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The Great Gatsby Summary

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Rachel Horan

on 1 March 2016

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Transcript of The Great Gatsby Summary

The story begins with Nick Carraway moving to New York in the summer of 1922. He moves in to a cheap house in the West Egg. Nick knows nothing of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby, except that he throws extravagant parties.
Nick drives over to the East Egg to have dinner with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan and her husband, Tom. Daisy's friend, Jordan Baker is there as well. Tom tries to get evryone to read his racist book about white supremacy and everyone just humors him.
In the middle of dinner, Tom gets a call and leaves the room. Daisy goes after him. Jordon informs Nick it is from Tom's lover, Mrytle. After the dinner party, Daisy and Tom tell Nick he should take a love interest in Jordan. Once Nick arrives home, he sees Jay Gatsby for the first time. Jay is looking out at the water from his garden.
While taking the commuter train between West Egg and New York, Tom forces Nick to get off at a stop before the city. At the stop is Tom's lover, Mrytle. Along with her dull husband, George Wilson. Tom makes fun of George and Mrytle leaves with Tom and Nick to go to New York City. They go to a Morningside Apartment Tom kept to hide their affair. A party is thrown with Nick, Tom, Mrytle, Mrytle's sister and a couple from downstairs. Mrytle's sister says she heard rumors that Jay Gatsby is related to Kaiser Wilhelm.
Nick doesn't like the Mckee's from downstairs. The whole group drinks a lot and it is Nick's second time being drunk. Nick realizes he hates the obnoxious behavior of the group and tries to leave. Although he likes the glamour of it all. When Mrytle, having drank too much liquor, begins to speak about Daisy, Tom tells her not to mention his wife. When she says she can talk about whatever she wants, Tom breaks her nose and the party stops. Nick then takes the train back to Long Island.
Nick is brought an invitation by Gatsby's chaffeur to attend a party Jay is throwing. Gatsby is known for the extravagant parties that he throws. When Nick arrives he sees guests spreading rumors about Jay. No one knows how he came into his fortune. They suggest he is a spy, graduate or possibly a killer. The party lives up to its reputation with flowing champagne, lots of food and his swimming pool. Nick meets up with Jordan and they try to find Jay Gatsby. They sit at a table with someone Nick recognizes. It turns out the Jay Gatsby and Nick served in the same division in the war. Jay is very foraml and calls everyone "old sport".
Nick notices that Gatsby doesn't drink or socialize with his guests. He stays by himself and simply watches everyone. Around two in the morning a butler tells Jordan that Jay wants to speak with her. Jordan comes back saying she has heard something extraordinary. Nick says goodbye to Gatsby and walks home. Nick doesn't just attend parties. He works in New York City and then begins to date Jordan Baker. He learns that Jordan cheats in her golf tournaments but he is still attracted to her even if he is a good person.
Nick has lunch with Gatsby in New York City. Gatsby tells the story of his life and says his wealth comes from his dead parents. He tells a lavish story of his education and accomplishments. Nick doesn't believe him so Jay gives him picture proof. While Jay is driving, they are pulled over for speeding but Jay flashes a white and the policeman leaves. Gatsby introduces Nick to Meyer Wolfshiem. Meyer is shady and leads Nick to believe Gatsby's wealth was gained illegally. Nick then meets Jordan Baker and she tells him of her meeting with Jay. Apparently, Jay is in love with Daisy Buchanan after meeting in a town in Kentucky during the war.
Jay and Daisy met when Jay was in the army. They fell in love but Daisy chose to marry Tom anyway. On her wedding night, Daisy drank a lot after getting a letter from Jay. And while Tom has cheated on Daisy, she has stayed faithful. Jordan tells Nick that Jay bought a mansion on the West Egg to get close to her. Nick realizes that Jay stares out on the water towards Daisy's dock. Gatsby asked Jordan to convince Nick to arrange a meeting between Daisy and Jay. Without Daisy knowing, Gatsby wants to come for tea at Nick’s house surprising her and forcing her to see him.
That night, Nick comes home from the city after a date with Jordan. He is surprised to see Gatsby’s mansion lit up brightly, but it seems to be unoccupied, as the house is totally silent. As Nick walks home, Gatsby approaches Nick. Gatsby tries to keep Nick happy by offering him things like trips and money. Nick realizes that Gatsby is nervous because he wants Nick to agree to his plan of inviting Daisy over for tea. Nick tells Gatsby that he will help him with the plan. Gatsby immediately offers him rewards. Nick is slightly offended that Gatsby wants to pay him for arranging the meeting with Daisy and refuses Gatsby’s offers, but he still agrees to call Daisy and invite her to his house.
It rains the day that Jay and Daisy are supposed to meet at Nick's. Jay is very nervous that things won't be the same as they were in Kentucky. Daisy arrives first and then Jay does. At first it is really awkward between them. But after Jay knocks over Nick's clock accidentally, Nick decides the two should be alone. He comes back to find them together happy and glowing. The rain has stopped so they go over to Jay's house. While there, Jay tells Daisy about how he stared at her dock all those nights. Nick doesn't know if Daisy can live up to the high expectations Jay has set. Jay invites a pianist over and they listen to music.Realizing he has been forgotten, Nick leaves Jay's house.
