be aware. Fitzgerald indicates that Gatsby has perfected a way to respond to others that makes them feel entirely known and meaningful. Thus both Gatsby and those he smiles at become fundamentally empty: Gatsby for putting on a performance, but others for so desperately wanting to be understood, believed in, and assured.

Chapter 6 Quotes
The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

As Nick recounts Gatsby’s backstory, he offers both factual information and this more abstract description. He notes how artificially Gatsby has created his personality and identity, but also seems to respect the commitment he shows to that artifice.

To better articulate the fraudulence of Gatsby’s identity, Nick employs several sets of symbols. First he describes him as a “Platonic conception of himself,” implying that Gatsby projected an ideal (“Platonic”) way his life could exist and then avidly pursued that end. Next, Nick swaps in monotheistic religion for Plato’s Greek philosophy, likening Gatsby to a self-imagined Jesus pursuing a holy end (going about "His Father's business"). Recall that Gatsby seeks a green light that lies across the water, implying that he must walk over that water like Jesus to achieve his goal. Yet for all this spiritual talk the goal is still a “vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty”: it may be meaningful, enormous, and even aesthetically pleasing, but it is fundamentally empty.

These descriptions might seem to belittle Gatsby for entirely lacking substance, but the weight of references to Plato and God also grant him a sense of import. Nick’s tone simultaneously chastises Gatsby for conforming to the childish inventions of a “seventeen year old boy” and respects him for being “faithful to the end.” In contrast to other characters who seem to change from moment-to-moment, there is something worthy in Gatsby’s single-minded pursuit of perfecting an identity. Fitzgerald thus offers both a critical and a sympathetic eye toward the social-climbing and avarice seen in Gatsby and his twenties society. He simultaneously praises commitment and mocks cheap deception.

"I wouldn't ask too much of her," I ventured. "You can't repeat the past."
"Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!"
He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.
Related Characters: Jay Gatsby (speaker), Nick Carraway (speaker), Daisy Buchanan
Related Symbols: Gatsby's Mansion
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

Nick and Gatsby have this conversation after a failed party in which Gatsby tries to recreate his romance with Daisy. They disagree, pivotally, on whether it will be possible for Gatsby and Daisy to reignite their relationship.

On a literal level, Nick is simply saying that Gatsby cannot “repeat” his liaisons with Daisy, whereas Gatsby claims that he will in fact be able to do so. Yet their divergent viewpoints speak far more broadly to two ideological positions held by Americans at the time. Gatsby is fundamentally future-oriented as a “new money” person: he believes that anything can be accomplished through an act of will, as in the way he became rich. Whereas Nick, as a representative of “old money,” is more focused on the limits of the past and more sensitive to the flaws in Gatsby’s "nouveau riche" thinking.

We can see this more critical position in his description of Gatsby’s look: it is “wild” and falsely equates time with space—assuming that he can discover “the past” in the physical richness of “his house.” Gatsby thus represents a more narrow-minded viewpoint that energy and money will be able to turn back time and manifest any desire. While Nick has certainly lauded that personal drive, he disagrees here on the feasibility of the project.

Chapter 7 Quotes
"Her voice is full of money," he said suddenly.
That was it. I'd never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it.
Related Characters: Jay Gatsby (speaker), Nick Carraway (speaker), Daisy Buchanan
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

As they prepare to leave for New York City, Nick and Gatsby talk briefly about Daisy’s behavior. Gatsby unexpectedly produces this perceptive comment, which calls into question his unconditional admiration for Daisy.

Both Nick and Gatsby point out that it is possible to discern Daisy’s social class simply from the quality of her voice. They tie this to its musical quality with the terms “jingle” and “cymbals’ song,” indicating that it is a learned affectation—something she has been brought up to perform in order to give off “inexhaustible charm.” Nick’s surprise at the realization indicates how difficult it can be to perceive such characteristics, for they take a studious examination—but also how apparent they are when finally spoken. Fitzgerald uses this line to show how Daisy’s old money has been assimilated even into her physical being.

