Guide for The
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
Chapter 5 (86-102)
When Nick comes home from his date with Jordan, he finds
an eerie scene: every light is on in Gatsby's house, yet no one seems
to be there.
and the whole corner of the peninsula was blazing with light, which
fell unreal on the shrubbery and made thin elongating glints upon the
roadside wires. Turning a corner, I saw that it was Gatsby's house, lit
from tower to cellar.
At first I thought it was another party, a wild rout that had resolved
itself into "hide-and-go-seek." or "sardines-in-the-box." with all the
house thrown open to the game. But there wasn't a sound. Only wind in
the trees, which blew the wires and made the lights go off and on again
as if the house had winked into the darkness. (86)
Another spectacular Fitzgerald symbol. What do you make
In return for setting up the tea party with Daisy,
Gatsby offers Nick an
inside tip on a way to make a handsome amount of money. Nick
refuses. He considers it a tactless offer 'for services rendered'. In
retrospect, however, Nick recognizes this moment 'might have been one
of the crises of his life.' Why was Nick in such danger?
|"There's another little thing," he said uncertainly, and hesitated.|
"Would you rather put it off for a few days?" I asked.
"Oh, it isn't about that. At least----" He fumbled with a series of beginnings. "Why, I thought--why, look here, old sport, you don't make much money, do you?"
"Not very much."
This seemed to reassure him and he continued more confidently.
"I thought you didn't, if you'll pardon my--You see, I carry on a little business on the side, a sort of side line, you understand. And I thought that if you don't make very much--You're selling bonds, aren't you, old sport?"
"Well, this would interest you. It wouldn't take up much of your time and you might pick up a nice bit of money. It happens to be a rather confidential sort of thing."
I realize now that under different circumstances that conversation might have been one of the crises of my life. But, because the offer was obviously and tactlessly for a service to be rendered, I had no choice except to cut him off there.
"I've got my hands full," I said. "I'm much obliged but I couldn't take on any more work."
"You wouldn't have to do any business with Wolfshiem." Evidently he thought that I was shying away from the "gonnegtion." mentioned at lunch, but I assured him he was wrong. He waited a moment longer, hoping I'd begin a conversation, but I was too absorbed to be responsive, so he went unwillingly home. (88-89)
#4: Tea at Nick Carroway's With Gatsby and Daisy
How does Gatsby behave on the day of his long awaited
reunion with Daisy? (89-90)
Why does Gatsby suddenly leave at the moment of Daisy's
arrival and then knock at the door and enter again? (91) (How long has
it been since they have seen one another?)
When Gatsby and Daisy finally meet, he is so nervous
that he can barely speak. (91) He nearly knocks over "a defunct
mantelpiece clock". What is the meaning of Fitzgerald's symbol?
Nick ducks out and leaves the two to themselves. Outside
in the rain, he looks over Gatsby's mansion. How long did it take
Gatsby to make the money to buy it? (93-95)
When Nick returns, Gatsby is glowing and Daisy is in
tears of joy. Triumphantly, Gatsby takes Daisy and Nick on a tour of
his mansion. Note how Gatsby's emotional mood changes once he has
accomplished, he believes, his long quest: (97)
|He had passed
visibly through two states and was entering upon a third. After his
embarrassment and his unreasoning joy he was consumed with wonder at
her presence. He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right
through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an
inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running
down like an overwound clock. (97)
At the culminating moment of this episode, Gatsby tosses
dozens of his custom-made silk shirts into the air: (97-98)
|He took out a
pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts
of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds
as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we
admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher--shirts
with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and
lavender and faint orange, and monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly, with
a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry
"They're such beautiful shirts," she sobbed, her voice muffled in the
thick folds. "It makes me sad because I've never seen such--such
beautiful shirts before." (97-98)
Why does Daisy weep? Analyze this Fitzgerald image: how
does it perfectly capture the double nature of the moment?
While Klipsinger, the boarder, plays the piano for
Gatsby and Daisy, Nick notes an expression of bewilderment on Gatsby's
face. What is happening to his dream? (101)
|As I went over
to say good-by I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back
into Gatsby's face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to
the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must
have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his
dreams--not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality
of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative
passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright
feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can
challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.
As I watched him he adjusted himself a little, visibly. His hand took
hold of hers, and as she said something low in his ear he turned toward
her with a rush of emotion. I think that voice held him most, with its
fluctuating, feverish warmth, because it couldn't be over-dreamed--that
voice was a deathless song. (101)
Paragraph: What happens to Gatsby moments after
he has achieved his dream? Why is he bewildered?