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The Great Gatsby Ch. 1-5 Test
The Great Gatsby -- Chapters 1-5
Terms in this set (42)
the year the events of the novel take place
a mysterious young man who throws incredible parties and lives in a mansion next door to Nick. new money, but acts like old money
Tom's wife. whimsical, pretends to be unaware. wants daughter to be a beautiful fool to avoid harshness of life. has ulterior motives. knows more than she wants to.
described by the author with very "macho," masculine language; breaks another Myrtle's nose. violent. racist. controlling. immoral. rich. greedy. ignorant. book smart. best at everything. superiority complex.
competes in golf tournaments; Daisy wants this person to fall in love with Nick. athletic. she pushes through boundaries as a woman athlete. cheated in golf tournament. gossip. disloyal friend. "knows" gatsby
a Jewish man who supposedly "fixed" the 1919 World Series. is business partner of gatsby. is connection that links gatsby to illegal behavior
the reliable narrator of the novel; came East to work in the bond business. went to school w/ tom. observant, but not judging. hardworking, comes from old money
Tom's mistress; lives in an apartment over a garage. George's wife. materialistic. disloyal. gold digger. emotionally unstable. foil to daisy. selfish. dense
a mechanic; Myrtle's husband. weak. feminine. clueless. submissive, tom's mechanic. foil of tom. poor. tom has an affair with his wife
"respected", old money long island
Gatsby lives here and has the largest mansion, so does nick, classless, gaudy, flashy
Myrtle's sister. Pretentious, gossip about gatsby, forced herself on nick, pretty
Chester- feminine, sexual undertones between him and nick
Roles are reversed in couples in the novel
he is drunk and trying to sober up by reading (actions do not make sense to reach end goal.)
disorderly, has been drunk for one week and arrived at gatsby's the night before
gets into a car accident as the party is nearing it's end and he leads everyone to believe he was driving.
they are more concerned with the wheel coming off and running out of gas (Tom was in car crash with a woman in santa barbara)
they completely have their priorities out of order
He is showing recurring trends in the novel, this will happen again.
We meet our narrator. Hello, narrator!
First thing he does is pass along some of his father's advice: "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had" (1.2).
Great, we love a book that begins with a lecture.
We learn that our narrator is non-judgmental. As a result, people tell him their life stories like he's a bartender on Cheers.
We find out that he is "a Carraway," which apparently means that he's got wealth and class. And he went to Yale.
This Carraway fellow introduces us to the setting: New York City and the twin villages of West Egg and East Egg in Long Island.
Please note that West Egg, where Carraway lives, is not as fancy-shmancy as East Egg. But it's still pretty fancy-shmancy compared to the rest of the world.
On this "less fashionable" Egg, Nick Carraway lives next to a huge mansion inhabited by a mysterious Mr. Gatsby. More on him later.
By the way, Nick Carraway is "bond man." Not, like, posting bail, but trading stocks and bonds. In other words, he's a stockbroker/ financier type.
(Click the summary infographic to download.)
Nick heads over to East Egg to have dinner with Daisy, his second cousin once removed, and her husband, Tom Buchanan, an old college buddy.
The Buchanans have tons of money, and Nick likes to tell us all about it.
We see that Tom is a rather large and "aggressive" former football player. In other words, this guy is not the sensitive, lyric-writing type.
We then meet two women dressed in white - Daisy, of course, and her friend, Jordan Baker.
Daisy and Tom have a child, who spends the majority of her two-year-old time sleeping in the other room.
When, in friendly cocktail conversation, Nick casually mentions Gatsby, Daisy gets particularly interested.
In general, Daisy spends Chapter 1 being happy and excited about life and having a bruise that Tom accidentally gave her.
There's also talk of the peculiar qualities of her excited little voice.
The following is a rather dramatic scene: Tom gets a phone call, Daisy freaks out and goes to yell at him, and Jordan reveals that Tom is messing around on the side.
