The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is a story set that takes place in a fictional town on the gold coast of Long Island. The protagonist and narrator, Nick Carroway, recounts the events of the summer of 1922 where he met Jay Gatsby. Carroway, a Midwest native having recently graduated from college in New Haven, moves to a small cottage in West Egg, Long Island, seeking fortune as a bond salesman in New York City. After he first arrives he goes to visit his beautiful cousin Daisy Buchanan across the sound in East Egg. While there he encounters Daisy’s brutish, old money, husband Tom, and their golfer friend Ms. Jordan Baker. Nick returns home to his modest cottage and marvels at the enormous mansion next door where he spies his mysterious neighbor Gatsby standing in the dark and outstretching his arms toward the green light across the water.
One day Nick accompanies Tom for an outing in the city and discovers that he is having an affair with the local mechanic’s wife, Myrtle. Her husband, Wilson has no idea that she is cheating on him.
Nick then focuses his attention on his mysterious neighbor who invites him to one of his lavish parties. He runs into Jordan Baker at the party and then finally meets Gatsby himself, who turns out to be a gracious host but doesn’t do much socializing at the party. Nick and Gastby become friends and Nick begins to date Jordan. He accompanies Gatsby on a business meeting only to find out that Gatsby is a bootlegger and has made his fortune through illegal activities. Afterwards Nick learns from Jordan that Gatsby knows Daisy from before WWI and he is still madly in love with her. He arranges for her to come to Nick’s house so they can be reunited.
Gatsby arranges Nick’s house to be spotless and filled with extravagant items. When Daisy arrives the initial encounter is awkward but the two quickly reconnect and Gatsby delights in giving Daisy a tour of his home. Nick can tell that there is a spark between the two of them.
Nick then recounts Gatsby’s humble beginnings as the son of two poor farmers. He met millionaire Dan Cody when he was 17 and became his apprentice. He changed his name from Gatz to Gatsby and by the time Cody died five years after they met, he knew the type of man he wanted to be. He would never again acknowledge his humble beginnings and would fabricate his family history to make it seem like he had always been wealthy.
Later, in the summer Tom and Daisy attend one of Gatsby’s wild weekend parties. Tom almost catches Daisy and Gatsby sharing a moment together but is diverted. Gatsby confesses to Nick that he believes it is possible to recapture the past and that he and Daisy will be together again. Nick is shocked by his idealism. Over the summer Daisy and Gatsby’s affair becomes more obvious and they even flaunt it in front of Tom. Tom, Nick, Jordan, Daisy, and Gatsby decide to take two cars into the city and spend the afternoon at the Plaza hotel. On the way they stop at Wilson’s where he reveals that Myrtle is having an affair but he doesn’t know with whom and he plans on taking her away out west.
During their stay at the Plaza Gatsby and Tom confront each other about Daisy and Gatsby tells Tom that Daisy will be leaving him. He wants Daisy to tell Tom that she never loved him but she cannot do it. Tom knows that Daisy is too afraid for her reputation and that she won’t leave him. He has old money and has a strong family history while Gatsby is a bootlegger with new money. The group splits to go back to the city in separate cars. Daisy accidentally hits Myrtle with Gatsby’s car killing her. It is later revealed that Tom told Wilson that it was Gatsby who hit her.
That night, Gatsby and Nick stay up waiting for Daisy to come so they can run away together. She never comes, but Gatsby tells Nick all about his past and how he met Daisy and why he loves her. Nick is charmed and tells Gatsby that he is better than Daisy. Later in the day after Nick goes to work, Wilson comes to Gatsby’s house and shoots and kills him while he is in the pool. He then kills himself.
Nick tries to get everyone to come to Gatsby’s funeral. Tom and Daisy leave town without a word. None of Gatsby’s business associates or party guests attends the funeral. Gatsby’s father comes and Nick notes that he is a humble man. Gatsby is abandoned by almost everyone.
After Gatsby’s death Nick becomes disillusioned with the East and moves back to the Midwest. He leaves the reader with some last thoughts about the greatness of Gatsby’s American dream. He ends the book with the message that even though we press forward through time we are constantly drawn to the allure of the past.
Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyzing the Themes
Depth of Knowledge Questions
1. What was Gatsby's real name and why did he change it? (DOK 1, Recall)
2. Gatsby builds his enormous mansion directly across the water from Daisy's house and throws lavish parties that attracts the attention of all the wealthy elite of New York and Long Island. What does he hope to accomplish by doing this and does he succeed? (DOK 2 Cause/Effect)
3. Tom and Gatsby are both wealthy men and can provide for Daisy, yet she ultimately chooses Tom. What are the fundamental differences between Tom and Gatsby that cause Daisy to stay with Tom despite being in love with Gatsby? (DOK 3 Assess,Differentiate, Investigate, Draw Conclusions)
4. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." Analyze the quote above and determine what the author is trying to say. How does Gatsby's dream connects to the American dream? (DOK 4 Analyze, Critique, Connect)