The Great Gatsby
CHAPTERS 1-5 GUIDED READING QUESTIONS
Chapter One
Chapter One
1. What does D’Invilliers suggest is the
best way to woo a lover?
•
This poet suggests that the best way to woo
a lover is to have wealth (gold-hat) and to do
what the woman wants (bounce high).
Chapter One
2. What does Nick Carraway (the narrator) reveal
about his own personality?
•
Nick Carraway reveals that he is not a
judgmental person (based on advice his
father gave him).
• “…I’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.” (1)
• He, however, does not always follow this
principle and is quick to judge all. (5-6)
Chapter One
3. What generalizations about Gatsby does Nick
give as his introduction to the “Great” main
character?
• Nick describes Gatsby as a man that: “represented
everything for which I have unaffected scorn…
something gorgeous about him, some heightened
sensitivity to the promises of life… had a gift for hope,
a romantic readiness…”
• Nick notes that is was not Gatsby who left him jaded,
rather what “preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust that
floated in the wake of his dreams…”
• “foul dust” = American dream’s decay
Chapter One
4. How does Nick become a “guide, a pathfinder,
an original settler”?
• Nick achieves the feeling
of belonging when he gives
directions to a lost man on
the road.
• Providing direction for
another gives him purpose
and makes it so that he no
longer feels lonely.
Chapter One
5. Describe Tom Buchanan in detail.
• A: Tom is physically endowed; “sturdy”; 30 years
old; former standout collegiate football player
• B: Tom is confrontational, “seeking a little wistfully
for the dramatic turbulence” (10); he seems
arrogant, dominant and aggressive, “a cruel body”
(11)
• C: Tom’s relationship with Daisy is superficial,
strained and cold; they barely acknowledge each
other
• D: Tom is a white supremacist: “Civilization is going
to pieces…if we don’t look out the white race will
be utterly submerged.” (17)
Chapter One
6. How did Daisy’s knuckles turn black and blue?
• Her knuckles being black and blue
lead one to believe that she fights
back when Tom abuses her
• Privately, she’ll fight back
• She’s personally defiant
• Publically, she’ll remain docile
• She’s willing to compromise her defiance in
order to retain the image of a subservient
wife
7. Does Daisy know that Tom has a mistress?
How do you know?
Chapter One
• Daisy is well-aware that Tom has a girl
on the side
• She and Tom openly argue about it
while Nick is visiting
• Jordan Baker, professional golfer and
friend of Daisy’s, “who seemed to
have mastered a certain hardy
skepticism,” eavesdrops unashamed
8. List ten adjectives that you would use to
describe Daisy’s personality?
Chapter One
• Naïve; young; beautiful; soft-spoken;
charming; “cynical”; wealthy;
frivolous; lavish; foolish; subjected;
objectified; innocent; romantic;
abused; charismatic; sophisticated;
frolicsome; entitled; captivating;
“witty”; superficial; Unfulfilled; Aloof;
thrilling; entrancing; persuasive
Chapter One
9. What can you figure out about Daisy and Tom as
parents and individuals from the brief references to
their daughter?
• Daisy and Tom appear to be ‘trophy
parents’
• Although they have a child, they are by no
means active, caring parents
• The next step in their marriage was to have a
child, so that’s what they did- have a baby to
show off
• “I suppose she talks, and– eats and everything…”
(Daisy now)
• “I hope she’ll be a fool– that’s the best thing a girl
can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” (Daisy the
day her daughter was born)
Chapter One
10. What do you think is the significance of the green
light?
• Nick observes Gatsby, “content to be
alone,” staring out into the sea
• He stands transfixed on a distant,
green light
• Green light symbolizes:
• Longing
• Hope
• Renewal
• American Dream
Chapter Two
Chapter Two
1. Describe the “Valley of Ashes” and explain where it
is located.
• Long stretch of desolate land half-way between
West Egg and New York City, created by the
dumping of industrial ashes.
• It represents the moral and social decay that
results from the uninhibited pursuit of wealth, as
the rich indulge themselves with regard for
nothing but their own pleasure.
• The valley of ashes also symbolizes the plight of
the poor, like George Wilson, who live among the
dirty ashes and lose their vitality as a result
Chapter Two
2. Who is Dr. TJ Eckleburg? Why did Fitzgerald
include him as part of the Valley of Ashes?
•
•
The Eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg is a billboard set over
the Valley of Ashes: gigantic blues eyes looking out
of yellow spectacles (27).
Fitzgerald may have put him there as a point of
interest; maybe to show that the area was
forgotten…like the billboard.
Chapter Two
3. What might the Dr. TK Eckleburg symbolize?
•
•
It may represent God staring down upon and judging
American society as a moral wasteland.
The eyes also come to represent the essential
meaninglessness of the world and the arbitrariness
of the mental process by which people invest objects
with meaning.
Chapter Two
4. Describe George Wilson.
• Blonde; “faintly handsome”; light blue
eyes
• “Spiritless”, exhausted owner of a rundown auto shop at the edge of the VOA
• George, a pushover, loves and idealizes
his wife, Myrtle
Chapter Two
5. How does George interact with his wife? Describe
their relationship.