Not only that, but he's messing around with a woman tactless enough to call his house all the time to ask what's up. We get the feeling that the tactless bit is the real problem.
Daisy comes back and talks about when her daughter was born: Tom wasn't there, and she wished that her daughter would be a "beautiful little fool"—i.e., too dumb to know any better.
It turns out that Jordan is an athlete (golf). Nick feels like he's heard about her before, but he can't remember the story. You guess it: more on that later.
Daisy then jokes about Jordan and Nick getting together. LOL!
When Nick finally gets home to West Egg, he notices that his neighbor, Mr. Gatsby, is out chilling on the lawn and maybe contemplating the addition of some plastic flamingoes to his "blue lawn." Why is the lawn always blue? Good question.
Except that Gatsby is not just chilling and thinking about flamingoes. He stares across the water at a lone green light before stretching his arm out towards it oh-so-symbolically.
Nick describes the land that lies in between the Eggs and New York as a "valley of ashes" (2.1), which sounds really unpleasant.
Above this dead land—er, "Waste Land," perhaps?—are the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, or rather, a billboard that features the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg.
No, it's not socialite graffiti, just an advertisement for an eye doctor. But we get the feeling it's meaningful.
In case you're interested in colors (and in this book, we recommend it), the eyes are blue and the spectacles yellow.
Anyway, the whole reason we hear about these ashes and eyes is that Nick is traveling to the city with Tom, who insists on stopping to show Nick his mistress.
We love show and tell!
The mistress is the wife of an auto mechanic named George B. Wilson - at least, that's the name on the front of his repair shop
Tom acts like a jerk towards the husband (who is doing some sort of car work for him) and then sends the wife (Myrtle) a not-so-covert message to come with him to the city.
George (Myrtle's husband) is blissfully ignorant. He thinks Myrtle just goes to the city to visit her sister.
On the train on the way to the city, Myrtle wants a puppy.
So Tom buys her a puppy. Obviously.
This whole situation is so wrong that Nick tries to jump ship. But the happy couple doesn't let him.
In the city, they head to the adulterous sex apartment and meet up with others, including a Mr. McKee and Myrtle's sister, Catherine.
They drink a lot of Tom's whiskey, and Nick gets drunk for the second time in his life.
When Nick reveals that he lives in West Egg, one of the drunken revelers goes on and on about the fabulous parties that this guy Gatsby throws.
Myrtle's sister whispers to Nick that Myrtle and Tom both hate their spouses. So, apparently Tom has told Myrtle some lies to string her along without having to divorce Daisy.
There is some discussion of not marrying below your social caste, which apparently Myrtle did.
Tom tells Myrtle to stop saying Daisy's name.
Myrtle, of course, says "Daisy, Daisy, Daisy."
... and then Tom breaks her nose.
Nick gets too drunk to remember how he got into bed.
Nick describes the elaborate parties (orchestra and everything) that Jay Gatsby throws most nights throughout the summer. Hordes of people arrive to get their collective grooves on.
Many of them never meet Gatsby, and most were not invited.
But Nick is invited--via Gatsby's chauffer.
He meets Jordan at the party, we're reminded she is a golfer, and everybody gossips about the mysterious Gatsby and how he might be a murderer or in the CIA or something.
(Well, probably not the CIA, founded in 1947. But you get the point.)
Nick wanders into the library (you can tell he's not a big party aficionado) and meets a man with owl-eyed spectacles who is in awe that all these books are real - pages and everything!
Owl-eyed man also utters one of the famous Fitzgerald lines: "I've been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library."
Back outside, Nick meets an unknown man who gives him the old "you look familiar" line. They chat about having both been in the war (WWI).
Turns out, the mysterious man is the mysterious Gatsby. Who'd have thought? Certainly not Nick, who expected Gatsby to be older than him. (Nick's about 30.)
Gatsby leaves to take a phone call, and later sends his butler to get Jordan for a private chat.
Inside the house, Nick watches a woman with red hair singing along to a piano and weeping black mascara tears.