The comment also reveals a surprising attention on Gatsby’s part to Daisy’s wealth. Indeed, the fact that her voice—something with which he would have always been accustomed—reveals her wealth calls into question even the validity of their older relationship. Recall, however, that Daisy earlier made a similar statement when Gatsby’s shirts moved her to tears. The text indicates that both characters, then, may be interested in each other partially for their money—either for the actual financial resources equated with Gatsby’s new money or for the prestige that would be associated with Daisy’s old money. And, with the image of the voice, it points out the difficulty of disentangling such superficial attractions from other relations of character and identity. 

Chapter 8 Quotes
"They're a rotten crowd," I shouted across the lawn. "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together."
I've always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end. First he nodded politely, and then his face broke into that radiant and understanding smile, as if we'd been in ecstatic cahoots on that fact all the time.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:

As Nick leaves Gatsby’s house in what will be their last interaction, he yells back this redeeming comment. Though the amount of sincerity from both characters remains unclear, they do establish at least an apparent connection.

Nick’s reflection on the nature of the compliment reiterates his ambivalence toward Gatsby. He entirely disapproves of the man’s actions, finding them superficial, decadent, and morally questionable. Yet he also sees in them something that raises Gatsby above the “rotten crowd,” likely due to the way he has intensely pursued his narrative of self-creation, and thus in a way remained true to himself. Nick notably does not consider the comment to have been a flippant one, but rather observes how it has stood the test of time. A level of skepticism should be reserved, however, when Gatsby’s smile is taken into account, for we were told explicitly before how the smile creates the semblance of “ecstatic cahoots” as opposed to an actual connection. The hypothetical “as if we’d been” corroborates that interpretation and leaves Nick’s perception of Gatsby unclear until the end.

Still, Nick’s comment on the “rotten crowd” has broken with his earlier promise to be empathetic toward all. He is not judgmental, here, of those without advantages, but rather those with advantages. Indeed, he is the most empathetic to those without means, secondly empathetic to Gatsby’s new money, and least empathetic to Tom and his old money crowd. Fitzgerald thus shows how Nick’s sensibilities have developed from the novel’s opening pages—no longer seeking to treat all men equally but rather judging those who have behaved poorly given their social circumstances.

Chapter 9 Quotes
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:

After Daisy and Tom disappear, Nick gives this harsh assessment of their characters. He points out how their lifestyle and social position allowed them to wreak havoc without any significant personal consequences.

Nick’s condemnation focuses on the couple’s treatment of other people. That he uses the term “creatures” to refer to those people and parallels the smashing of those “creatures” with “things” stresses the way Daisy and Tom tend to objectify and belittle others. The term “people,” on the other hand, is used to refer to those who “clean up the mess,” once more displaying Nick’s humanizing sensitivity to the less wealthy classes who would be responsible for dealing with their carelessness.

Whereas before both Nick and the reader might have maintained a level of sympathy for the events that befell the couple, here he makes evident that such sympathy is unnecessary, for the two are able to easily escape from any mayhem they have caused. Intriguingly, he does not give “money” as the sole motivation of this behavior, instead offering “vast carelessness”—a tautological formation (one whose truth is based in itself) in which they carelessly retreat into carelessness—and the enigmatic “whatever it was” as potential sources of retreat. Nick thus reiterates the inability to make sense of characters’ actions that has pervaded the text thus far. We can presume it to be an economic factor or perhaps a personality deficit, but ultimately there is no way to be certain of what has motivated their selfish behavior.

That's my Middle West . . . the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark. . . . I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan, Jordan Baker
Related Symbols: East and West
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

After Gatsby’s funeral, Nick adopts this broader perspective on the events that have transpired in the novel. He observes that all of the characters were coastal transplants who hoped and failed to pursue an American Dream on the East Coast.

Nick offers, here, an interesting case of re-narrativizing his life: with this added realization of the characters’ common heritage, he can reinterpret the tale as “a story of the West.” Thus their actions and flaws become less characteristic of individual choices and more of the social types they represent. That they “possessed some deficiency” renders the plot of the novel fatalistic and pre-determined based on social constraints, while the “common” oddly binds together these Westerners even as the novel’s plot has tended to highlight their differences.

