Gatsby Chapter 5 Summary

Chapter Summaries from Cliffs Notes

When Nick returns home to West Egg that evening, he finds Gatsby's house lit top to bottom with no party in sight, and Gatsby walking over to see him. Nick assures Gatsby that he will phone Daisy the next day and invite her to tea. Gatsby, knowing Nick doesn't make much money, offers to arrange for him to "pick up a nice bit of money." Nick, however, declines.

The next day, Nick phones Daisy and extends his invitation with the stipulation "Don't bring Tom." She accepts his invitation, agreeing on a day. The agreed upon day arrives and Gatsby, wanting everything to be perfect, sends a man to cut Nick's grass and, later, has flowers delivered. Arriving an hour before Daisy, Gatsby is nervous and, for the first time in the novel, a little unsure of himself. At the appointed time, Daisy arrives. Nick ushers Daisy into the house to find that Gatsby has disappeared, only to reemerge at the front door, looking pale and tragic. Gatsby ushers himself into the living room and joins Daisy. The reunion is initially stilted and unnaturally polite, leaving all three people feeling somewhat awkward, but amid the tea preparations, a greater sense of ease overtakes the group. Excusing himself, Nick tries to give Gatsby and Daisy some privacy, but Gatsby, as nervous as a young man, follows him out. Nick sends Gatsby back in to Daisy, while he himself sneaks out the back and wanders around the house for half an hour.

Upon his return, Nick finds Gatsby changed entirely. He has moved from the embarrassment of his initial appearance to unbounded delight, radiating a newfound sense of well-being. Daisy, too, reflects an "unexpected joy" through her voice. At Gatsby's request, the three move from Nick's little house to Gatsby's mansion. Daisy, just as Gatsby had intended, is delighted by the magnificence of his estate. Together they wander from room to room, each one tastefully and carefully decorated to create a particular ambiance. Along the way they meet Klipspringer, "the boarder," who was busy doing exercises as if he hadn't a care in the world. At the house, Gatsby passes into yet a third phase: wonder at Daisy's presence in his house. Daisy, at seeing Gatsby's array of shirts, buries her head in them weeping at their beauty. By the end of the afternoon, Gatsby has shown Daisy all the material stability he possesses, yet Nick hints that perhaps Daisy doesn't measure up — not because of a shortcoming on her part, but because of the magnitude of the dream that Gatsby has built over the past five years. At chapter's end, Nick departs, leaving Gatsby and Daisy alone together.