Gatsby Chapter 7 Summary

Chapter Summaries from Cliffs Notes

As the curiosity surrounding Gatsby peaks, the routine Saturday parties abruptly cease. When Gatsby comes, at Daisy's request, to invite him to lunch at her house the next day, Nick learns that Gatsby replaced the servants with "some people Wolfshiem wanted to do something for" — he feared they would leak information about he and Daisy. The day, it turns out, is unbearably hot, making all the participants in the luncheon — Daisy, Gatsby, Nick, Jordan, and Tom — even more uncomfortable than expected. While all five are at the Buchanans' house, Tom leaves the room to speak with his mistress on the phone and Daisy boldly kisses Gatsby, declaring her love for him. Later, after Daisy suggests they go to town, Tom witnesses a soft glance that passes between Daisy and Gatsby and can no longer deny the two of them are having an affair.

Enraged by what he has just learned, Tom agrees they should go to the city. He retrieves a bottle of whiskey and the group starts out — Tom, Jordan, and Nick driving Gatsby's car, and Gatsby and Daisy in Tom's. Tom, it turns out, has been suspicious of Gatsby all along and has had him investigated. Noticing the car is low on gas, Tom pulls into Wilson's station where he finds Wilson visibly unwell. Wilson abruptly announces he and Myrtle will be headed West shortly because he has just learned of her secret life, although the identity of Myrtle's lover is yet unknown to him. Tom, doubly enraged at the potential loss of his mistress and his wife, malevolently questions Gatsby after the group assembles at the Plaza Hotel. He confronts Gatsby about his love for Daisy. Gatsby, refusing to be intimidated, tells Tom "Your wife doesn't love you . . . She's never loved you. She loves me." Tom, in disbelief, turns to Daisy for confirmation. Daisy, however, cannot honestly admit she never loved Tom. Gatsby, somewhat shaken by the scene unfolding before him — the collapse of his carefully constructed dream — tries another tactic. He declares: "Daisy's leaving you." Tom assures him Daisy will never leave him for a bootlegger. Tom orders Daisy and Gatsby to head home (in Gatsby's own car this time). Tom, Jordan, and Nick follow in Tom's car.

The narration now skips to George Wilson who has been found ill by his neighbor, Michaelis. Wilson explains he has Myrtle locked inside and she will remain so until they leave in two days' time. Michaelis, astonished, heads back to his restaurant. He returns a few hours later, hears Myrtle's voice, and then sees her break away from her husband and rush into the road. As she enters the highway Myrtle is struck by a passing car that fails to stop, continuing its route out of the city. Nick, Tom, and Jordan arrive on the scene shortly. Excited by the thought of something going on, Tom pulls over to investigate. He is grief-stricken to find Myrtle's lifeless body lying on a worktable. Tom learns the car that struck Myrtle matches Gatsby's in description. Tom, visibly upset by the day's events, can only whimper of his anger toward the man he already hates.

Returning to East Egg, Tom invites Nick inside to wait for a cab to take him home. Nick, seeing clearly the moral and spiritual corruption of Tom, Daisy, and the whole society they represent, declines. Outside the Buchanans', Nick bumps into Gatsby who asks if there was trouble on the road. Nick recounts what he has seen. After asking a few questions, Nick learns Daisy, not Gatsby, was driving at the time. Gatsby, however, in true chivalric fashion, says he'll take the blame. The chapter ends with Gatsby, the paragon of chivalry and lost dreams, remaining on vigil outside Daisy's house, in case she needs assistance dealing with Tom, while Nick heads back to West Egg.