The Great Gatsby I Summary, Context, Reception, & Analysis

The Great Gatsby, third novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1925 by Charles Scribner’s Sons. The novel is set on Jazz Age New York The novel tells the tragic tale about Jay Gatsby, an entrepreneur who has made a fortune, and his quest to find Daisy Buchanan, a wealthy young woman who he fell in love with in his early years. 

The novel was not a success upon its release, but the novel is now considered to be a masterpiece of American literature and has been referred to as”the” Great American Novel.The Great Gatsby Leonardo DiCaprio (left) as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan (centre) as Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby (2013) Directed by Baz Luhrmann. (c) 2013 Warner Brothers

Summary of the plot

The story is told in the voice of Nick Carraway, an Yale University graduate from the Midwest who relocated into New York after World War I to pursue the bonds industry as a career. 

He describes the events of the summer that he was in East the following year, and retells his tale through the use of flashbacks which are not always in chronological sequence.BRITANNICA QUIZThe Literary World (Famous Novels)What do you know about the tales and writers of the classics you enjoy starting from Jane Eyre to Brave New World?

The spring of 1922 Nick is able to purchase a home in the fictional town of West Egg on Long Island which is where he is living in the massive houses of the new wealthy. 

On the other side of the water, in the more sophisticated town of East Egg live his cousin Daisy as well as her brutal extravagantly rich spouse Tom Buchanan. In the early summer, Nick visits their house for dinner which is also where he gets to know Jordan Baker, a friend of Daisy’s as well as a renowned golfer, who informs the young man the truth about Tom has a girlfriend located in New York City. 

In a private discussion, Daisy confesses to Nick that she’s had a bad time. When he returns to his home located in West Egg, he catches the sight of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby, standing in the darkness, solitary as he extends his arms towards a glowing green light across the bay to the left at the end of Tom as well as Daisy’s dock.

The first week of July Tom presents Nick to his lover, Myrtle Wilson, who lives with her solitary husband George Wilson in what Nick refers to as “a valley of ashes” A bleak industrial area ruled by the bespectacled gaze of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, which gaze down from an advertising billboard. 

After meeting her at the garage that George is employed as repairman The three travel for a visit to Tom and Myrtle’s home in Manhattan. They are with Myrtle’s sister, as well as several other friends who live close by, and the night ends with massive drunkenness, and Tom hitting Myrtle to the head after she picks Daisy to her. Daisy. Nick awakes in the train station in the morning following the night.

As summer gets underway, Nick grows accustomed to the lights and noises of parties with dazzling lights that take place at his house neighbour’s which is where celebrities and the newly wealthy turn into the evenings on Saturdays to take advantage of Gatsby’s fully-stocked bar and full-on jazz band. Nick is invited to attend one of those events when specifically asked by Gatsby and is greeted by Jordan and with whom he is able to spend the majority of the evening. 

He is astonished by the lack of the host, and also the feeling that all his guests be skeptics about the past of Gatsby. But, Nick meets him at last in a intimate encounter at the end of the night, when the person sitting next to him claims to be Gatsby. Gatsby disappears , and then asks to talk to Jordan privately. Jordan is astonished by what he’s told her, however she is incapable of telling Nick the details of what she heard.

Nick starts to see Jordan Baker as the summer progresses, and he develops a relationship with Gatsby. In late July, when they’re driving to Manhattan in search of lunch Gatsby attempts to debunk the myths about himself and informs Nick that he’s the son of extremely wealthy people, all of whom are dead, and that he’s an Oxford man as well as a War hero.

Nick is skeptical of this. While eating lunch, Gatsby’s business associate Meyer Wolfsheim, the man who helped to fix for the World Series in 1919 (based on an actual actual person and the actual historical event from Fitzgerald’s time). 

After tea, Jordan Baker tells Nick the shocking thing Gatsby had revealed to her at a private night out: Gatsby had known Nick’s cousin Daisy just five years prior in Louisville and had been in love, but the two separated for war. Later, she was married Tom Buchanan. Gatsby purchased his house in West Egg so he could be just across the river from her.

At Gatsby’s suggestion, Nick is willing to host Daisy to his house so that Gatsby will meet her. In a couple of days, Nick invites them both for tea. Daisy is stunned to see Gatsby after almost five years.

The initial meeting is uncomfortable but then Nick leaves for a half-hour to allow both of them privacy. When Nick returns, they appear completely at peace, Gatsby glowing with happiness , and Daisy crying. Then they walk next door to Gatsby’s huge home and Gatsby showcases the impressive spaces to Daisy.

As the years progress, Tom becomes aware of Daisy’s ties to Gatsby. Not liking it, he is invited to Gatsby’s party together with his spouse. It becomes apparent that Daisy dislikes the event and is disgusted by the shadiness of the young-money crowd in West Egg. 

Tom thinks Gatsby has a habit of boot-smoking and he claims it. He expresses his disappointment to Nick after the event has ended, Gatsby explains that he wishes for Daisy to confess to Tom she has never loved her and then to marry him as if the years never come to an end.

