Study Guide

The Great Gatsby Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

  • The next Saturday night rolls around, but Gatsby has locked himself up in his house like an angry curmudgeon on Halloween. No party tonight, folks.
  • He has also fired all his servants and hired new ones—suspiciously mean ones--who won't gossip.
  • You see, Daisy has started coming around often in the afternoons. And yes, what you think is happening on those afternoons is indeed happening.
  • Nick is instructed to go over to East Egg and hang at the Buchanan's house with everyone.
  • Fittingly, it is the hottest day ever.
  • Nick enters the house to see Daisy and Jordan doing what they do best: wearing white dresses and listening to Tom talk on the phone to his mistress.
  • Nick tries to pretend it isn't Tom's mistress on the phone, but he's not fooling anyone.
  • Gatsby shows up. Daisy sends Tom into the other room to make a drink and kisses Jay wildly, declaring that she loves him.
  • Daisy's daughter makes a minor appearance before being taken back into the care of the Nurse (or nanny).
  • Gatsby is slightly upset (although he tries to hide it) at the existence of the child. It's an unpleasant little reminder that this isn't the same Daisy he used to love.
  • Tom comes back with drinks, and they all have an extraordinarily strained cocktail time with one another.
  • Daisy utters yet another famous Fitzgerald line: "What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that, and the next thirty years?"
  • Good question. Maybe get a job? Start a charity? Write a novel?
  • Despite the heat, Daisy tells Gatsby: "You always look so cool."
  • Don't worry – Nick interprets for us. This is Daisy-speak, he tells us, for "I love you," and since Tom speaks Daisy-speak, the cocktail hour strain increases tenfold.
  • To break this tension, they all decide to go into town.
  • They bring whiskey, because that helps everything. Not.
  • While everyone is getting ready, Nick and Gatsby are alone to discuss Daisy's voice, which Gatsby decides is "full of money." Nick agrees.
  • Daisy and Gatsby go in the Buchanans' car (blue) and Tom drives Gatsby's car (yellow) with Nick and Jordan as passengers.
  • Tom realizes two things: First, his wife is having an affair with Gatsby. Second, Jordan and Nick know about the whole thing.
  • They pass the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg and stop for gas at Wilson's station. Tom's mistress's husband Wilson? Yes, that very one.
  • Wilson, who now knows about his wife's affair but doesn't know it's with Tom, reveals that he needs money because he and his wife are going to move out West.
  • Nick makes the astute observation that both men (Tom and Wilson) have recently discovered their wives are cheating on them, and that such a discovery can make one physically ill.
  • Well, that and the oppressive heat.
  • Nick again sees the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg keeping "their vigil," and compares them to another set of eyes: Myrtle Wilson watching from an upstairs window.
  • The person she's staring at is Jordan, who she thinks is Tom's wife.
  • Tom realizes he's losing control – of his wife and of his mistress.
  • The two cars finally stop to figure out where exactly they are going, which is a nice thing to know when you're trying to get there.
  • They end up at a suite in the Plaza hotel in an attempt to cool off.
  • Tensions increase (yes, it is possible) between Gatsby and Tom. Tom accuses him (again, in the subtle Mean Girls way) of lying about being an Oxford-educated man.
  • Gatsby clarifies that he was at Oxford, but only for a few months.
  • Tom finally explodes and explicitly calls out the affair. Interestingly, he doesn't seem so much bothered by the infidelity as by the fact that Gatsby is "Mr. Nobody from Nowhere."
  • Gatsby waits for Daisy to say her line, but she doesn't, so he tells Tom, "Daisy never loved you."
  • Tom says that she does love him, and that in fact he loves her too, even though he's been with everything that walks since they got married.
  • Daisy tells Tom he's "revolting" and asks how she could possibly love him now. She has a really hard time saying she never loved him, but she does eventually, after much internal deliberation.
  • Tom gets all puppy-dog sad, asking if she loved him here, or there, or that time when he carried her over all those puddles so it wouldn't ruin her favorite pair of shoes.
  • Daisy breaks down and admits that, aw, fine, she did at one point love him. But not anymore.
  • Gatsby has a major freak out about this. He insists to Tom that Daisy is leaving him.
  • Tom reveals that Gatsby is a bootlegger, and Gatsby tries to deny it, but he is so totally busted.
  • Daisy begs to go, and they head home with Daisy and Gatsby together in Gatsby's car.
  • Nick realizes it is his birthday. He's thirty.
  • Everything is progressing quite skippily, if somewhat tensely, until Nick narrates, "So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight."
  • Things are pretty much downhill from there.
  • Tom, Jordan, and Nick stop at the Wilsons'  place again, and it's obvious a tragedy has occurred.
  • Michaelis, Wilson's neighbor, reveals that Myrtle came running out when she saw a yellow car. The car struck and killed her, and then sped off without stopping.
  • It is obvious to Nick and company that the car was Gatsby's.
  • Tom converses with a policeman at the scene of the crime about how the guilty car is YELLOW, but his own car is BLUE.
  • As they drive away, Tom whimpers that Gatsby is a "god-damned coward" because he didn't even stop.
  • When they get back to Long Island, Nick finds Gatsby waiting outside the Buchanans' house to make sure Tom doesn't get violent with Daisy.
  • Gatsby reveals that Daisy was driving the car when it struck Myrtle – but he is prepared to sacrifice himself, to let everybody think that he was the one driving the car.
  • Observing a scene of intimacy between Tom and Daisy, Nick realizes that the couple has reconciled. When he leaves, Jay Gatsby is still watching the house, which in Nick's words is "watching over nothing."

great gatsby chapter 7 summary(Click the summary infographic to download.)

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