Everyone is fighting with his or her spouse. The men are mad because they're not being allowed to talk to the hot young things, and the women are mad because their husbands are trying to talk to the hot young things.
Presumably the hot young things are enjoying themselves just fine.
Jordan comes back from the chat with Gatsby; she taunts Nick (and us) about the "tantalizing" news without revealing any of it. She then tells Nick to come and visit her at her aunt's house.
Gatsby says goodnight to Nick with his signature "old sport" usage. They have plans to go up in his "hydroplane" tomorrow.
BUT the excitement isn't over yet. Nick sees that a coupe leaving the driveway has hit a wall and lost a wheel.
The driver? None other than the owl-eyed man himself.
No, wait - moments after that we find out he was not, in fact, the driver. There was someone else in the car. We suggest you dog-ear this page for later reference.
That's it for the night of the party.
Nick falls into his work-eat-sleep routine and Jordan doesn't pop up again until mid-summer, when they start hanging out together.
Nick tells us it isn't love, but that it's curiosity.
Sure, dude. Whatever you need to tell yourself.
When Jordan lies about leaving the top down in a borrowed convertible, it jogs Nick's memory about that "story" he had been trying to remember regarding Jordan: she may have cheated in a professional golf tournament once.
Yet another classic Fitzgerald line: "Dishonesty in a woman is something you never blame deeply." Ha.
She's also a horrible driver, but we're not making any women jokes about that—especially since it's not true.
Nick tells her to be careful, but Jordan says no, it's fine, as long as other people are careful drivers. She says she hopes that she never meets a person as careless as herself. "I hate careless people," she tells Nick. "That's why I like you."
Nick is sold. He realizes he needs to break things off with a certain girl back in Chicago, and then congratulates himself on being one of the few honest people he has ever known.
We hear some more guesses as to Gatsby's occupation. (Murderer? Bootlegger? Movie critic?)
Apparently, background matters: Nick goes on and on about the names, occupations, and personal histories of all the people who come to Gatsby's parties.
Gatsby comes to get Nick for lunch in his huge and fancy yellow Rolls-Royce.
He explains to Nick his own personal history: he's the son of wealthy Midwesterners and he was educated at Oxford.
Nick recalls that the general public, and more specifically Jordan, has some doubts about Gatsby's Oxford claim.
Gatsby says he's from San Francisco (which doesn't exactly seem like the Middle West to us, but whatever). He also talks about the war and shows Nick a medal that says "Major Jay Gatsby."
If that were not enough, he shows a photograph of him with the old Oxford gang.
Nick is sold. He believes Gatsby.
But FYI, if you ever need to see photographic proof to believe your friends' stories, it's probably a bad sign.
AHA! Turns out Gatsby was just buttering him up to ask for a big favor; he wants Nick to talk with Jordan about something. Something vague. Nick isn't too happy about being used.
When he's pulled over by a policeman, Gatsby simply reveals his identity and gets off the hook, Tony Soprano style.
Once they get to the city, Gatsby introduces Nick to his business partner, Mr. Wolfsheim.
Nick instinctively knows that there is something fishy about the working partnership.
We're starting to think this is more Enoch Thompson-style than Tony Soprano-style.
Supposedly, Mr. Wolfsheim fixed the World Series of 1919. We don't even have to tell you whose style that is.
Oh, we forgot to mention: Mr. Wolfsheim's cufflinks are made of human molars. (Kurtz-style from Heart of Darkness.)
And then Nick sees none other than Tom Buchanan across the room. He goes to introduce Gatsby, but Gatsby has bolted.
They meet Tom by accident, but when Nick turns to introduce Gatsby to Tom, Gatsby has disappeared. Again. The plot thickens.
Jordan later tells Nick the story of how Gatsby and Daisy met in October, 1917. Jordan herself saw them together; Daisy (all dressed in white - get used to that) was eighteen and the Queen Bee of high society, and Gatsby was a young officer head-over-heels in love with her.
