Initial Thoughts and Where We are At in THE GREAT GATSBY

Since we’ve gotten through chapter 1 together, what do you think of the book? Be honest. Please make sure to tell us specifically what you like or don’t like about this book. You’ve also got a summary of Chapters 1 and 2 to help you better understand what is going on in the book.


As The Great Gatsby opens, Nick Carraway, the story’s narrator, remembers his upbringing and the lessons his family taught him. His father informed him not judge others, especially those that didn’t have the opportunities that he had. Readers learn of his past, his education, his WASPy background, and his sense of moral justice, as he begins to unfold the story of Jay Gatsby. The narration takes place more than a year after the incidents described, so Nick is working through the filter of memory in relaying the story’s events. The story properly begins when Nick moves from the Midwest to West Egg, Long Island, seeking to become a “well-rounded man” and to recapture some of the excitement and adventure he experienced as a soldier in WWI. He feels restless and wants to be busy much like he was during the war, so he goes to work on the high-pressure world of Wall Street and bonds. As he tries to make his way as a bond salesman, he rents a small house next door to a mansion which, it turns out, belongs to Gatsby on Long Island at West Egg.

Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s cousin, and her husband, Tom, live across the bay in the fashionable community of East Egg. Nick goes to visit Daisy, a charming woman with a socialite’s air, and Tom, a brutish, hulking, powerful man made arrogant through generations of privilege. Tom and Nick went to Yale together, and while many people disliked Tom, Tom seems to want Nick to like him and his luxurious lifestyle. While at the Buchanans, he meets Jordan Baker, the professional golfer and a girlhood friend of Daisy’s. As the foursome lounge around the Buchanans’ estate, they discuss the day’s most pressing matters: the merits of living in the East, what to do on the longest day of the year, reactionary politics, the power of the Nordic race, and other such shallow topics. When Tom takes a phone call, Daisy becomes upset as she tries to entertain her cousin. As she attempts to listen in on their argument, Jordan informs Nick that Tom’s mistress is on the phone. Tom, known for his infidelities, makes no pretense to cover up his affairs. Upon returning from their fight, Daisy talks to Nick about the birth of her daughter, Pammy, and informs him that she wants her daughter to grow up to be a fool so that she doesn’t experience the pain and heartbreak of being in love with a brute of a man. However, when she finishes talking, Nick realizes that Daisy might actually really enjoy this lifestyle and the drama that goes along with being married to Tom. As Tom and Daisy work to set up Nick and Jordan, they seize the opportunity to question him about his supposed engagement to a girl back home. Nick reassures them there is no impending marriage, merely a series of rumors that cannot substitute for truth.

Upon returning home that evening, as he is sitting outside on a beautiful, clear summer night, Nick notices a figure emerging from Gatsby’s mansion. Nick’s initial impulse is to call out to Gatsby, but he resists because Gatsby “gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone.” It was while watching Gatsby that Nick witnesses a curious event. Gatsby, standing by the waterside, stretches his arms toward the darkness, trembling. This gesture seems odd to Nick, because all he can make out is a green light, such as one finds at the end of a dock, across the Sound. Looking back at the mysterious figure Nick realizes that Gatsby has vanished.



Halfway between West Egg and New York City is a desolate plain, a gray valley where ashes are dumped. Existing above this place is a billboard of two huge, blue, spectacle-rimmed eyes—an advertising gimmick by a long-vanished eye doctor—These unblinking eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg watch over everything that happens in the valley of ashes. This is a major symbol in the book.