• It is evident that George is subservient to his
wife; Myrtle is the Alpha in their relationship;
she “walk[s] through her husband as if her were
a ghost” (30). She bosses him around and he
adheres to her wishes.
• She is having an affair with Tom and George is
oblivious to this. Myrtle feels as if she was
tricked into marrying George; she “thought he
was a gentleman” (she thought he had more
money than he really did) and it turns out he had
to borrow a suit for their wedding (39).
Chapter Two
6. What are some of the characteristics of the people
at the party Nick attends with Tom?
• Catherine – Myrtle’s sister,
well-maintained (maybe a
little over the top), haughty
• Mr. McKee – downstairs
neighbor, pale feminine man,
photographer
• Mrs. McKee – shrill, languid,
handsome, and horrible
Chapter Two
7. Why is the little dog included in this chapter?
Where is he at the end of the chapter?
• The dog is included in the
chapter to show how
frivolous Myrtle is (and how
Tom gives her whatever she
wants).
• By the end of the chapter the
dog is sitting on the coffee
table – forgotten and
whimpering. (41)
Chapter Two
8. Was the violence between Myrtle Wilson and Tom
unusual? How do you know?
•
•
•
No, the violence between Tom and Myrtle is not
unusual.
We already know that Tom is abusive and
aggressive (Daisy’s black and blue knuckles). It
doesn’t seem as if Tom even hesitated to hit Myrtle
for repeating Daisy’s name.
Mr. McKee stares at the scene and walks out as if
nothing has happened.
•
Public acceptance of domestic violence
Chapter Three
Discussion!
• Take a look at the party scene.
• p. 39-41
• p. 43-45
• What are your impressions of Gatsby’s parties? Why does he
throw them?
Chapter Three
1. With Gatsby’s parties, “people were not invited – they
went there.” Explain.
•
•
Gatsby’s parties were social events; people found out about
them via word of mouth and just showed up.
Some of Gatsby’s guests have never even seen Gatsby, nor
do they know him.
•
•
“In his blue gardens, men and girls came and went like moths
among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
(43)
“It was a testimony to the romantic speculation he inspired
that there were whispers about him from those who had found
little that it was necessary to whisper about in this world.” (48)
Chapter Three
2. Who are the girls in yellow and what is their
significance?
• The two girls in yellow represent the
materialism of the era.
•
One girl tears her gown; Gatsby replaces it with
another expensive gown.
• They are also the beginning of the many
rumors that are circulating about Gatsby.
• Typical type of person that comes to his
parties: materialistic, selfish, haughty (43) (4748)
Chapter Three
3. Who is Owl Eyes?
• A “stout, middle-aged man”
• Questions the authenticity of the books
in Gatsby’s library
• Wonders if Gatsby is a mere illusion; seems
shocked by his attention to detail/ability to
cover his bases
• “What thoroughness! What realism!” (50)
Discussion!
• Why is Owl Eyes so shocked that
Gatsby’s library is real?
Chapter Three
4. List the different rumors that are floating around
about Gatsby.
1.
2.
3.
4.
Gatsby killed a man
He was a German spy
He grew up in Germany
He was in the American
Army during the war
5. He’s an Oxford man
Discussion!
• Nick meets Gatsby…finally!
• p. 47
• p. 51
• Jordan says, “Anyhow, he gives large parties…they’re so
intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy?” (49) (54)
• Do you agree with her seemingly contradictory statement?
Chapter Three
5. Does Gatsby drink? Include a quote from the text
that proves your answer.
• He does not.
• “I wondered if the fact that he was not
drinking helped to set him off from his
guests, for it seemed to me that he grew
more correct as the fraternal hilarity
increased.” (54)
Chapter Three
6. Chicago and Philadelphia both want Gatsby on the
phone. Who are they?
• Chicago and Philadelphia are “business
associates” of Gatsby’s.
• One can assume that it has something to
do with bootlegging and organized crime,
as those two cities were hubs for the
mob in this era.
Chapter Three
7. What story is floating around about Jordan and her
“incurable dishonesty”?
•
•
•
It is rumored that Jordan Baker cheated in her first big golf
tournament.
She supposedly moved her ball in the semi-final round for a
better shot.
The scandal died away when a caddie retracted his
statement
•
•
Jordan, therefore, “instinctively avoided clever shrewd men”
and kept a “cool insolent smile turned to the world.”
Nick: “Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame
deeply—”
Discussion!
• Let’s talk about
“it takes two to make an accident”
(58) (63)
Chapter 4
Chapter Four
1. Is Nick being sarcastic or serious based on the
provided quote? Explain your choice.
• Quote: “…those who accepted Gatsby’s
hospitality…paid him the subtle tribute of
knowing nothing whatever about him”
• Nick is being sarcastic. He does not
approve of the people that attend
Gatsby’s parties; he believes that they are
materialistic and should at least know
their host.