By 1918, Jordan had her own boyfriends and had begun to play in tournaments. We don't think this is relevant, but Jordan clearly did.
Daisy's family, meanwhile, had prevented Daisy from going to say good-bye to this solider. Daisy responded with a teenage "I hate you! I'm never leaving my room again!" which lasted until the next fall, when she was once again Queen Bee'ing her way around town. This time, though, she was running in "older" circles with a more sophisticated crowd.
By June of 1919, Daisy was married to Tom, whose massive wealth probably helped with the proposal.
BUT, Jordan saw Daisy the night before her wedding, completely drunk. She was waving a letter about in the air and saying she's "chang' her mine!" which is drunk Daisy for "I don't want to marry Tom because I still love Gatsby and also Tom's kind of a jerk and potentially abusive."
Apparently Jordan failed to deliver Daisy's sloshed message, because by the following April, in 1920, Daisy had given birth to a little girl.
Daisy, it seemed, was crazy about her husband by the time she got back from the honeymoon. We'll let you speculate about why.
Whether Tom felt the same way about Daisy is up for grabs, since shortly after their honeymoon it is suggested that he was fooling around with a hotel maid.
Also, Daisy doesn't drink. Well, at least since that wedding eve incident.
Jordan continues the story. Six weeks ago, when Daisy first heard of Gatsby again, she started to ask questions and realized it was the man she had loved so long ago.
That's it for Jordan's history of Daisy. Jordan then explains to Nick that Gatsby only bought his house so he would be near Daisy.
She also proposes Gatsby's plan: that Nick invite Daisy over for tea (without Tom) and then have Gatsby casually drop by.
Nick says, "Sure, but let's stop talking about them so we can make out." Roughly speaking.
Chapter 4 Important Features
Story of the wedding
Gatsby sends flowers
-gets nick's grass cut
-offers nick a job
Gatsby's house is prepared for a party however no one is there
Nick goes into town to buy flowers, but Gatsby already had some ordered
Nick think his house is on fire because it is so bright
It is actually Gatsby's house that is lit up
Daisy and Gatsby are reintroduced
Nick needs to calm Gatsby down bc things are not going as expected
Gatsby and Daisy begin to find comfort in each other when Nick leaves for the second time
they do not realize when he comes back but when he does daisy is crying and gatsby is happy
Gatsby wants to show Daisy his house and insists that nick comes along. He wants to impress Daisy
Gatsby's real job is becoming evident
While Daisy is powdering her nose, Nick and Gatsby look with awe on Gatsby's house. Gatsby slips up a little when he says it took him three years to earn the money for it, and when Nick questions his earlier statement that he inherited the money, Gatsby gets suddenly defensive. Hmm!
As they explore Gatsby's house, Nick thinks he hears the ghostly laughter of the owl-eyed man in the library.
It becomes painfully obvious that Gatsby only has such a fine house and such fine things for the purpose of impressing Daisy.
When Daisy sees Gatsby's collection of expensive shirts, she cries about how beautiful they are.
Nick muses that, since Daisy is now here with Gatsby, the green light loses its magical mystery significance. The present, it seems, doesn't really live up to the past ideals.
They go downstairs and have this man Klipspringer play "The Love Nest" on the piano.
Nick heads home, leaving Gatsby and Daisy alone together.
the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg
these eyes look out over the Valley of Ashes
at the end of the Buchanans' dock
the green light is located [---]
the Valley of Ashes
a giant trash-burning operation in between the "Eggs" and New York City
daisy flowers are both white and yellow.
Daisy's name is important symbolically because [---].
Gatsby's car is colored [---].
...his parents, who are dead.
Gatsby tells Nick that he got his wealth from [---].
(1) a war metal
(2) a photo from his days at Oxford University
What are the two pieces of evidence Gatsby shows to Nick to prove that the life story he tells Nick is true?
He has human molars for cufflinks.
What is unusual about Meyer Wolfsheim's clothes?
(1) He sends over someone to cut Nick's grass.
