The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald. Book Summary

Sep 10, 2021

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald. Book Summary


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is not only a popular book but the most researched and examined at the college level. This blog discusses key themes and ideas that you need to know about this famous piece of literature.

The Great Gatsby, first published in 1925 by Charles Scribner's Sons, was Scott Fitzgerald's third novel. The novel, whose setting is during the New York Jazz era, tells the tragic tale of protagonist Jay Gatsby, a hard-working millionaire pursuing a wealthy young woman, Daisy Buchanan, whom he loved since his youthful days. The novel was not successful upon its publication, but it has gained popularity over the years, becoming a classic American fiction referred to as the Great American Novel.

The tale follows the perspective of Nick Carraway, a Yale University graduate who was Gatsby's neighbor at one time. The book's storyline takes place sometime after 1922 after Nick had moved to West Egg from the Midwest after World War I to pursue a bonds career. Nick recalls the summer events of his stint in the East two years later and uses flashbacks to reconstruct the story without paying attention to the chronological order.

We can offer you Custom Essays on The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald anytime. Our Literature Essay Writers are ready to receive your order and help you. 


The story opens in 1922 during the spring when Nick has just moved into Long Island's fictional village of West Egg, hoping to make a successful career as a bondsman. The narrator finds himself residing amid the massive mansions owned by New York's newly wealthy class. Shortly after arriving in West Egg, Nick travels to the refined village of East Egg to visit his cousin Daisy Buchanan and her wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, whom Nick had known during his days in college. During the dinner visit, Nick meets Daisy's friend Jordan Baker, a famous professional golf champion. Baker tells Nick that Tom has another mistress in New York City, while Daisy confesses that she has been unhappy in her marriage during her private conversation with Nick. Baker and the Buchanan families live high-class and luxurious lives, significantly contrasting with Nick's grounded and modest lives. When Nick returns home that evening, he sees his neighbor Gatsby standing alone in the dark while stretching his arms towards a solitary green light located at the end of Daisy and Tom's dock.

One day, Nick accepts an invite to accompany his cousin’s husband Tom to meet his New York mistress Myrtle Wilson. Myrtle is a middle-class woman currently living with her husband George Wilson in the town that Nick describes as "the valley of ashes." Wilson manages a gas station and modest garage in New York's industrial wasteland, a run-down and desolate section serving as a convergence between the city and its suburbs. Nick and Tom meet Myrtle at her at the garage where her husband is currently working before heading to her apartment in Manhattan. The trio spends the afternoon in the apartment, where they are joined by Myrtle's sister and friends who reside in the nearby drinking. Myrtle and Tom's drunken behaviors result in a commotion that ends up in a fight when Tom punches and breaks Myrtle's nose out of rage.

The description of the afternoon visit to the Manhattan incident diverts Nick's attention to his neighbor, Gatsby, who is fond of hosting lavish weekly parties for affluent and fashionable individuals on Saturday nights. Nick is privileged to receive a rare invitation from Gatsby to attend one of his parties because he says that Gatsby rarely invites anyone to his parties besides the few wealthy individuals. Nick is struck by Gatsby's absence during the party and shocked about the dark theories that the guests have about Gatsby's past. He later bumps into Jordan Baker and later Gatsby that evening. Nick learns that Gatsby is a gracious host who spends more time observing than participating, like someone seeking something. The narrator sees Gatsby taking Jordan aside for a private conversation as the party is about to end. Although he could not eavesdrop, Jordan appears to be significantly amazed at what Gatsby tells her.

The friendship between the narrator and Gatsby grows as the summer unfolds. In contrast, Jordan and the narrator continues seeing one another more regularly despite his sensibilities, telling him that she is a notoriously dishonest person.  Gatsby and Nick drive into the city for lunch one July afternoon, and Gatsby dismisses the rumors surrounding his life by telling Nick that he is not only a war hero but also comes from a wealthy family.  Nick meets one of Gatsby’s close associates Meyer Wolfshiem, the man behind fixing the World Series in 1919. The mayor is also a link to Gatsby's organized crime. Jordan and Nick are having tea when she finally explains to Nick the amazing story Gatsby had told her when the two were having a private conversation during the party night. Gatsby had confessed her love for Daisy Buchanan, Nick's cousin. According to Jordan, Gatsby and Daisy had met about five years ago in Louisville when Gatsby was serving in the military. Still, the two could not live together because he was struggling financially. Daisy then Married Tom Buchanan as Gatsby went to fight in the war. Gatsby had spent time working hard in the intervening years to become rich with the primary goal of winning Daisy's love. At this point, the reader understands that Gatsby had bought his current house to be near Daisy and held weekly parties hoping that she would notice him. The time has come for Gatsby to meet Daisy once more through Jordan Baker's intervention physically. Gatsby also requests Nick to invite Daisy over to his small apartment, and Gatsby will come unannounced to see Daisy hoping she will notice him.

The meeting day finally arrives, and Nick perfectly prepares his house with the help of Gatsby, who wants everything to be in place as he hopes to reunite with the lost love of his life. The first meeting of the two olden lovers is characterized by nervousness, but they will soon catch up and get comfortable with each other's company. Nick, who did not see this coming, feels like an intruder amid the warmth radiated between the two lovers. Gatsby gets higher when the three later that afternoon move to his house, where he proudly showcases his current affluence and the strides he had made in life to come out of poverty.