While rumors are still spread about Gatsby's past are spread around, his true story is stated. Born James Gatz, he was a college drop out who began work in Lake Superior. He swam out to a yacht to warn the owner of an incoming storm. The owner, Dan Cody, thanks him and hires him as an assistant. Jay is responsible for stopping Dan from drinking too much. Jay vows to never drink after seeing its bad effects. It is here Jay falls in love with the rich lifestyle. When Dan Cody dies, he leaves Jay $25,000 but Dan's mistress doesn't let Jay take it. Jay becomes determined to build himself a wealthy lifestyle.
Nick hasn't seen Daisy or Jay since their reunion at his house. When he goes to visit Jay, he finds Tom Buchanan there with Mr. and Mrs. Sloane. Gatsby tells Tom that he knows Daisy, keeping their affair secret. Jay invites them for dinner but they refuse. Insincerely, they offer Jay to eat with them and he accepts. Tom is suspicious but isn't aware of Daisy and Jay's love affair. Daisy and Tom go to a party at Jay's house and Tom keeps a close eye on Daisy. Nick notices the party isn't as fun as usual and even Daisy is having a bad time. Tom upsets her by telling her that Gatsby’s fortune comes from bootlegging. She angrily says that Gatsby’s wealth comes from a chain of drugstores that he owns.
After Daisy and Tom leave the party, Jay finds Nick. Jay is upset that Daisy had a bad time. He just wants things to be like they were in Kentucky. Nick tells him he cannot recreate the past. Gatsby believes his money can please Daisy and convince her to leave her husband, Tom. Following this, Jay cancels his parties because they were only a way for him to get closer to Daisy. He fires his servants and replaces them with shady people like Meyer Wolfsheim. Nick takes the train to East Egg for lunch at Tom and Daisy's. He finds Gatsby and Jordan Baker there as well. Gatsby sees Daisy's child, he is stunned and can hardly believe that the child is real.
Daisy seems uninterested in her child. During the awkward afternoon, Gatsby and Daisy cannot hide their love for one another. Complaining of her boredom, Daisy asks Gatsby if he wants to go into the city. Gatsby stares at her lovingly, and Tom knows that they have feelings for each other. Tom says they should all go to New York City. Along the way, they stop at George Wilson's garage and learn that George knows of his wife's affair but not who she was having an affair with. Tom begins his confrontation of Gatsby by accusing him of lying about his education and how he got his money from a bootlegging operation.
Daisy, who was in love with Gatsby earlier in the afternoon, feels herself moving closer and closer to Tom as she observes the quarrel. Realizing he has bested Gatsby, Tom sends Daisy back to Long Island with Gatsby to prove Gatsby’s inability to hurt him. As the row quiets down, Nick realizes that it is his thirtieth birthday. Driving back to Long Island, Nick, Tom, and Jordan discover a frightening scene on the border of the valley of ashes. Someone has been fatally hit by an automobile. A man tells them that Myrtle was the victim—a car coming from New York City hit her and sped away. Nick realizes that Myrtle must have been hit by Gatsby and Daisy. Tom assumes that Gatsby was the driver.
Nick finds Gatsby, who explains that Daisy was driving, but that he is going to take the blame for the accident. Gatsby asks Nick to check on Daisy. Nick finds Daisy and Tom happy having worked out their differences. Jay waits for Daisy to come see him but she doesn't. Nick suggests that Gatsby forget about Daisy and leave Long Island, but Gatsby refuses to consider leaving Daisy behind. Gatsby tells Nick about dating Daisy in Louisville in 1917. He lied about his background to seem more worthy for her, but her parents perferred Tom. So she married him. Gatsby's gardener says he is going to drain the pool but Gatsby decides he will go swimming even though he has never used the pool.
Nick has stayed so long talking to Gatsby that he is late for work. He finally says goodbye to Gatsby. As he walks away, he turns back and shouts that Gatsby is worth more than the Buchanans and all of their friends. Nick misses a date with Jordan and doesn't feel like working. Then George Wilson leaps to the conclusion that whoever killed Mrytle must have been her lover. He looks for Tom but knows it musn't have been him because Toom arrived after the accident. George then goes to Gatsby's house to find him floating on a pool bed in the water. George shoots Jay, killing him, and then shoots himself.
Nick finds Jay Gatsby dead in his pool and tries to imagine his last thoughts. He pictures Jay thinking of his lonely life without Daisy. Two years late, Nick writes about the funeral. Nick thought Jay wouldn't wamt to go through it alone. But none of Jay's "friends" come. Only his servants and his father Henry. Henry tells Nick about Jay's early life. Nick became sick of the empty life of the east and moves west again. He breaks up with Jordan, who was apparently engaged already. He meets Tom he admits that he was the one that told George Gatsby was driving the car. Tom says Jay deserved to die.
Nick realizes that Daisy and Tom are shallow people that only care for their money that keeps them from any consequences of their actions. Nick recalls the warmth of the West and how the East has changed his character for the worse. Before leaving for the West, Nick lays in Jay's backyard. He looks up and thinks about how America was once the dream for explorers as Daisy was Jay's dream. Nick thinks that anyone will do anything that will put them closer to their ultimate goal.
The End
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