The passage also speaks to a sociological shift taking place in the twenties: Whereas before the West was seen as a frontier of opportunity, at this time, a financial boom caused migration patterns to shift back eastward. Yet if the the western American Dream brought one into regions of relatively greater freedom and opportunity, those who moved east were confronting the rigid social systems epitomized by East Egg. Thus Fitzgerald has used these characters as a way to make sense of a broader pattern of movement, in which even those who were seen as wildly successful in the roaring twenties could not conform their identities fully to the nature of the older East Coast.

And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world.... And as I sat there, brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out Daisy's light at the end of his dock. He had come such a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it. But what he did not know was that it was already behind him, somewhere in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan
Related Symbols: The Green Light and the Color Green
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

In the novel’s closing passage, Nick reflects on how Gatsby’s dogged pursuit of Daisy is similar to the dreams of early settlers landing on the American continent. He uses the comparison to both elevate and belittle Gatsby’s character.

To introduce this idea, Nick first describes dissociating from the immediate surroundings: “the inessential houses began to melt away,” distancing him from the environment of wealth and commodities. This is a startling narrative technique, considering how Nick had earlier denied to Gatsby the potential of returning to the past: here he seems to do just that, indicating that storytelling and reflection may achieve this end far more effectively than Gatsby’s purchase of a mansion on West Egg. Next, he uses this trick of time to equate the “green breast of the new world” seen by settlers in America to “Daisy’s light” seen by Gatsby. In different ways, they represent an almost-reached, yet still-differed goal.

This parallel elevates Gatsby’s dreams to an epic stature—for they are deemed equal in aspiration to those who have "discovered" this very land. Yet the passage also renders Gatsby less unique by pointing out how traditional and ancient his aspirations are. Nick stresses this second perspective when he observes that Gatsby’s dream was “already behind him,” indicating that the destination has already been reached. This “behind” could refer to Gatsby’s previous relationship with Daisy, or his hometown to the West—but also the symbolic “behind” of those Dutch sailors. Fitzgerald seems to imply that America as “the republic” already holds the aspiration that Gatsby so desperately seeks—and that his attempts to search for fulfillment in new domains is pointless.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And then one fine morning—So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Related Characters: Nick Carraway (speaker), Jay Gatsby
Related Symbols: The Green Light and the Color Green
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

In these last lines of the novel, Nick continues to offer an equivocal set of comments on his perception of Gatsby. Once more, he points out the flaws in his characteristic commitment, while simultaneously praising the way he so doggedly pursues an ideal.

To articulate this ambiguity, Nick once more summons the symbol of the “green light”—here defining it as something that can fundamentally never be obtained. Its vital quality is not actually the “orgastic future” but rather the perception of such a future that “recedes” and is “eluded.” Indeed, this is how it has symbolically functioned in the novel: never allowing the reader to pin down a singular meaning, promising to unlock the text but actually standing for a variety of conflicting allegorical ideas.

Yet it is in that very process of deferral that Nick locates the light’s significance. The light is significant because it motivates those who perceive it to “run faster, stretch out our arms farther”—whether that means to perform well at one’s job, or to more closely examine the symbolism of a green light. It is telling that the phrase “then one fine morning” does not end in an actual action, for it represents another of those "orgastic futures" that recedes rather than being caught. For Nick, this pursuit ends in the odd (but extremely famous) image of a set of boats futilely beating on against the current: a symbol which reiterates the wish to cross a body of water and reach the green light.

For although the boats “beat on,” they actually move “ceaselessly into the past,” indicating not only stagnancy but also a gravitational pull toward personal, social, and cultural history. Fitzgerald thus ends the novel by reversing Nick’s earlier claim that one does not repeat the past, instead asserting that though the pursuit of new dreams may indeed be worthwhile, these efforts are essentially minute compared to the natural inertia that the characters in the novel (as well as the United States itself) would experience as the roaring twenties came to a close.