The train that runs between Long Island and New York passes through the valley, making several stops along the way. One day, as Nick and Tom are riding the train into the city, Tom forces Nick to follow him out of the train at one of these stops. Tom leads Nick to George Wilson’s garage, which sits on the edge of the valley of ashes. Tom’s lover Myrtle is Wilson’s wife. George Wilson is a lifeless yet handsome man, colored gray by the ashes in the air. In contrast, Myrtle is full of desperation and life; she strikes Nick as sexy despite her stocky figure. Tom taunts Wilson and then orders Myrtle to follow him to the train. Tom takes Nick and Myrtle to New York City where they buy a dog and head to the Morningside Heights apartment Tom keeps for his affair. Here they have a party with Myrtle’s sister, Catherine, and a couple named McKee. Catherine has bright red hair, wears a great deal of makeup, and tells Nick that she has heard that Jay Gatsby is the nephew or cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm, the ruler of Germany during World War I. People speculate and talk about the rumors related to Gatsby, like he’s a spy and that he killed a man. The McKees, who live downstairs, are a weird couple: Mr. McKee is pale and feminine, and Mrs. McKee is loud and annoying. Catherine tells Nick that Tom and Myrtle both want to leave their spouses, but Tom can’t because Daisy and he are Catholic (this is totally untrue because they’re WASPs). The group proceeds to drink excessively. Nick claims that he got drunk for only the second time in his life at this party. During this time, Myrtle explains how she ended up with her husband and how disappointed she’s been since.

The out-of-control behavior and random conversations make Nick uneasy, and he tries to leave. At the same time, he finds himself fascinated by the craziness of the group. Myrtle grows louder and more obnoxious the more she drinks, and she begins to talk about Daisy. Tom warns her never to mention his wife. Myrtle angrily says that she will talk about whatever she chooses and begins chanting Daisy’s name. Tom responds by breaking her nose, bringing the party to an end. The rest of the night becomes a little blurry for Nick, but he leaves, drunkenly, with Mr. McKee, goes to his apartment and eventually ends up taking the 4 A.M. train back to Long Island.



28 responses to “Initial Thoughts and Where We are At in THE GREAT GATSBY

  1. i think the book is very interesting although chapter one was kind of hard to read along since it had many sophisticated words, but it seems pretty interesting the way F. Scott. Fitzgerald characterizes some of te characters from the Great Gatsby and how he makes them act towards each other and why he does it. So far the characters we have very different personalities, they don’t show similarities yet they get along, and the reasons he makes them get along is crucial, even tho I personally don’t get why daisy is with Tom she seems pretty intelligent and knows what she is doing but still and also myrtle at one point i fel real bad for her she means no harm but, deep down she really wants to live what she didn’t have the opportunity to being born into a wasp or at least into the upper class. Tom is just abusive and a Jerk. Nick is very kind generous and understanding although he has his limits he understands myrtle why she does the things she does.

  2. One thing I like about the book is that it’s really interesting because of the drama that’s is going on. One thing I dislike is the wording of the book it kind of make the book hard to understand it sometimes.

  3. what I like about the book is the different character and personalities and how Tom interacts with those people. I also like how mysterious Gatsby is and how we don’t know much about him even though he is the main character of the book. What I don’t about the book is the very sophisticated words that are used, which make the story a little hard to understand. Its also harder to know about a characters personality if Nick uses very sophisticated words to describe Tom.

  4. So far in the Great Gatsby, the book has started extremely slow while explaining Nicks life. When the book started introducing other characters such as Tom and Daisy the book really started becoming more interesting.

  5. I kind of don’t like the book because I don’t like reading books and the book kind of getting a off to a slow beginning and I don’t like a book that’s takes place in the old times.

  6. I think the Great Gatsby would progressively become more and more interesting as we would be introduced to new characters and eventually Mr. Gatsby himself. I began to enjoy the book because the stories that Fitzgerald is presenting are so relevant to our society today that it could have played in the 21st century. People always had, have and will have issues like in the book, and many of these people can relate to the story which makes the book more appealing to a wide range of people. This book I believe will convey a lesson or message that would help us realize about how each social class has a lot of shared issues, thus revealing the similarities between people of any kind.

  7. I think the book is very interesting so far. Each character has a personality that is very distinct. For example Dasiy acts like a fool who is oblivious to everything, but she only does this because it’s easier to live life that way. Truly she is someone who knows exactly what’s going on around her and how she acts and how her actions affect others.

  8. The book has been very interesting and enjoyable to read so far. It can be challenging to understand certain parts in the text, but it is still an interesting book. From what we have learned so far about the characters and the situations that have occurred I know that many other exciting events will unfold as we continue to read this book.

