Free Study Guide-The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald-Book Notes |
When Nick joins Gatsby for lunch, he finds him seated with Meyer Wolfsheim, a man in his fifties who wears human molars as cuff links. During their meal, Wolfsheim broods about Rosy Rosenthal’s murder at the Metropole years before; after lunch, Gatsby tells Nick that Wolfsheim is the man who fixed the World Series in 1919. Nick, with his proper Midwestern upbringing, is shocked about everything relating to this gentleman and curious about Gatsby’s relationship to him. When Gatsby goes to make a phone call, Nick quizzes Wolfsheim, who says he has known their host for several years. He then brags on Gatsby as “a fine man of breeding,” and a handsome and perfect gentleman who is “very careful about women.” When Gatsby returns, Wolfsheim takes his leave in order to let the two younger men discuss their sports and young ladies. Gatsby then apologizes for making Nick angry earlier in the car, and Nick explains that he does not like mysteries, and he does not like requests going through Jordan Baker. Gatsby responds by saying, “ Oh, it’s nothing underhand. Miss Baker’s a great sportswoman, you know, and she’d never do anything that wasn’t right,” humorous words spoken to a man who knows that Jordan is “incurably dishonest.” As the two of them leave the restaurant, Nick spies Tom Buchanan and goes up to him and introduces Gatsby, who suddenly has “a strained, unfamiliar look of embarrassment.” Gatsby then suddenly disappears without saying good-bye, and Nick goes to meet Jordan for tea.
As they have tea in the Plaza Hotel, Jordan begins telling Nick a story about Daisy when they were both young girls back in Louisville in 1917. Daisy, at age 18, was the richest and most popular girl in town. One spring day Jordan spied her sitting in her white roadster with a handsome lieutenant, whom Daisy introduced as Jay Gatsby. Jordan thought little about the meeting except to feel pangs of jealousy over the romantic way the soldier looked at Daisy. Soon, however, rumors circulated about Daisy trying to run away to say good-bye to a soldier who was going overseas, but her family stopped her. Daisy seemed to brood for a few months, but by autumn she appeared as happy as ever. In winter, she became engaged to Tom Buchanan, a very wealthy young man from Chicago. But the night before her June wedding, Daisy got drunk and told Jordan she had changed her mind about the marriage. As Daisy cried, Jordan noticed a crumpled letter in her hand, and Daisy refused to let go of it. By the next day, the episode had passed, and Daisy married Tom Buchanan and soon began their lengthy travels. Almost immediately, Tom started to see other women, and Daisy’ misery began.
As Jordan and Nick leave the Plaza Hotel, they hear children in the park singing “The Sheik of Araby,” an appropriate song that seems to foreshadow Gatsby’s sneaking into Daisy’s life, just as the Sheik of Araby was sneaking into a tent. With this song in the background, Jordan tells Nick the most astonishing news of all. “Gatsby bought the house so Daisy would be just across the bay.” Then Jordan reveals Gatsby’s request, which Nick had expected to be something fantastic. “He wants to know if you’ll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over.” He wants to see Daisy, and he wants Daisy to see his house; but Daisy is not to know ahead of time that Gatsby will be there, for he is afraid she might choose not to come. Nick is totally amazed at the modesty of Gatsby’s small request. After five years and the purchase of a grand mansion, all he wants is to “come over some afternoon to a stranger’s garden.” The mystery fades, and the real Gatsby comes alive to Nick; his neighbor is a man with a noble dream, and he is “delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor.”
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. 09 May 2017