Gatsby Chapter 9 Summary

Chapter Summaries from Cliffs Notes

The book's final chapter begins with the police and the paparazzi storming Gatsby's house. Nick becomes worried that he is handling Gatsby's burial arrangements, believing there must be someone closer to Gatsby who should be conducting the business at hand. When he phones Daisy to tell her of Gatsby's death, he learns Daisy and Tom have left on a trip, leaving no itinerary. Nick, with increasing frustration, feels he must "get somebody" for Gatsby. In his mind, Gatsby did not deserve to be alone. Hoping to gather Gatsby's friends, Nick sends for Meyer Wolfshiem the next day. Wolfshiem, much to Nick's dismay, sends a letter explaining he won't be involved with Gatsby's funeral. Later that afternoon when Gatsby's phone rings, Nick answers. Upon telling the speaker that Gatsby is dead, the speaker hangs up.

Three days after Gatsby dies, Nick receives a telegram from Henry C. Gatz, Gatsby's father in Minnesota. Gatz, it seems, learned of Jimmy's (Gatsby's) death through the Chicago newspaper. Gatz refuses to take the body to the Midwest, noting "Jimmy always liked it better down East." That evening, Klipspringer phones and Nick, thinking another mourner will be joining the funeral the next day, is dismayed to learn Klipspringer is only calling to inquire about his tennis shoes. The morning of the funeral, Nick forces his way into Wolfshiem's office, again hoping to convince Gatsby's closest business associate to attend the services. Wolfshiem again refuses, but discloses he did not just give Gatsby a start in business — he made Gatsby's fortune by using him in various questionable activities.

When Nick returns to Gatsby's, he finds Mr. Gatz going through his son's house, growing more proud as he takes in the possessions around him. Pulling out a copy of Hopalong Cassidy, once owned by the young Jimmy Gatz, Gatsby's father points out his young son's drive toward self-improvement by calling Nick's attention to the daily schedule penciled in the back. Shortly after, the men adjourn to the funeral. At the graveside are a few servants, the mail carrier, the minister, Nick, and Mr. Gatz. Nick is struck by the bitter injustice of Gatsby's solitary death. Despite all the people who found their way to Gatsby's parties, not one, with the exception of a man known only as "Owl Eyes," bothered to make an appearance at his funeral (and he only made it to the gate after the services ended).

Nick then moves to memories of traveling West when he came home from college. As the train moved further and further West he became more and more comfortable, as if he were returning to a special place just his own. Remembering this memory launches Nick into a discussion of the merits of the Midwest versus the vices of the East. The story is brought to a close when Nick interacts with two people from his past. First, he speaks with Jordan and, although he still feels fondly toward her, he once again coolly dismisses her. Finally, one autumn day, Nick meets Tom along Fifth Avenue. Tom, seeing Nick, makes the first move to speak. Initially Nick refuses to shake Tom's hand, upset with what Tom has come to represent. In the course of their short discussion, Nick learns Tom had a role in Gatsby's death — George Wilson worked his way to the Buchanan house in East Egg and Tom told him who owned the car that struck Myrtle. When Nick leaves, he shakes Tom's hand because he "felt suddenly as though [he] were talking to a child."

The time comes for Nick to leave West Egg and return West. On the last night, he wanders over to Gatsby's for one last visit. Strolling down to the water he is called to remember the way Gatsby's house used to be, filled with people and lavish parties. He considers Gatsby's wonder at picking out Daisy's dock in the darkness, how far Gatsby had traveled in his life, and how he always had hope in the future. In his final thought, Nick links society to the boats eternally moving against the current on the Sound.