  9. I really actually like the book so far because I saw the movie but the book it’s way different than the movie because it gives a lot of specific details but I am look forward to finish this book and to analyze it well

  10. The only thing I like is the mystery of mr.gatsby and the connection between nick and him because nick seems to make a big deal of him when he talked about him. How is tom the antagonist if he doesn’t seem like it. The ladies seem to know how upset him but wat does he do that makes him the bad guy in the story.

  11. So far i enjoy the book. i kinda wish i had a wider vocabulary to understand it better but the wording or diction if you may makes the book very vivid and with the imagination i have it makes it a lot more interesting.

  12. The book is very interesting because the way it is being told to you makes you whant to know more about the characters and how they connect to the story.

  13. The Great Gatsby is now becoming very more interesting and it’s a;so very dramatic, I really enjoy reading the book and also watching the movie because you are able to get more details about the characters personality One thing that I’m really enjoying about the book is that they keep repeating Gatsby’s name and every time they do all you hear is silence.

  14. The Great Gatsby is really enjoyable now that more drama is affecting the characters. I’m enjoying watching the movie and reading the book because it gives us more details about our characters, and as we read the book more we get to know how our characters behavior really is towards others.

  15. The book is hard to understand at the beinnging but when it countienes it get better and interesting so i think am ok with reading it so far. It interesting because it show how Nick living his life and what was going through his mind when he was doing things. It interesting to read about the party he goes to.

  16. The book so far is becomeing dramatic and very intercesting casue we meet the new character myrtle and we see what type of an person she is and gives the start the drama. How she starte the problem with tom and dasiy.

  17. What i like about the book The Great Gatsby is that its very consistent about the characters emotions and very discriptive about their suroundings. One of the reasons why i like the Great Gatsby is because when discribing Toms mistress (Myrtle) we are given a good explanation as to why would Tom would be hauteur and cheating on his solemn wife Daisy, Myrtle is convivial, she has vitality and that is what Tom is looking for. What i don’t like about the book is the Pivot’s, they throw me off and confuse me. For example when Tom decided to take Nick to his mistress. What i also dont like about the book the character Tom.
    He is impenetrable, he is a very strong character to define in these past two chapters he can’t really be broken down to pices and find out his weakness.

  18. I think the book is getting interesting as its continues. The drama between myrtle tom and daisy keeps the book entertaining and interesting. I hope the story continues on with the drama including Gatsby and more.

  19. Mostly , What I like about the book is the fact that Nick Is The narrator because he characterizes everybody in the book perfectly , And also he is very specific about toms attitude and how tom presents hisself .

  20. I like the book The Great Gatsby so far because of Nick Carraway &the mystery of who is Gatsby but Now that we found out who Gatsby is i really want to know where the book is going . The only little problem i have with the book is that Tom is so dishonest to his wife, but doesnt even know she knows that hes cheating.

  21. At first i thought the book started off a little slow and the intro could have been better but the book is picking up and is getting more interesting and i want to continue reading

  22. In my opinion the book has been off to a boring start but as we read more i become more interested in it. The Great Gatsby introduces us into Nick’s world where he starts off as a nobody but slowly progresses into an important person to Tom and his wife Daisy. There is also a character named Myrtle who is smart and sneaky at the same time.

  23. The Great Gatsby so far is a pretty interesting book. I really love the way Nick introduces new characters and locations.

  24. The Great Gatsby is an interesting book which is mysterious and exciting. I find it to be a good story and very interesting topic to read about.

  25. I enjoy the great gays by for many reasons. My first reason for enjoying the book is because it is a very unique story because of the way the author uses nick as the story teller. Also the book makes You want to go deeper into knowing the characters because nick only describes what he sees not like mostrar other books in which it Tello You what they feel. Also there are many histórical elements which gives You a picture of the surcumstances that there is. It Seems like the book would allways have some new meaning into it every time You read it.

  26. I enjoy the great Gatsby for many reasons. My first reason for enjoying the book is because it is a very unique story because of the way the author uses nick as the story teller. Also the book makes You want to go deeper into knowing the characters because nick only describes what he sees not like other books in which it tells You what they feel. Also there are many historical elements which gives You a picture of the circumstances that there is. It Seems like the book would always have some new meaning into it every time You read it.

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