Book 303: The Great Gatsby

 Today’s guest blogger is L’Amber Terry, a second year Business Major at Jefferson Community & Technical College. She writes to us about an American classic . . .

The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925 and set in 1922 after World War I. The story is being told by Nick Carraway as he tells about his time in New York and his encounter with Jay Gatsby, Daisy and Tom Buchannon, and a few other interesting characters.

Nick has just moved from the Midwest to West Egg, Long Island which happens to where the people with “new money” reside. The location of his bungalow is between two mansions–one belonging to the mysterious Jay Gatsby. Nick’s cousin Daisy and her husband Tom are “old money,” so they stay across the river in East Egg. This is where Nick meets his soon to be love interest Jordan Baker, a professional golfer and childhood friend of Daisy. On one occasion when Nick is visiting Daisy and Tom, Tom receives a phone call from someone who was revealed by Jordan to be Tom’s “girlfriend.”

Tom is not trying to hide his affair from Nick, as seen when they are heading into the city on the train and Tom insists that they get off  so that he can introduce Nick to his girlfriend, who happens to be a married woman. When they are introduced, the two make a date to meet and off Tom and Nick go. Myrtle (Tom’s Girlfriend) tells her husband that she is going to her sister’s and heads over to the apartment that she shares with Tom. The trio is soon joined by Myrtle’s sister and a few other guests. The group are sitting around becoming intoxicated and Myrtle begin to go into a rant about her life with Tom and his marriage to Daisy, which infuriates Tom, and in his drunken rage he breaks Myrtles nose.

After getting home Nick notices that Gatsby is having another one of his lavish parties, inviting hundreds of guest at a time. From a distance Nick could notice that the offered two full course meals and an orchestra, allowing the guests to party until the wee hours in morning. Nick watched Gatsby party from afar for quite a while before he received his very own handwritten invitation. When Nick arrives at the party he runs into Jordan and the two of them search the house for the host, which none of the guest have seen. After giving up on their search, Nick and Jordan have a few glasses of champagne, and Nick strikes up a conversation with a gentlemen who he soon realizes is in fact Gatsby. They two form a friendship and one day on a ride to New York, Gatsby begins to tell Nick about his past, to clear up the rumors.

While in New York Nick meets Meyer Wolfshiem, who happens to be Gatsby’s connection to organized crime. Nick also runs into Jordan, who informs Nick that Gatsby and Daisy used to be an item–that is until Daisy’s family found out that Gatsby was poor and disapproved of the relationship. Gatsby never stopped loving Daisy, though. That is why Gatsby purchased the mansion in West Egg and also why he has such lavish parties, all in hopes that she would come over and they could reconnect. So Nick and Jordan come up with a plan to accidentally force a meeting between the two, by inviting them over to Nick’s house on a night when Tom wouldn’t be there.

When the day finally comes for the meeting, Daisy shows up and shortly after Gatsby appears and the three sit in an uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. When tea arrives Nick excuses himself to give the two some time, but a nervous and unsure Gatsby follows him out. Nick send Gatsby back in finds something outside for an hour and a half as to give the two some time alone. When Nick arrives the uncomfortable state was gone and the two were sitting and chatting. Gatsby proposes that the trio move from Nick’s bungalow to his mansion. Once they arrive, Daisy is pleased with what she sees and they walk around the mansion together. Nick leaves the two alone, and he heads home.

Nick had started spending a lot of time with Jordan which meant he spent less time around Gatsby. So he goes to visit and shortly after Tom and some friends arrive, and they are all invited to dinner. Tom, who is becoming concerned with some of Daisy’s activities, accompanies her to one of Gatsby’s parties. While at the party Tom finds himself another lady friend, and Daisy doesn’t have a good time. A few days later Nick, Gatsby, Jordan and the Buchannons are at the Buchannon home having lunch and some cordial conversation. When Tom leaves the room to talk to his mistress, Daisy and Gatsby exchange a kiss, this and a little eye contact between the two confirm Tom’s suspicion of an affair between them. Enraged Tom suggests that the group go to the city, and he notices that the car is low on gas and pulls into the garage of Myrtle’s husband. He begins to tell Tom that they are leaving and heading west, because Myrtle is having an affair with an unknown man. This further angers Tom, and when the group gets to the hotel, he confronts Gatsby about his affair and love of Daisy. He confronts Daisy and tells her about Gatsby and his illegal activity, and orders her and Gatsby to leave. The two leave in Gatsby’s car, which had been driven by Tom earlier. 

With Daisy driving, the two speed away, and on the way home, run over someone. As the others pull up to the scene a few moments later, it is revealed that the person in the road was Myrtle, and the description of the car matches that of Gatsby. This infuriated Tom even more, and the group head home. When they get home Tom invites Nick inside, but he declines and on the way home he runs into Gatsby. After a series of questions Nick learns that it was Daisy who was driving the car, and that Gatsby intended on taking the blame for the accident to protect her. He was going to wait outside the Buchannon home in case Tom tried to harm Daisy, so Nick continued home.

The next morning Nick heads over to see Gatsby and to suggest that Gatsby leave town before someone identifies his car as the one that killed Myrtle. Gatsby then goes into a spill about the truth about his past and his connection to Daisy. He started by explaining to Nick that when he left for the war he had planned to come home to her. After the war when he returned to Louisville to find her Daisy had married and was on her honeymoon. Nick proceeds to tell Gatsby that the entire crowd is a rotten bunch and that he is worth “the whole bunch of them,” and Nick leaves. After some time in the city Nick is uneasy and decides to go home early. He phones Gatsby, but is unable to reach him, so he goes over, and finds Gatsby dead in the pool. As Nick is trying to take the body into the house the gardener finds another body, belonging to Wilson, Myrtle’s husband, in the grass.

The book ends with Nick making funeral arrangements and looking for Gatsby’s family. One day the phone rings and Gatsby’s father is on the line, but herefuses to take the body, because his son loves to be out east. When Nick tried to get other individuals in Gatsby’s live to attend the funeral, he was met by constant declines and no interest, not even Daisy. The funeral was only attended by a few people and of the hundreds who made it to his parties only one made it to his funeral. Nick ends the story on a train on his way back to the Midwest.

And, that is L’Amber’s take on The Great Gatsby. Happy Reading!

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