(2) He sends over a florist with lots of fresh flowers to decorate the inside of the house.
Two things Gatsby does to improve Nick's house before Daisy's visit are [---].
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one . . . just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
Nick in the beginning, something his dad told him and it stuck with him
"...what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men."
By some measures, Gatsby successfully achieved the American Dream, ascending to the top of the world (or at least the economic ladder).
However, the dream comes with a price: a "foul dust" that follows you around everywhere you go. The higher you climb, the steeper the price-and Gatsby managed to climb pretty high.
Nick states the dark side of Gatsby's quest ended up making him feel somewhat depressed about everything-so right off the bat we know that even achieving dreams doesn't necessarily lead to happiness.
The word "interest" is also field-specific terminology for the bonding business that Nick was involved in. "Closed out my interest" perhaps alludes to how Nick will steer away from that business in the end, simultaneously steering away from a certain investment in humanity and optimism about the world
"I hope she'll be a fool — that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool . . . You see, I think everything's terrible anyhow . . . And I know. I've been everywhere and seen everything and done everything."
Daisy speaks these words in Chapter 1 as she describes to Nick and Jordan her hopes for her infant daughter. While not directly relevant to the novel's main themes, this quote offers a revealing glimpse into Daisy's character. Daisy is not a fool herself but is the product of a social environment that, to a great extent, does not value intelligence in women. The older generation values subservience and docility in females, and the younger generation values thoughtless giddiness and pleasure-seeking. Daisy's remark is somewhat sardonic: while she refers to the social values of her era, she does not seem to challenge them. Instead, she describes her own boredom with life and seems to imply that a girl can have more fun if she is beautiful and simplistic. Daisy herself often tries to act such a part. She conforms to the social standard of American femininity in the 1920s in order to avoid such tension-filled issues as her undying love for Gatsby.
He had 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.
This passage occurs in Chapter 3 as part of Nick's first close examination of Gatsby's character and appearance. This description of Gatsby's smile captures both the theatrical quality of Gatsby's character and his charisma. Additionally, it encapsulates the manner in which Gatsby appears to the outside world, an image Fitzgerald slowly deconstructs as the novel progresses toward Gatsby's death in Chapter 8. One of the main facets of Gatsby's persona is that he acts out a role that he defined for himself when he was seventeen years old. His smile seems to be both an important part of the role and a result of the singular combination of hope and imagination that enables him to play it so effectively. Here, Nick describes Gatsby's rare focus—he has the ability to make anyone he smiles at feel as though he has chosen that person out of "the whole external world," reflecting that person's most optimistic conception of him- or herself.
"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.
This light is an important recurring symbol in the novel. Green is often associated with envy, which makes sense considering the green light represents his jealousy for Tom having Daisy. But the green light has most nearly come to represent the American Dream, and the futility of chasing it.
Literally, the light is located at the end of Daisy and Tom's dock. And since that is all that Gatsby can see of their house from where he is, he grows to associate that light with Daisy.
The light is often described as seeming so close, but always just out of reach, and that is also a good way of describing the American dream itself.
"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."
In this sentence, F. Scott Fitzgerald explores the juxtaposition between the pastoral and industrial elements of "The Valley of the Ashes" in order to convey the jarring sense of poverty in this area between West Egg and New York. The pertinence of using the words "valley" and "ashes" within the same phrase is that there is a sharp contrast between the word "valley", which is associated with green, rolling, hills and agriculture, symbolizing life, and "ashes", which are associated with industry, factories, and in a sense, death. This is in a way romanticizing and ignoring the suffering of those in the Valley of Ashes, by referring to it as a fantastic farm instead of the awful hell-hole it really is.
Additionally, the incredulous imagery of the "fantastic farm" and "grotesque garden" cause the reader to believe that the valley is almost fantasy and unbelievable. As "ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys" they represent the rickety, low quality houses made by the impoverished people in this area. In fact the grey ashes in this area actually represent everything in the Valley, from the houses, to the people, and everything in between. Everything in the Valley of Ashes is viewed as just as insignificant and repulsive as the ashes that cloud the air around them.
