The Great Gatsby
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald
Contributed by Karim Chandra
Chapter 1

Nick Caraway, who is twenty-nine-years old reflects upon the different experiences he has had in the past. He had graduated from Yale University and served in the military. Nick was currently contemplating about leaving the Midwest and go, New York. He goes ahead with his plan and gets a job as a bondsman. He finds a home in West Egg within the Long Island community. His rented house is next to that of Jay Gatsby. Jay Gatsby is a mysteriously wealthy man. A business socialite, Daisy Buchanan is Nick’s cousin. Her home is across the bay in East Egg and lives with her husband, Tom Buchanan. Soon after moving into the neighborhood, the Buchanan’s invite Nick to their home for dinner. It is at the place where he happens to meet Jordan Baker. Jordan Baker plays golf at a professional level. She is highly cynical and ready to lie about anything to get what she is after around. At the dinner table, the four discuss on some minor and light issues. Tom receives a phone call and excuses himself to take it in their absence. While he is away from them, Jordan tells the others that Tom must be talking to his mistress. The mistress is a woman who lives in New York, and they are not keen to hide the affair.

While Nick is returning to his house, he happens to see his neighbor, Jay Gatsby coming out of his elegant mansion. Nick watches Jay Gatsby walk as he resists to call him out. He is both trembling and confused while he watches. His hands are outstretched, and they reach out to the green light that emanates from across the bay.


Nick has quickly shown the audience that he is honest as a narrator. He is, therefore, keen on providing an accurate account of what happens in the best way that he can. He happens to follow the advice of his father regarding the need to shy away from judging other people. His father told him that other people had not experienced the advantages that Nick had gone through. The situation of Nick, therefore, shows that he is a highly non-judgmental person and holds a very high moral standard. He is also able to look at the world with a perfect lens Through the story that he showcases; the audience has a chance to see some of the actions and practices that may not be considered to be moral and desirable. The audience is also able to deduce some level of superficiality and deception that is borne by some of the characters presented in the novel.

Nick is well educated and comes from an affluent background. His situation, therefore, accords him the chance to fit into different social constructs. He, therefore, can interact with people who belong to both the old money and the new money. His major focus is generally to establish some of the ways through which he could be friendly to others and interact more with them to learn what he could in the process. The old money people are found in the East Egg while the new money individuals are located in the West Egg. The residents who are located in the East Egg have been endowed with a wide lot of privileges for long. They come from generations that have been enjoying great wealth for long. For the most part, people in the neighborhood have a little regard towards those who live in the West Egg. They deem them as the new money who do not deserve being respected. One of the people who live in the East Egg is Tom Buchanan.

People on the West Egg are not used to money and wealth. An instance is Jay Gatsby, who has acquired his money recently and is only keen on establishing some of the ways through which he could have a lot of fun from the great wealth that he has amassed himself. However, since the people at the West Egg are not yet used to the huge supply of wealth that they now possess, it makes them highly emotionally susceptible. They are fully aware that losing money could serve the huge blow and are, therefore, not ready to go through an ordeal that could turn out to be quite painful towards them. Nick acts as a perfect narrator. He, therefore, has a chance to detail about the two groups located in the East and West Egg without showing any form of bias.

At the dinner in the East Egg, the audience can learn a lot about the Buchanans. One of the concepts that the audience learns is that the Buchanans are largely superficial. Fitzgerald explains thoroughly to show the high level of luxury that the people at East Egg enjoy. For instance, the details that they live in a grand mansion. They also have a butler, stables, a polisher, and other servants. In the initial description of women, as showcased in the play, it terms them as balloons. Thus, it only aims to show that women as represented in the novel only appear to “float” through life. The situation is, therefore, a clear representation of the characters that bear the characteristic of old money.

Both Jordan and Daisy appear to be flighty and foolish. Tom, on the other hand, appears to have strong opinions and is largely arrogant. He is also insensitive and, therefore, accords little thought, if any, in the discussions that he happens to put forth. He also has strong expectations to have his way, especially where it relates to dealing with women. While driving back to his home, Nick is both disgusted and confused in what he learns about the Buchanans. He is not impressed with the actions they take and the elements that define their lives. 

The green light that Gatsby happens to come close to serves a strong symbol. Green, in literature, is normally used to represent money. Nick, eventually realizes that the green light comes from the endpoint of the Buchanan’s dock. It becomes clear that Gatsby has collected his extensive wealth in the hope that he will be in a position to win over Daisy’s love. It is a desire that is well symbolized in the scene that features Nick.

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