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Nick Carraway Character Timeline in The Great Gatsby

The timeline below shows where the character Nick Carraway appears in The Great Gatsby. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money) Theme Icon
Nick Carraway, the novel's narrator and protagonist, begins The Great Gatsby by recounting a bit of... (full context)
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
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For instance, Nick says that though he scorns everything Gatsby stood for, he withholds judgment entirely regarding him.... (full context)
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In the summer of 1922, Nick, a Yale graduate, moves from his hometown in Minnesota, where his family has lived for... (full context)
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The American Dream Theme Icon
Nick intends to become a bond salesman, a line of work he says that almost everyone... (full context)
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Nick rents a house in West Egg, a Long Island suburb located directly across a bay... (full context)
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...characterized by garish displays of wealth that the old money families find distasteful. For instance, Nick's small house sits next to an "eyesore" of a mansion owned by Gatsby, a man... (full context)
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The main story begins when Nick, who, though he lives in West Egg has East Egg connections, drives over to East... (full context)
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At dinner Nick meets Jordan Baker, a young professional golfer, who is beautiful but also seems constantly bored... (full context)
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...has a phone call and leaves the room. Daisy follows quickly behind, and Jordan tells Nick that the call is from Tom's mistress. The rest of dinner is awkward. As Nick... (full context)
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Upon returning from dinner, Nick sees Jay Gatsby standing on his lawn and gazing out across Long Island sound. Nick... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Nick describes a "waste land" between West Egg and New York City where the ashes from... (full context)
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One day, as Tom and Nick ride a train from Long Island into the city, Tom gets off at a stop... (full context)
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Tom, Myrtle, and Nick go to the apartment Tom keeps in New York City to conduct his affair. Myrtle's... (full context)
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The topic of conversation eventually turns to Nick's neighbor Gatsby. Catherine says she's afraid of Gatsby because she's heard that he's a relative... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Every Saturday night, Gatsby throws incredibly luxurious parties at his mansion. Nick eventually receives an invitation. At the party, he feels out of place, and notes that... (full context)
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Nick runs into Jordan Baker at the party. While spending time with her, he observes all... (full context)
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Nick and Jordan decide to find their mysterious host, and wander into Gatsby's library. There they... (full context)
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Later, as Nick and Jordan sit outside watching the party, Nick strikes up a conversation with the man... (full context)
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Gatsby also interests Nick because he remains apart from the party, as if his pleasure derives from observing the... (full context)
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...to come meet with Gatsby. She returns a while later from this meeting and tells Nick that she has just heard a story that is "the most amazing thing." (full context)
The Roaring Twenties Theme Icon
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...goodbye to Gatsby (who has to run off to receive a phone call from Philadelphia), Nick leaves the party. As he walks home, he sees a crowd gathered around an automobile... (full context)
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Nick then describes his everyday life that summer to the reader: he wants it clear he... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Nick observes some drunken women on Gatsby's lawn discussing Gatsby's mysterious identity, which includes all the... (full context)
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Nick then describes accompanying Gatsby on a trip into the city for lunch. They ride to... (full context)
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For lunch they meet a business partner of Gatsby's named Meyer Wolfsheim. Wolfsheim tells Nick that Gatsby is a man of "fine breeding" who would "never so much as look... (full context)
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On the way out of the restaurant, Nick sees Tom Buchanan and introduces him to Gatsby. Gatsby appears embarrassed and leaves the scene... (full context)
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After lunch, Nick meets Jordan at the Plaza Hotel. She tells him the "amazing thing" that Gatsby had... (full context)
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...He had hoped that the magnificent house would impress her and win back her love. Nick realizes that the green light he saw Gatsby gazing at sits at the end of... (full context)
Chapter 5
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After returning from the city, Nick encounters Gatsby late at night on his front lawn. Gatsby seems nervous, and asks if... (full context)
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...on the day of the meeting. Though it's raining he sends a man to cut Nick's grass, and also makes sure Nick's house is full of flowers. Gatsby disappears just as... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
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...and Daisy treat each other formally at first, and Gatsby's nerves threaten to overwhelm him. Nick leaves them alone for half an hour. When he returns they are blissfully happy. Gatsby... (full context)
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Nick, meanwhile, privately wonders how Daisy can possibly fulfill Gatsby's idealized vision of her. Nick reflects... (full context)
