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The Great Gatsby, is the third novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, it was published in 1925. The book is narrated by Nick Carraway, a Midwest graduate of Yale University who travels to New York after World War I to pursue a bonding career. Two years later, he relates the events of the summer he spent in the East, reconstructing his story in a series of flashbacks that are not always told in chronological order. The Great Gatsby vividly captures its historic moment in what was called the Jazz Age (a phrase popularised by Fitzgerald) or the Roaring Twenties: the economic boom of post-war America, the fresh jazz music, the free-flowing illicit liquor.

Plot Analysis

The story starts off with the first narrative. The beginning was simple yet elaborate. Fitzgerald constructed the story in such a way that started slowly at first but gradually picked up the pace. The story mainly focuses on the four main characters- Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan and Tom Buchanan, each of them having their own set of stories to tell. Nick Carraway graduated from Yale University and then worked in New York for bond business after World War I ended. He lived in West Egg because the area was known for its wealth and rich people. He came to know Tom Buchanan as he was Daisy’s husband and was quite well known as a reputed aristocrat.

The story is mostly told from Nick’s point of view. He narrates how Daisy and Tom were having marital disputes as Tom was having an affair and when their daughter was born, how Tom “was out there” doing that. He later revealed that the infamous Jay Gatsby was his neighbour and was invited as a guest in his well-known party. At the party, he meets Gatsby and calls Nick an “old sport”. From that moment on, Nick started to spend his summer with Gatsby and learned that the rumours about him were not really true. Later, he comes to know that Gatsby was the same military officer who visited Louisville and Daisy’s place as according to Nick, he was somewhat familiar to him. Nick accepted his request to invite Daisy for a tea in his place, and that’s how Gatsby and Daisy met after several years. Days pass with Daisy visiting Gatsby’s place and after rekindling their relationship, they start an affair.

Tom Buchanan came to know about the affair when Gatsby looked affectionately at Daisy, when all of them were invited for a lunch in the Buchanan estate. Even though Tom himself was having an affair, he could not accept the fact that his own wife can be unfaithful to him. He suggests the group drive to New York and visits Plaza Hotel. He confronts Gatsby that he and Daisy have a history that Gatsby won’t ever understand and Daisy might have loved him before, but now he was her present and Gatsby was the past. He later tells Daisy that Gatsby was a criminal who gained his wealth by participating in illegal works and was a lying thief. Later, while returning, Daisy accidentally hits Myrtle Wilson (Tom’s mistress) and Gatsby takes the blame. Tom then tells Myrtle’s husband, George, that it was Gatsby who was driving the car who later assumed that Gatsby was the lover of his wife and finds Gatsby in the pool and shoots him and later shoots himself.

When Nick came to know about the news, he tried to get hold of Buchanan estate requesting the butler of the house to pass the news to Daisy who then informed him that they have left the estate and don’t know when they will be returning. Nick arranged for a small funeral and he hoped that the people who attended Gatsby’s parties might come for his funeral, but none turned up. He was left with disgust, agony and pity for Gatsby and he soon left West Egg. He considered Gatsby as someone who worked hard for his dream even though it left him with nothing, was a loyal man and Gatsby was nothing like Tom and Daisy who only knows how to leave people to clean up the mess they left behind. Tom and Daisy left East Egg and Daisy neither visited Gatsby’s funeral nor sent flowers as a sign of gratitude. From this, we come to know that Daisy did love Gatsby once, but it was not enough for her to choose him over Tom who can secure her status as a member of the aristocratic circle.

Character Analysis

Nick Carraway – He is the main protagonist and lived opposite to Gatsby’s place. He is Daisy’s cousin and he observed the event unfold in front of him. He saw the affair between his cousin and Gatsby, he later came to know they were acquainted before. He also knew about the mistress of Tom Buchanan. He was also attracted to Jordan Baker, a golfer with whom he spent some quality time and talked about Gatsby and his feelings for Daisy, but he repelled her because of her lack of honesty to other people. He is the main narrator of the story.

Jay Gatsby – He is the main character of the novel, a young man of around 30 years who rose to fame from his improvised childhood. From his early age, he despised his poverty-sickened life and dropped out of his college in southern Minnesota  because he hated his janitor work to pay for his tuition fees. In 1917, he went off to World War I, but before heading off he visited Louisville where he met Daisy. Gatsby immediately fell in love with her because of her grace, charm and he created this persona of her as an autumn flower where he is forever wed to her. So, because of his love for Daisy, he climbed the stairs of riches to be worthy of her. Gatsby meets Daisy after five years of being separated in Nick’s house. Later, he asked Nick and Gatsby to visit his house and showed Daisy all the materialistic things that will satisfy Daisy’s needs. Gatsby is revealed as the good-hearted person, who is hopeful of his future. Yet at times he is very naive and childlike.

Daisy Buchanan – She is the young woman from Louisville who is Nick’s cousin. She was considered an eligible debutante and was popular among the military officers, including Jay Gatsby who was stationed near her home. She was Gatsby’s love interest and in the novel, she is seen as a girl with sophisticated grace, charm and aristocracy. She promised Gatsby that she would wait for him to return from war, but she married Tom Buchanan because of his high aristocratic status who was favoured by her family. Even though Daisy is seen as someone with the perfect image, she is shallow, unloyal and complicated. At the end of the novel, Daisy chooses Tom over Gatsby, allows Gatsby to take the blame of Myrtle Wilson’s dead (Tom’s mistress) even though it was Daisy who was driving the car and that lead to the dead of Gatsby who was killed by Myrtle’s husband assuming that Gatsby was the one who had killed his wife.

Tom Buchanan- Daisy’s enormously wealthy husband, who was once a member of Nick’s Yale Social Club. Tom is an arrogant, hypocritical bully, powerfully created and hailing from a socially solid old family. His social attitudes are linked to racism and sexism, and he never even thinks of trying to live up to the moral standard that those around him demand. He has no moral qualms about his own extramarital affair with Myrtle, but he gets outraged and forces a confrontation when he starts to accuse Daisy and Gatsby of having an affair.

One quotation that can really define Tom and Daisy’s character is- “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and… then retreated back into their money… and they let other people clean up the mess they made.”


The Great Gatsby is memorable for the rich symbolism that underpins its story. Throughout the novel, the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock is a recurrent image that beckons to Gatsby’s sense of ambition. It is a symbol of “the orgastic future” he believes in so intensely, toward which his arms are outstretched when Nick first sees him. It is this “extraordinary gift for hope” that Nick admires so much in Gatsby, his “heightened sensitivity to the promises of life.” Once Daisy is within Gatsby’s reach, however, the “colossal significance” of the green light disappears. In essence, the green light is an unattainable promise, one that Nick understands in universal terms at the end of the novel: a future we never grasp but for which we are always reaching. Nick compares it to the hope the early settlers had in the promise of the New World. Gatsby’s dream fails, then, when he fixates his hope on a real object, Daisy. His once indefinite ambition is thereafter limited to the real world and becomes prey to all of its corruption. [Martinez Julia, (2019) The Great Gatsby, Encyclopædia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Great-Gatsby]

The writer is a recent graduated in BSc (Hons.) Biotechnology from university of science & technology, Meghalaya. She is an avid reader and likes to write in her free time.

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