Moreover, the imagery of "men who move dimly and [are] already crumbling through the powdery air" illustrates the feebleness/incompetence of the men whose lives are withering away due to tough lives and the blindness of the wealthy that pass through the Valley of the Ashes. The men in this valley become so invisible to others that they end up just resembling the "powdery air" around them. It's like just by living in this valley they are already basically dead.
"He thinks she goes to see her sister in New York. He's so dumb he doesn't know he's alive.
Wilson proves to have a fairly good understanding of the situation, but Tom is too pretentious to grant his social inferior that recognition.
"I married him because I thought he was a gentleman . . . I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn't fit to lick my shoe."
The pathos is obvious here—Wilson supports Myrtle and cares greatly for her (as we will see when she is run over in the street like an animal), but Myrtle not only cheats on him but also despises him, and runs him down in front of her friends from the city.
Myrtle is, as a rapper might say, "feeling herself" now that she's in the city with her much wealthier lover, and some of Tom's power, privilege, and arrogance has trickled down to her.
The psychology is complex here; despising Wilson may be Myrtle's way of dealing with the guilt she must feel in betraying him (though we never see her treat Wilson with any affection). She is also in the tricky position of explaining why she married someone so far beneath her; her answer seems to be that she was tricked.
"Breeding"—though a common way to talk about class position and social background—recalls Tom's elaborate biological theories about the fitness and inferiority of different races.
"He borrowed somebody's best suit to get married in, and never told me about it, and the man came after it one day when he was out . . . I gave it to him and then I lay down and cried . . . all afternoon."
Myrtle realizes her husband isn't 'good enough for her' when she finds out he was wearing a borrowed suit.
This connects with her description of her first encounter with Tom later in this chapter. There, too, she is focused exclusively on his clothing. Myrtle's judgments about men are utterly superficial and materialistic.
"I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others — young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life."
This paragraph is key to keep in mind while reading the rest of the book. This seems to be a very effective technique that Fitzgerald used in order to save time by only telling the events of significance in the story. Using this paragraph, he eliminates periods in the story where the characters are idle and not busy. Also, it gives perspective as to the fact that while Nick Carraway is working or doing other daily activities, the other characters are also probably working or doing business in some fashion. This paragraph is also important to keep in mind because it lets the reader know that being rich in New York is not always fancy dinner parties or just hanging out in mansions all day.
"Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known."
This sentence could be read as having the exact opposite effect from what Nick intended. Despite half-heartedly courting Jordan while continuing to write love letters home (thus effectively deceiving both girls), he declares himself to be an honest man.
Although Nick in many ways is simply a prism through which we view Gatsby, here Fitzgerald reminds us he is a character proper, and thus we must keep in mind that his witnessing of events is subjective.
"'A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: 'There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.'"
Nick is saying that everyone falls into one of these categories.The pursued are men like Gatsby who everyone is after. Jordan would also fall into this category. The pursuing are people who are always chasing something wether it be a person or a goal. Gatsby is pursuing Daisy, Nick is pursuing Jordan and Gatsby. The busy are always doing something like Tom and Jordan. The tired are barely ever doing anything like Daisy or sometimes Nick. Nick believes that these categories are true and based on the people he knows they are.
What image does the author use to describe Jordan Baker? What does it mean?
Fitzgerald presents several images to describe Jordan. In Chapter 1, Nick views her as someone trying to delicately balance an object on her chin and who walks with her shoulders back and spine erect "like a young cadet." Both of these images cause the reader to see Jordan as a cardboard figure who outwardly walks the "fine line" of Old Money society, but whom Nick hopes is not as shallow or "precarious" as she appears to be.
Jordan's name is also symbolic. Her first and last names are fittingly the names of cars during the Roaring 20s. Jordan uses automobiles carelessly just like the rest of the rich, and so she--like the cars--represents Old Money society smashing up the other "unfortunate" humans who get in their way.
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