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...holds Daisy's hand and she whispers something to him that seems to stir his emotions. Nick, sensing that they no longer realize he's there, leaves them, walking out alone into the... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Nick notes that newspaper reporters soon started to appear at Gatsby's home to try to interview... (full context)
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For a few weeks, Nick doesn't see Gatsby. Then, one afternoon, Gatsby turns up at his house. A few moments... (full context)
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...next Saturday night, Tom and Daisy come to a party at Gatsby's. The party strikes Nick as particularly unpleasant. Tom is disdainful of the party, and though Daisy and Gatsby dance... (full context)
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...that Daisy neither enjoyed the party nor understands the depth of his feelings for her. Nick reminds him that the past is impossible to repeat, but Gatsby disagrees. He says he... (full context)
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Nick recalls a memory that Gatsby once shared with him about the first time Gatsby kissed... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Gatsby's house becomes much quieter, and his party's come to an end. Nick visits, and learns that Gatsby ended the parties because he no longer needed them to... (full context)
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On the hottest day of the summer, Daisy invites Nick and Gatsby to lunch with her, Tom, and Jordan. At one point, while Tom is... (full context)
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Before they leave for the city, Nick and Gatsby have a moment alone, in which they agree that Daisy is indiscreet. Gatsby... (full context)
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...Gatsby's big yellow car. Gatsby and Daisy travel alone in Tom's coupe, while Tom drives Nick and Jordan. It's clear Tom now knows about the affair between Gatsby and Daisy. Gatsby's... (full context)
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...and became physically ill upon discovering that his wife has been living a double life. Nick realizes that Wilson has figured out his wife is having an affair but doesn't know... (full context)
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Nick notices the haunting eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg looming in the distance, then spots... (full context)
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Nick remembers at that moment that the day is his thirtieth birthday. He says that a... (full context)
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...a Greek man who runs the coffee shop next to George Wilson's garage, and who, Nick, says, was the chief witness in the police investigation: that afternoon, Michaelis saw Wilson sick... (full context)
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The point of view shifts back to Nick: Tom, Nick, and Jordan arrive at the scene in their car. Both Tom and Wilson... (full context)
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Tom, Jordan, and Nick drive to the Buchanan's house. Tom calls a taxi for Nick. As Nick waits for... (full context)
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Nick goes and checks on Daisy through the window, and sees Tom and Daisy sitting on... (full context)
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Nick tells Gatsby everything is quiet, but Gatsby still refuses to leave. Nick leaves him "watching... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Nick visits Gatsby for breakfast the next morning. Gatsby tells Nick that Daisy never came outside... (full context)
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Gatsby and Nick finish breakfast. As they walk together, the gardener tells Gatsby he's going to drain the... (full context)
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At work that day, Nick falls asleep. The phone wakes him: it's Jordan. Their conversation quickly turns unpleasant and one... (full context)
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Next, Nick relates what happened at Wilson's garage after Myrtle's death. Wilson spent all night talking to... (full context)
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...he was to be alerted if any phone call came. None came. Later that afternoon, Nick and some of Wolfsheim's men working at Gatsby's house discover Gatsby, shot dead in his... (full context)
Chapter 9
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It's now two years later and Nick is recounting his memories of the days shortly after Gatsby's death. Wild rumors about Gatsby's... (full context)
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Nick finds himself the primary contact for all matters relating to Gatsby because nobody else wanted... (full context)
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...devastated by his son's death, who he believed was destined for great things. He asks Nick what his relationship was to Gatsby. Nick says they were close friends. (full context)
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That night, Klipspringer calls. Nick tells him about the funeral. But Klipspringer says he can't attend because he has to... (full context)
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...place the next day. In an effort to assemble more people to attend the service, Nick goes to New York to try to retrieve Wolfsheim in person. At his sketchy office,... (full context)
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Nick returns to Gatsby's house for the funeral. Only, Nick, Henry Gatz, and, to Nick's surprise,... (full context)
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Nick now describes The Great Gatsby as a story of the West since many of the... (full context)
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Nick goes to Jordan Baker's house to set things straight with her. She tells him she... (full context)
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Later that October, Nick runs into Tom Buchanan on Fifth Avenue in New York. He refuses to shake Tom's... (full context)
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On his last night in West Egg before moving back home to Minnesota, Nick walks down to Gatsby's beach and looks out over Long Island sound. He wonders how... (full context)
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Nick describes Gatsby as a believer in the future, a man of promise and faith. He... (full context)