Nick Carraway, a young man from Minnesota who recently moved to New York to learn about the bond business, opens his story by describing himself. He is tolerant, slow to judge, and a good listener. As a result, people tend to share their secrets with him, including someone named Gatsby. Gatsby, Nick says, had a beautiful dream, but the people surrounding him ruined that dream. Nick is so disgusted with these people and their New York lifestyle that he has left New York and returned to Minnesota.
In the summer of 1922, however, Nick had just arrived in New York and rented a house on a part of Long Island called West Egg. Unlike the conservative, aristocratic East Egg, West Egg is home to the "new rich," those who, having made their fortunes recently, have neither the social connections nor the refinement to move among the East Egg set. West Egg is characterized by lavish displays of wealth and garish poor taste. Nick's West Egg house is next to Gatsby's mansion, a sprawling Gothic monstrosity.
Nick is unlike his West Egg neighbors--he graduated from Yale and has social connections on East Egg. One night, he drives out to East Egg to have dinner with his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan, a former member of Nick's social club at Yale. Tom, a powerful figure dressed in riding clothes, meets Nick on the porch. Inside, Daisy lounges on a couch with her friend Jordan Baker, a competitive golfer who yawns as though bored by her surroundings.
Tom tries to interest the others in a racist book called The Rise of the Colored Empires, by a man named Goddard. Daisy teases Tom about the book, but is interrupted when Tom leaves the room to take a phone call. Daisy follows him, and Jordan tells Nick that the call is from Tom's lover in New York.
After an awkward dinner, the party breaks up; Jordan wants to go to bed because she has a golf tournament the next day. As Nick leaves, Tom and Daisy hint that they would like him to take a romantic interest in... [continues]
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