Gatsby’s wild nights end after the wild parties end, and Daisy is taken to Gatsby’s home in the afternoons. In the midst of a scorching heat day towards the close of season, Nick arrives for lunch at the Buchanans house. Gatsby and Jordan are also invited. 

At the table, Daisy gives Gatsby an acknowledgement that is clear of her affection for him and when Tom is aware of this, he demands they go into the town. Daisy and Gatsby depart in Tom’s blue car, and Tom is driving Jordan along with Nick in Gatsby’s gaudy yellow car. While driving, Tom stops for gas at George Wilson’s garage in the valley of ashes and Wilson says to Tom that he plans to move west along with Myrtle once the funds are raised. 

The news shocks Tom quite a bit and he heads towards Manhattan while catching the speed of Daisy Gatsby and Daisy. Gatsby. The entire party is in a restaurant at the Plaza Hotel, hot and out of sorts. While they prepare drinking mint juleps to cool down, Tom confronts Gatsby directly about their relationship Daisy. Daisy is trying to soothe them, however, Gatsby claims that Daisy and the two have always been in love, and that she’s never been in love with Tom. 

As the argument escalates, and Daisy wants to divorce the man she loves, Tom reveals what he discovered through an investigation into Gatsby’s affair–that the man had made his cash by selling illegal alcoholic beverages through drugstores located in Chicago along with Wolfsheim in the years following Prohibition regulations came into force. Gatsby attempts to hide his involvement however Daisy has lost her tenacity and his cause appears to be hopeless.

As they walk out of at the Plaza, Nick realizes that it’s his birthday.

Gatsby and Daisy depart together in Gatsby’s car together with Daisy driving. The road is a collision and killed Myrtle who, following having an fierce dispute with her husband, fled into the street towards Gatsby’s vehicle, believing that it’s Tom. In a state of fear, Daisy continues driving, however, the car is observed by the witnesses. They are slowed down by a car.

Tom is forced to stop his car when there is a disturbance in the road. He is shocked and devastated when he sees bodies of his ex-girlfriend lying on a table in Wilson’s garage. Wilson dismissively tells him that there was an orange vehicle that struck her, but Tom insists that it was not his and continues toward East Egg in tears. At the Buchanans the house they live in located in East Egg, Nick finds Gatsby hiding in the garden. He learns the truth that it was Daisy who drove the car but Gatsby insists that he’ll claim that it was him if his car is located. He states that he will be waiting at the door of Daisy’s home in the event that Tom does something to Daisy.

The next day Nick is taken to Gatsby’s residence, and is depressed and has returned. Nick suggests that he go away, fearing that his car could be found. He is hesitant to leave, and in the evening, the next night, he shares with Nick the truth about his life and how he came from a humble farming family and had been in love with Daisy in Louisville during his time in the military, however the poor man was not able to get married at the time. He accumulated his wealth only after the conflict (by bootlegging, as Tom found out).

Then, reluctantly, Nick leaves for work while Gatsby remains waiting for a phone call from Daisy. In the afternoon, George Wilson arrives in East Egg, where Tom tells him Gatsby was the one who killed his wife. Gatsby the one who killed her wife. Wilson arrives at Gatsby’s home, and discovers Gatsby in his swimming pool. 

Wilson is shot by Gatsby before committing suicide. Afterward , the Buchanans quit Long Island. They don’t provide any forwarding addresses. Nick is the one who arranges Gatsby’s funeral even though only two people are present and one of them is Gatsby’s dad. Nick goes back to the Midwest and is disgruntled with his living of the East.

Contextual and reception

It is set during”the Jazz Age (a term popularized by Fitzgerald) The Jazz Age, also known as in the Roaring Twenties, The Great Gatsby clearly depicts the historical period that was the boom in economics of postwar America and the new music scene, the new jazz music, and the free-flowing illicit alcohol. 

According to Fitzgerald later wrote in an essay on the period the time could be described as “a whole race going hedonistic, deciding on pleasure.” The extravagant society that was the culture of West Egg is a reflection of the prosperity that could be achieved during Prohibition and the era of illegal strategies which involved the black market selling of alcohol abound. 

These criminal enterprises were the reason for Gatsby’s wealth and fund his outrageous celebrations, which are inspired by the parties Fitzgerald himself was a part of during his time at Long Island in the early 1920s. In fact, the racial tensions of the time are evident in the story; Tom’s speech about The Rise of the Colored Empires–a reference to a book that was published in 1920 by American Political scientist Lothrop Stoddard towards the growing Eugenics movements throughout the United States during the early 20th century.

Fitzgerald completed The Great Gatsby in the beginning of 1925 when living in France The novel was published in 1925, and Scribner’s published the novel in April of that same year. Fitzgerald was a bit choosy in selecting the right title, experimenting around with trimalchio and under the Red White, Blue and as well as others.

