Great Gatsby Character Journal

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The Great Gatsby Journal

Chapter 1
Summary- In Chapter 1, the reader finds that Nick Carraway, a moral and tolerant man from the Midwest, narrates and takes the role of author for the rest of the story. Throughout the book, the reader looks at the happenings through Nick's eyes and finds out what he is thinking. Chapter 1, like many chapter 1's, starts out with someone or something explaining themselves and showing how their life has gone thus far. The Great Gatsby is no exception. Nick says that he came from the Midwest to New York's "West Egg" on Long Island. As the name might imply, there is also an "East Egg", which Nick describes the more fashionable of the two. East Egg is where Nick goes one evening, in order to reacquaint himself with his second cousin, Daisy, and her husband, Tom. The Buchanans welcome him in, and chat about the many things that have passed in their own worlds. Chapter one also introduces Jordan Baker, who, of all we know of at the time, is a golf player. The four current characters then have dinner and chat further with each other. The chapter ends with Nick's hero of his story, Jay Gatsby, reaching out to an indistinguishable light at the end of a dock across the dark water of the Sound. Tom Buchanan- "I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking a little wistfully for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game" Pg. 10 Tom Buchanan's character represents brutality and arrogance. The description of Tom in Chapter 1 describes him as a big man, for he played football in college. Though this may not necessarily convey brutality, he is certainly capable of it. Tom has an arrogant nature and this is seen in his wealth. Tom also openly shows his affair with Myrtle, maybe adding to his arrogance that he doesn't care what Daisy thinks. Tom and Myrtle are both similar in their selfish desires. They both enjoy wealth and like to let society know of their wealth, or at least Tom's wealth. Tom's role in the novel thus far isn't huge, though it will become one. In Chapter 1, Tom's role is as Daisy 's wife and as one side of an affair. We learn that he was a good friend of Nick in college (they attended Yale), and they remain friends in Chapter 1. Other than the phone call from his second lover, nothing major happens for Tom in this chapter. Quote- "And I hope she'll be a fool-that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." Pg. 21 This quote's significance in the novel is that the social environment of the time does not value the intelligence of women. Rather, it values the fun-loving, adventurous, go get'em kind of women. The beautiful part of the quote says that though her intelligence values are not wanted, her beauty will give her more fun and a better time in life.

Chapter 2
Summary- Chapter 2 starts with the mentioning of the symbolic Valley of Ashes and the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg. These become major symbols throughout the book, symbolizing the decline of things, and the watchful eyes of God, respectively. Within the Valley of Ashes starts Chapter 2. We see Tom and Nick visiting the husband of Tom's second lover, George. Leaving George, Tom, Nick, and Myrtle go to New York City, to an apartment belonging to Tom completely for his affair. Here, they have a party with Myrtle's sister and a few neighbors. The party ends with everyone drunk, and Myrtle suffering a broken nose due to Tom's wrath. Chapter 2 ends with Nick very drunk, and giving the reader broken scenes of the rest of his night. Nick Carraway- "¼I'm inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores." Pg. 5

Nick describes himself as being tolerant, open-minded, quiet, and a good listener. As a result, others feel that they can confide in him and tell him their secrets (i.e. Gatsby). A bad quality of Nick is that his new life in New York leads to the lives of the New Yorkers. For example,...
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