Chapter Four
2. If you had to pick a consummate Gatsby guest, who
would you pick and why?
• Klipspringer is the complete/
representative guest because he has
been to Gatsby’s parties for so long and
so frequently that people begin to call
him “the border” as if he lived there (67)
Chapter Four
3. During the drive to lunch, what details does Gatsby
reveal to Nick about his:
• Family
• Jay comes from a wealthy family in the mid-west and that all of
his family is dead
• Education
• Jay was educated at Oxford because it was a “family tradition”
• Source of Income
• Jay “came into a good deal of money”
• He lived in all the capitols of Europe and collected jewels,
hunted game, and developed a passion for art
Chapter Four
4. Where in the “middle-west” does Gatsby claim to
be from?
• Gatsby claims to be from San
Francisco (70)
Chapter Four
5. What is the “white card” that Gatsby uses with the
policeman?
• The white card that Gatsby pulls out for
the policeman is the Christmas card that
he gets from the Police Commissioner
every year.
• Demonstrates his importance and makes it
seem as if he is above the law because of
his “favors.” (73)
Chapter Four
6. How might the character and appearance of Meyer Wolfshiem
suggest an element of anti-Semitism on the part of the
author and the time period?
• Wolfshiem’s character shows some of the
anti-Semitic feelings of the time period
because of the negative way in which his
appearance is described.
• He has a small, flat nose; large head; long
hair coming out of each nostril; tiny
(beady) eyes;
• Purposefully stereotypical (73-74)
Chapter Four
7. Describe Daisy’s life as a young girl of 18. What were the
rumors circulating about her?
•
•
•
•
As a young girl, Daisy lived in Louisville, Kentucky
She is from a wealthy family and had MANY suitors
She and Gatsby had a brief relationship before he went off
to war
Rumors
• She packed her bags to bid Gatsby farewell in NY; the fact that
she tried to run away created tension within her family
• Inference = her family forced her to stay by making her marry Tom
Chapter Four
8. What is the significance of Tom’s car accident in Santa
Barbara? How long had he been married?
• His accident shows just how long he has
been cheating on his wife
• Three months after they were married he
gets into this accident
• He had one of the hotel chambermaids in the car
with him (82)
• Inference = Their marriage crippled by infidelity from
the onset
Chapter Four
9. Did Daisy have any affairs in Chicago? Explain in detail how
you know.
• Daisy did have affairs in Chicago
• She used her sobriety to an advantage
• She was able to hide her indiscretions
• Jordan says, “There’s something in that
voice of hers.” (82)
Chapter Four
10. THE BURNING QUESTION: Why did Gatsby buy his huge
house and throw all his parties?
• Gatsby has been keeping up with Daisy
throughout the years
• He bought the house across the bay from her
and throws all of these elaborate parties in
hopes that she will show up so he can woo her
to win her back
• Gatsby’s greatness is a façade; hidden behind it he
strives to possess the very one thing he is unable to
buy
Chapter Five
Chapter Five
1. What “sideline” partnership does Gatsby offer
Nick?
• Gatsby offers Nick a “sideline” parnership in his
bootlegging business, a “rather confidential sort
of thing” (87-88)
• Nick declines:
• “Because the offer was obviously and tactlessly for a
service to be rendered, I had no choice except to cut
him off there.” (88)
Chapter Five
2. Describe Gatsby’s behavior up until the moment he
sees Daisy again.
• Gatsby appears distracted and paranoid
• He has Nick’s lawn cut and sends a “greenhouse” over to adorn
Nick’s home
• Upon arrival at Nick’s, Nick notices “dark signs of sleeplessness
beneath his eyes.” (89)
• While waiting for their guests, Jay anxiously keeps “peering
toward the bleared windows from time to time as if a series of
invisible but alarming happenings were taking place outside.”
(89)
• He threatens to leave several minutes before guests are set to
arrive
Chapter Five
3. Contrast Gatsby and Daisy’s interaction before Nick leaves
with their interaction after he returns.
• Prior to Nick leaving
•
•
•
•
Embarrassed
Strained; shy
Uncomfortable
It is raining
• When Nick returns
•
•
•
•
Serene (“He literally glowed…” 94)
Daisy is crying but seems happy
Gatsby finally “sees” Nick
The rain stops
Chapter Five
4. When Daisy is upstairs washing her face, Gatsby contradicts an
earlier piece of information he had given Nick. How does he
explain this discrepancy?
•
•
Gatsby previously told Nick that he inherited his
money
He corrects himself by explaining that he lost the
money her inherited in “the big panic of the war,”
but earned it all back in a matter of three years (95)
Chapter Five
5. Why does Gatsby pull out all of his shirts for Daisy and why
does she cry at the sight of them?
•
Gatsby shows Daisy his shirts to impress her, to show
how far he has come from the soldier she knew five
years ago
• “…he revalued everything in his house according to the
measure of response it drew from he well-loved eyes... He
stared around at his possessions in a dazed way as though in
her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer
real.” (96-97)
•
She is crying upon the realization that he has done all
of this for her

The Great Gatsby - Union High School