He was never completely satisfied by the name The Great Gatsby and under it was published. The illustration of dust jackets was ordered from Fitzgerald’s editor Maxwell Perkins seven months prior to when he came into possession of the final manuscript. The design was created by Francis Cugat, a Spanish-born artist who created Hollywood film posters.

The design shows women’s eyes who is hanging above the carnival lights of Coney Island. The artwork was adored by Fitzgerald and he even claimed in an email to Perkins that the design was written in the book, although whether the reference is towards the gaze of Doctor Eckleburg or some other reason is not clear. Cugat’s work is considered to be one of the more famous and well-known illustrations of literature jackets within American writing.

Although Fitzgerald believed The Great Gatsby to be his greatest accomplishment when it was first released The book was not an immediate commercial or critical success when it was published. There were mixed reviews as well as the initial 20,000 copies that were printed in its initial printing sold slow. 

The novel was published a second time in Fitzgerald’s lifetime and there were copies left unsold from the second printing at the time of his death in 1940. The novel was discovered after a couple of years and experienced an explosive rise in popularity during the 1950s. Soon, it was an essential text in high school education. It remains among Scribner’s most popular books and is widely regarded as a masterpiece in American fiction. 

There have been a number of films based on the book, including one produced by Jack Clayton in 1974, with Robert Redford as Gatsby, and a 2013 version directed by Baz Luhrmann that starred Leonardo DiCaprio.The Great Gatsby Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby (1974) Directed by Jack Clayton. (c) 1974 Paramount Pictures. The rights are reserved by Paramount Pictures.


Most importantly, The Great Gatsby has been interpreted as a scathing critique of what is known as the American Dream. It is a profound rags-to riches story that follows a young man who comes from a humble farming background who has risen to a wealth of awe-inspiring proportions. 

Jay Gatsby is someone who was once a poor man, but currently entertains wealthy and famous people at his sprawling home located on Long Island. But, while Gatsby’s wealth might be comparable to Tom Buchanan’s, he’s not able to join his “distinguished secret society” of the wealthy born. His attempts to impress Daisy Buchanan, a woman born into a family that is well-established and part belonging to that of American elite, is met with catastrophe and his own death. 

The tension of “new money” and “old money” is illustrated in the novel by the stark contrast in West Egg and East Egg. West Egg is portrayed as an unruly, reckless community with a sexy, brash society that “chafed under the old euphemisms,” packed with people who have earned their money in a time of extreme materialism. East Egg,

in contrast is a refined and sophisticated society that is populated by the American “staid nobility,” those who have been heirs to their wealth but who look down at the savagery in West Egg. At the end of the day, it’s East Egg which could be considered to be the winner in the sense that, While Gatsby is killed and his sexy party is wiped out, Tom and Daisy are safe from the horrible incidents of summer.

The Great Gatsby is a memorable novel due to the rich symbolism which underpins the story. In the entire novel, the light at the end of the dock of Daisy is a constant image that calls to Gatsby’s ambition. It’s a symbol of “the orgastic future” he is so fervently devoted and whose arms are stretched out when Nick first meets Gatsby. 

This “extraordinary gift for hope” that Nick is so enthralled by in Gatsby as well as the “heightened sensitivity to the promises of life.” When Daisy is in Gatsby’s grasp but Gatsby’s “colossal significance” of the green light fades away. In the end the green light represents an unattainable dream and one that Nick comprehends in general terms near the end of the novel.

It’s an unrealized future but that we constantly strive to reach. Nick is comparing it to the hopes early settlers held in the hope that was The New World. Gatsby’s fantasy fails, after which he focuses his hopes on a real item, Daisy. The once-indefinite dream is now only attainable in the real world and is then a victim of its depravity.

The valley of ashes –an industrial wasteland within West Egg and Manhattan–serves as an antithesis to the bright future that is promised with the promise of green lights. It serves as a dump site for the garbage from nearby manufacturing facilities, the valley can be seen as a result of the postwar boom in economic growth, the dark truth of the consumer culture that supports wealthy people such as Gatsby. 

In this valley are people similar to George Wilson who are “already crumbling.” They are the people who are without hope, all while supporting the excesses of an economy that is thriving. In particular, Gatsby doesn’t ever escape the ashes of the economy that brought him up It was George Wilson who comes to shoot Gatsby.

He is being described in the book as the “ashen” figure the moment prior to shooting Gatsby. In the ash-filled valley look out the bespectacled eyes doctor T.J. Eckleburg, which are displayed on the billboard advertising of an Oculist. They are like an actual moral conscience in the morally empty society in The Great Gatsby and to George Wilson they are the eyes of God. They are believed to “brood” and “[keep] their vigil” over the valley. They are the ones who witness the most sinister scenes of the story:

Tom and Myrtle’s affair as well as Myrtle’s demise. that valley in itself which is full of American’s industrial waste as well as the struggling poor. But, ultimately they’re a product of the materialism that was created by Dr. Eckleburg in order to “fatten his practice.” In their midst is another person seeking to become rich. Their purpose as a divine person who judges and watches is therefore essentially null and the novel is without any moral mooring.

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