The narrator lapses into memory and begins comparing Jay Gatsby's story. Gatsby was born as James Gatz to unsuccessful and shiftless farm people before changing his name when he was seventeen. He met Dan Cody, who became his mentor for five years by making him realize the man in him when Cody died. He had vowed never to acknowledge his meager past and instead focus on becoming Jay Gatsby, a successful entrepreneur. The narrator moves to the present, where Tom and Daisy are planning to attend Gatsby's party. Tom had realized the association between Gatsby and his wife as days go by, and it does not amuse him, making him accompany Daisy to one of Gatsby's weekly parties on this day. Tom is chasing women at the party while Gatsby and Daisy steal a moment of privacy by sneaking into Nick's apartment as Nick keeps watch over them. When the party ends, Gatsby openly tells Nick about his desire to recapture the past by reclaiming Daisy. He wants Daisy to tell Tom Buchanan that she never loved him and elope with Gatsby because his history with Daisy impacted his life significantly.

Gatsby stops hosting his weekly parties. His affection for Daisy intensifies as they continue seeing one another more frequently. One hot summer afternoon, Nick and Gatsby go to the East to have lunch with Baker and the Buchanan family. The discomfort of the high summer temperatures makes Daisy suggest that the group try taking solace with a drive to the city. Gatsby and Daisy can no longer conceal their affection as Daisy special attention to Gatsby, and Tom notices it and insists that they drive into the city. Gatsby and Daisy use Tom's Blue coupe while Tom, Nick, and Jordan use Gatsby's car. Tom stops at Wilson's gas station for gas, where he realizes that Wilson is feeling unwell. Wilson tells Tom that he had discovered that his wife is having an affair with another man, whom he is yet to find out, but he plans to move Myrtle to the West as soon as he raises sufficient funds. Tom is dismayed because he has lost a wife and his mistress in one day, and he drives hastily to the city.

The group goes to Plaza Hotel's parlor, and Tom is in a bad temper. Tom gathers courage and confronts Gatsby about his affair with Daisy as the group is about to cool off the heat with mint juleps. Daisy tries to intervene and calm them, but Gatsby tells Tom that Daisy had always loved him and not Tom. He wants Daisy to confess it, but upon realizing that she will not do it, Gatsby tells Tom that Daisy will leave him. Tom, who seems to understand Daisy better than Gatsby, knows that she won't leave her. Tom knows that Daisy cannot abandon him, whose wealth, power, and influence span over generations, for Gatsby's newly found and immature wealth. Tom tells Daisy and Gatsby to go home while they follow them.

Daisy and Gatsby leave together, and Daisy is driving. An argument has escalated between Wilson and Myrtle, causing her to run into the street where Daisy accidentally hits her, but she continues driving out of fear. However, witnesses had seen the car. As Tom's car nears Wilson's garage, they notice a commotion and decide to pull over to investigate. A speeding car that did not stop had hit and killed Myrtle, and Tom is convinced that it must have been Gatsby's car. The trio continues with their journey to East Egg, and Nick is appalled by the behavior and morality of his friends. They arrive at Buchanan's residence and find Gatsby keeping a watch over Daisy. Nick asks Gatsby a few questions where he learns that it was Daisy driving the car, although Gatsby accepts to take all the blame. Nick goes home, but the events of the day haunt him.

Nick goes to Gatsby's house the following day and suggests that he move somewhere far because his car might be traced and land him in trouble. He refuses to listen to Nick before opening to him the truth about his life that night. Gatsby came from an impoverished farming family, and he met Daisy in Louisville while serving in the army. He amassed his wealth after the war through bootlegging.

Wilson is distraught following his wife's death, and he goes out in search of the driver who killed his wife. Nick explores Wilson's journey in quest of the driver who placed him in Gatsby's house in East Egg in the early afternoon. He finds Gatsby by the pool, where he shoots him before turning the gun and shooting himself. Nick arranges Gatsby's funeral, but surprisingly, only two people come; one of them is Gatsby's father. None of the people Gatsby hosted during his parties wanted to get involved in his funeral. Surprisingly, even Daisy, his purported lover, did not attend the funeral. Gatsby's close associate Meyer Wolfshiem declines to mourn Gatsby publicly. Gatsby's popularity completely fades upon his death.

Nick plans to leave Midwest, but he goes to see the Buchanan family for the last time, where Nick learns that Tom was behind Gatsby's death. Wilson had gone to Tom's house, who informed him that Gatsby owned the car that killed his wife. Nicks leaves feeling disgusted by the betrayal in individuals like Daisy and the cruelty and carelessness of people like Tom while priding himself with his integrity.

On his last night in Midwest, Nick visits Gatsby’s mansion then the shore that Gatsby frequented with arms stretched towards the lone green light. The novel has a prophetic ending with Nick observing that human beings are like Gatsby's experience where one's past significantly impacts the desire to move forward.

If you need a custom essay for any literature assignment, we are here to help