The Great Gatsby Essay

The Great Gatsby is an American literary masterpiece written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was published by Charles Scribner's Son's book publishing company in 1925. Although considered a failure when first published, the novel has become an American classic taught to students throughout.

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The Summary

The novel divulges the tragic life of its fictional protagonist Jay Gatsby. Gatsby’s life and misfortunes are narrated by another character named Nick Carraway. He is a Yale graduate who moved from the Midwest to New York after World War I. In New York City, he rents a small house in a district called West Egg in Long Island- a wealthy community of rich people. Nick’s cousin and her husband, Daisy, and Tom Buchanan, reside of the same neighborhood. 

While having lunch at Daisy and Tom’s mansion in the summer, Nick meets Jordan Baker. Jordan is a well-known golf champion and a friend of Daisy. She lets Nick know about Tom’s affair with Myrtle Wilson from the Valley of Ashes, ­a wasteland outside of New York City. In another conversation, Daisy tells Nick how unhappy she has been with her life. 

After Nick comes back from that lunch, he catches a glimpse of Jay Gatsby, his neighbor. Jay stands alone in the dark while stretching his arms and looking at the bright green light coming from Daisy and Tom’s dock. 

The story moves to July, where Nick is introduced to Myrtle by Tom. There he means her husband George Wilson, a repairman. The three of them- Tom, Myrtle, and Nick- head to an apartment in Manhattan, which is essentially Tom and Myrtle’s love nest. Myrtle’s sisters and friends join the group. The evening ends with Tom punching his mistress for bringing up his wife Daisy.

Over the course of the entire summer, Nick witnesses lavish parties being thrown by his rich neighbor. Famous and influential people flock to the Gatsby mansion on Saturday nights to enjoy the dazzling extravagance, endless cocktails, and a full orchestra. Finally, one day Nick gets an invitation to the grand party. He meets Jordan there and ends up spending time with her. 

While at the party, Nick finds the absence of the host to be peculiar. He also listens to the wild theories and chatters the guests indulge in regarding Gatsby’s past and fortunes. Nick finally meets Jay Gatsby later in the evening, but their interaction is brief. Gatsby asks for Jordan to speak privately, and when she returns, she is amazed by what he tells her. However, she cannot disclose what she learned to Nick.

Nick and Jordan start seeing each other throughout the summer. Then one day, she finally reveals what Gatsby told her that night at the party. She reveals to Nick that Jay and Daisy had known each other and been in love when they were in Louisiana. When Jay left to fight in the war, Daisy married Tom. It turns out that Gatsby bought his mansion right across the water from Daisy’s house just to be closer to her.

Nick invites his cousin to his house at the behest of Jay. It’s the first time the two former lovers meet, and the atmosphere is awkward. While Nick leaves the room to give them space when he returns, he finds that they have reconciled. All three go to Gatsby’s mansion, where he shows off his wealth to Daisy.

Daisy and Jay continue to see each other over the summer. On the other hand, Tom begins to grow uncomfortable with Daisy’s closeness with Jay. He shows up unannounced at one of Gatsby’s parties, with Daisy by his side. At first glance, it becomes clear that Daisy is shocked by the immorality of West Egg’s new-money crowd. At the end of the party, Jay confides in Nick that he wants Daisy to end her marriage with Tom. 

Seeing how unhappy Daisy was with his wild partying, Jay decides to stop hosting them altogether. Toward the end of the summer, everyone gathers at the Buchanan mansion, including Jay and Jordan. During the dinner, Daisy pays Jay a compliment, and at that moment, Tom realizes that she might be in love with him. He suggests that everyone should head to the city for a drink.

Daisy and Gatsby drive away in a blue coupe, while Tom chauffeurs Jordan and Nick in Gatsby’s yellow automobile. Tom stops for gas at George Wilson’s garage. Wilson informs Tom that he intends to move west with Myrtle as soon as he can raise the money. The disclosure perturbs Tom. And, when he reaches the Plaza, he picks a fight with Gatsby.

During their heated altercation, Tom confronts Jay directly about his affair with Daisy. Jay insists that he and Daisy have always been in love, and she married Tom for convenience. At the same time, Tom also reveals that he investigated Jay’s finances and found that he had earned his money through bootlegging in Chicago along with his partner Wolfsheim. While Jay tries to deny the accusations, seeing Daisy’s lack of resolve, he gives up.

Daisy and Jay drive back home together, with Daisy behind the wheel. She accidentally kills Myrtle when she shows up in the middle of the road after a brutal gift with Wilson. Unable to stop, Daisy hits her, and she dies instantly. Tom, who is behind them, stops his car when he sees the crowd gathering. Upon investigation, he finds his mistress’s body lying dead in Wilson’s garage.

Wilson witnessed the incident and he informs Tom that it was a yellow car that hit Myrtle. Tom assures him it wasn’t his car and leaves the scene. He is devastated by the whole incident. Nick comes to Daisy’s house and finds Jay in the garden. Gatsby tells him that it was Daisy driving the car, but he is willing to take the blame to protect her. 

Nick tells Gatsby to get rid of his car so that it cannot be traced to him. He advises him to leave the city, but Gatsby refuses. During their conversation, Jay finally reveals his past and how he made his wealth. It was indeed through bootlegging that he earned his riches. 

Although Nick isn’t happy about Jay’s decision to stay, he returns home to wait for Daisy’s call. The same afternoon, Myrtle’s husband George shows up at Gatsby’s house. He believes it was Gatsby who killed his wife because that is what Tom told him. Wilson finds Gatsby by the pool and shoots him. Then he turns the gun to himself and commits suicide. 

Nick holds a funeral service for Jay Gatsby, but only two people attend. One is Nick, and the other is Gatsby’s father. None of the people who used to attend Gatsby’s parties at the mansion show up to his funeral. The Buchanans leave the East Egg, but no one knows where. In the end, Nick goes back to the Midwest, utterly repulsed by the lifestyle of East Egg people.


The Great Gatsby symbolizes the corruptibility and volatility of the American dream. Jay Gatsby’s desire to climb the social ladder left him vulnerable in the end. While money brought him acceptance, it failed to give him real love and friends. 

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