The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby Chapter 4 Summary
- We hear some more guesses as to Gatsby's occupation. (Murderer? Bootlegger? Movie critic?)
- Apparently, background matters: Nick goes on and on about the names, occupations, and personal histories of all the people who come to Gatsby's parties.
- Gatsby comes to get Nick for lunch in his huge and fancy yellow Rolls-Royce.
- He explains to Nick his own personal history: he's the son of wealthy Midwesterners and he was educated at Oxford.
- Nick recalls that the general public, and more specifically Jordan, has some doubts about Gatsby's Oxford claim.
- Gatsby says he's from San Francisco (which doesn't exactly seem like the Middle West to us, but whatever). He also talks about the war and shows Nick a medal that says "Major Jay Gatsby."
- If that were not enough, he shows a photograph of him with the old Oxford gang.
- Nick is sold. He believes Gatsby.
- But FYI, if you ever need to see photographic proof to believe your friends' stories, it's probably a bad sign.
- AHA! Turns out Gatsby was just buttering him up to ask for a big favor; he wants Nick to talk with Jordan about something. Something vague. Nick isn't too happy about being used.
- When he's pulled over by a policeman, Gatsby simply reveals his identity and gets off the hook, Tony Soprano style.
- Once they get to the city, Gatsby introduces Nick to his business partner, Mr. Wolfsheim.
- Nick instinctively knows that there is something fishy about the working partnership.
- We're starting to think this is more Enoch Thompson-style than Tony Soprano-style.
- Supposedly, Mr. Wolfsheim fixed the World Series of 1919. We don't even have to tell you whose style that is.
- Oh, we forgot to mention: Mr. Wolfsheim's cufflinks are made of human molars. (Kurtz-style from Heart of Darkness.)
- And then Nick sees none other than Tom Buchanan across the room. He goes to introduce Gatsby, but Gatsby has bolted.
- They meet Tom by accident, but when Nick turns to introduce Gatsby to Tom, Gatsby has disappeared. Again. The plot thickens.
- Jordan later tells Nick the story of how Gatsby and Daisy met in October, 1917. Jordan herself saw them together; Daisy (all dressed in white – get used to that) was eighteen and the Queen Bee of high society, and Gatsby was a young officer head-over-heels in love with her.
- By 1918, Jordan had her own boyfriends and had begun to play in tournaments. We don't think this is relevant, but Jordan clearly did.
- Daisy's family, meanwhile, had prevented Daisy from going to say good-bye to this solider. Daisy responded with a teenage "I hate you! I'm never leaving my room again!" which lasted until the next fall, when she was once again Queen Bee'ing her way around town. This time, though, she was running in "older" circles with a more sophisticated crowd.
- By June of 1919, Daisy was married to Tom, whose massive wealth probably helped with the proposal.
- BUT, Jordan saw Daisy the night before her wedding, completely drunk. She was waving a letter about in the air and saying she's "chang' her mine!" which is drunk Daisy for "I don't want to marry Tom because I still love Gatsby and also Tom's kind of a jerk and potentially abusive."
- Apparently Jordan failed to deliver Daisy's sloshed message, because by the following April, in 1920, Daisy had given birth to a little girl.
- Daisy, it seemed, was crazy about her husband by the time she got back from the honeymoon. We'll let you speculate about why.
- Whether Tom felt the same way about Daisy is up for grabs, since shortly after their honeymoon it is suggested that he was fooling around with a hotel maid.
- Also, Daisy doesn't drink. Well, at least since that wedding eve incident.
- Jordan continues the story. Six weeks ago, when Daisy first heard of Gatsby again, she started to ask questions and realized it was the man she had loved so long ago.
- That's it for Jordan's history of Daisy. Jordan then explains to Nick that Gatsby only bought his house so he would be near Daisy.
- She also proposes Gatsby's plan: that Nick invite Daisy over for tea (without Tom) and then have Gatsby casually drop by.
- Nick says, "Sure, but let's stop talking about them so we can make out." Roughly speaking.
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