The Egg Times
By: Joshua Whitley
Nick Carraway, a young man from Minnesota who claims that he is the only one who knew Gatsby for who he really was, sat down with me to explain how everything when down. Nick moved to New York in the summer of 1922 to work for a bond business. He rented a house in the West Egg district of Long Island, a wealthy yet unfashionable area populated by the new rich, who are a group of people who have made their fortunes too recently to establish social connections and who are prone to garish displays of wealth. Nick’s next-door neighbor in West Egg was the mysterious man himself, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby lived in a huge mansion and through extravagant parties every Saturday night.
Nick unlike the other inhabitants of West Egg, he was educated at Yale and has social connections in East Egg, a fashionable area of Long Island home to the established upper class. Nick drove out to East Egg one evening for dinner with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom, a classmate of Nick’s at Yale. Daisy and Tom introduce Nick to Jordan Baker, a beautiful, cynical young woman with whom Nick has a romantic relationship. Nick also learns a bit about Daisy and Tom’s marriage: Jordan tells him that Tom has a lover, Myrtle Wilson, who lives in the valley of ashes. Not long after this revelation, Nick travels to New York City with Tom and Myrtle. At a vulgar, gaudy party in the apartment that Tom keeps for the affair, Myrtle begins to taunt Tom about Daisy, and Tom responded by breaking her nose.
As the summer progressed, Nick eventually got an invitation to one of Gatsby’s parties. He ran into Jordan Baker at the party, and together they meet Gatsby himself, a surprisingly young man who had an English accent, has a remarkable smile, and calls everyone “old sport” for some odd reason. Gatsby asks to speak to Jordan alone. Jordan tells Nick later more about his mysterious neighbor. Gatsby tells Jordan that he knew Daisy in Louisville in 1917 and is deeply in love with her. He spends many nights staring at the green light at the end of her dock, across the bay from his mansion. Gatsby’s extravagant lifestyle and wild parties are simply an attempt to impress Daisy. Gatsby now wants Nick to arrange a reunion between himself and Daisy, but he is afraid that Daisy will refuse to see him if she knows that he still loves her. Nick invites Daisy to have tea at his house, without telling her that Gatsby will also be there. After an initially awkward reunion, Gatsby and Daisy reestablish their connection. Their love rekindled, they begin an affair.
After a short time, Tom grows increasingly suspicious of his wife’s relationship with Gatsby. At a luncheon at the Buchanan’s house, Gatsby stares at Daisy with such undisguised passion that Tom realizes Gatsby is in love with her. Though Tom is himself involved in an affair with Myrtle, he is deeply outraged that his wife could be unfaithful to him. Tom confronts Gatsby in a suite at the Plaza Hotel. Tom asserts that he and Daisy have a history that Gatsby could never understand, and he announces to his wife that Gatsby is a criminal, and that his fortune comes from bootlegging alcohol and some other illegal activities. Daisy realizes that her allegiance is to Tom, and Tom sends her back to East Egg with Gatsby.
When Nick, Jordan, and Tom drive through the valley of ashes, however, they discover that Gatsby’s car has struck and killed Myrtle, Tom’s lover. They rush back to Long Island, where Nick learns from Gatsby that Daisy was driving the car when it struck Myrtle, however Gatsby intends to take the blame. The next day, Tom tells Myrtle’s husband, George, that Gatsby was the one driving the car. George, leapt to the conclusion that the driver of the car that killed Myrtle must have been her lover. George then finds Gatsby in the pool at his mansion and shoots him, then fatally shoots himself.
Nick staged a funeral for Gatsby, ended his relationship with Jordan, and moved back to the Midwest. Nick reflecting told me that just as Gatsby’s dream of Daisy was corrupted by money and dishonesty, the American dream of happiness and individualism has changed into the mere pursuit of wealth. Though Gatsby’s power to transform his dreams into reality is what makes him “great.”
Although Gatsby's death was a sad event in Nick's life, he reassured me that Jay Gatsby affected many people in his life and that he is missed dearly. My question for the reader is this, did Gatsby affect people in a heroic way or is he always going to be remembered as a criminal? Now that is an interesting topic.
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