The Great Gatsby Chapter Five Notes Chapter Summary

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‘The Great Gatsby’ Chapter Five Notes

‘The Great Gatsby’ Chapter Five Notes

Chapter Summary • Nick agrees to arrange a meeting between Daisy and Gatsby at

Chapter Summary • Nick agrees to arrange a meeting between Daisy and Gatsby at his home. • Their meeting is initially awkward and it seems that time has extinguished the attraction which once existed between them. • This awkwardness dissipates in Nick’s absence and this marks the beginning of their affair. • Gatsby gives Daisy a tour of his mansion and she is impressed by his display of material wealth.

Structure • This chapter marks an important turning point in the novel. • The

Structure • This chapter marks an important turning point in the novel. • The opening four chapters have been building up to the meeting between Gatsby and Daisy while creating an air of mystery around the protagonist and the nature of his desire. • Chapter 6 -9 will focus on the ramifications of this reunion while demystifying Gatsby’s extravagant lifestyle. • The chapter is also pivotal in introducing the importance of the past in shaping the future of the main characters.

Nick ‘I’m going to call up Daisy tomorrow and invite here for tea. .

Nick ‘I’m going to call up Daisy tomorrow and invite here for tea. . What day would suit you? ’ • Despite his friendship with Tom, Nick is willing to facilitate an affair between Daisy and her former lover. • On one hand, this undermines Nick’s professions of honesty by implicating him in the immorality which is prevalent in the novel. • However, we can partially sympathise with this as Nick is fully aware of Tom’s adulterous dalliances and has witnessed the way Daisy is treated at home. Tom’s behaviour clearly contrasts unfavourably with Gatsby’s obvious devotion and loyalty.

Nick • Nick’s character can be further questioned in relation to his response to

Nick • Nick’s character can be further questioned in relation to his response to Gatsby’s offer of work. • His awareness that such work may be criminal is not Nick’s prime motivation for rejecting the protagonist’s offer. Instead, his pride prevents acceptance as he believes that the offer is motivated by a desire to repay him for a ‘service rendered. ’

Gatsby’s Mask Slips • Our previous meetings with Gatsby have failed to illuminate us

Gatsby’s Mask Slips • Our previous meetings with Gatsby have failed to illuminate us with regard to his true character. Instead, we have been introduced to a carefully constructed false persona. • This persona slips when the reason for its creation is encountered. His theatrical performance is abandoned and his responses are seemingly genuine for the first time. • In the absence of this commitment to artifice, Gatsby lets slip a pivotal fact about his past: ‘It took me just three years to earn the money that bought it’ It is now apparent that his claims to have inherited his vast wealth are false and merely another aspect of his false persona.

Gatsby • Moreover, Gatsby’s instinctive response to Nick’s query about the origins of this

Gatsby • Moreover, Gatsby’s instinctive response to Nick’s query about the origins of this money reveal a degree of defensiveness: “That’s my affair” His unwillingness to disclose concrete information about his business dealings adds to our suspicions about the origins of his wealth. When combined with his associations with the disreputable Wolfsheim, this absence of candour allows us to infer that Gatsby’s wealth has origins in criminality.

Gatsby and Daisy • Fitzgerald uses pathetic fallacy to reflect the mood at various

Gatsby and Daisy • Fitzgerald uses pathetic fallacy to reflect the mood at various points of the chapter: - At 4 pm, when Daisy arrives, the rain has ‘cooled to a damp mist’. The connections of ‘cool’ and ‘damp’ to Daisy’s character are clear from the previous chapter, where we learned that her feelings for Gatsby faded as his letter became a damp pulp. - At the height of Gatsby’s discomfort – when Nick finds the tensions too unbearable to remain indoors – it is again ‘pouring’. - When Nick returns, Daisy and Gatsby have happily reacquainted. Significantly, ‘the sun shone again’, there are ‘twinkle bells of sunshine in the room’ and Gatsby is again ‘an ecstatic patron of recurring light’.

An Anti-Climax? • Despite the apparent joyousness of his reunion with Daisy, Nick observes

An Anti-Climax? • Despite the apparent joyousness of his reunion with Daisy, Nick observes that Gatsby in some ways appears deflated: I saw that the faint 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. Five years! There just have been moments even on that afternoon when Daisy stumbled short of his dreams – not through her fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. …No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man can store up in his ghostly heart. • Why though does Daisy fall short of his expectations?

An Impossible Dream • Gatsby’s mind has combined all of his ideals, aspirations and

An Impossible Dream • Gatsby’s mind has combined all of his ideals, aspirations and hopes in a vicarious representation of Daisy. She is the embodiment of his personal American Dream. • However, Daisy is an undoubtedly flawed character who is unworthy of such elevated status in the mind of the protagonist. • Her flaws come to the surface when she visits Gatsby’s mansion: • ‘Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. “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. ”’

A Flawed Idol • Daisy’s show of emotion reveals her ultimate superficiality- she is

A Flawed Idol • Daisy’s show of emotion reveals her ultimate superficiality- she is moved by materialistic shows of wealth rather than by authentic feeling. This is similar to her emotion when presented with Tom’s pearls. • In having Daisy substitute for the American Dream, Fitzgerald highlights the unworthiness of contemporary ventures designed to increase status and wealth. The Dream has been corrupted by consumerism and pursuit of these new ideals can only bring about disappointment.

Symbolism- The Green Light • Chapter five reveals to us the symbolic importance of

Symbolism- The Green Light • Chapter five reveals to us the symbolic importance of the green light Gatsby reaches towards at the end of chapter one. • The light is synonymous in Gatsby’s mind with Daisy. He reaches out towards this light in an attempt to grasp the object of his dream. As Daisy is Gatsby’s physical embodiment of the American Dream, we can consider the light to symbolise this. • Nick observes: ‘… it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever… His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one. ’ Gatsby in this chapter seems to derive greater value from striving towards an object than grasping it. This can again be attributed to the discrepancy between the quality of his ideal and the reality he is confronted with.

Gatsby’s Blazing Light • Our understanding of the green light allows us to gain

Gatsby’s Blazing Light • Our understanding of the green light allows us to gain insight into the fundamental imbalance in Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship. • Gatsby attempts to create a comparable beacon by lighting his house ‘from tower to cellar. ’ This is however unsuccessful as Daisy does is not drawn towards this light in the desired way. Instead, it is necessary for Gatsby to use an intermediary to engineer a meeting. Moreover, Nick describes the light unfavourably by noting that it ‘blazed gaudily on. ’ • This is another ostentatious display of wealth which highlights his inability to enjoy the ease of wealth displayed by Daisy.

Symbolism- Clock • Gatsby himself is referred to as an ‘over wound clock’ in

Symbolism- Clock • Gatsby himself is referred to as an ‘over wound clock’ in this chapter, which ties him perceptibly to the idea of the passing of time. When he enters Nick’s house, he behaves very like a wooden stiff actor, full of unrealistic gesture and poses. This contributes to the awkward atmosphere and is only interrupted by the following: ‘Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers, and set it back in place’ • At this point in the chapter, Gatsby is concerned that time has altered Daisy’s attitude towards him. His knocking over of the clock symbolises the clumsiness of his attempts to turn back time and erase five years of history.

Indulgence and Excess • When encountered during the tour of the mansion, the boarder

Indulgence and Excess • When encountered during the tour of the mansion, the boarder Mr Klispringer is ‘doing liver exercises on the floor. ’ • Such exercises are designed to stimulate the liver after excessive alcohol consumption. • This highlights the over-indulgence common amongst the upperclasses in American society during this milieu.