Chapter 5

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Chapter 5
Summary
• Nick organises a meeting at his house between
Daisy and Gatsby.
• Late at night, Gatsby’s house is brightly lit. He
and Nick discuss planned meeting with Daisy.
On the agreed day, it is raining heavily. Leaving
Gatsby and Daisy to renew their acquaintance,
Nick wanders into his garden for half and hour
contemplates Gatsby’s mansion. He recalls that
the house was built a brewer, who aspired to be
kind of feudal lord, with his workers housed in
thatched cottages. He returns to the room to
find that Daisy has been crying.
• Gatsby then gives them a guided tour of his
house, showing off his possessions, especially
his expensive, imported clothes.
• Alone with Nick, Gatsby admits that the
money he bought the mansion with was
made in just three years. Then, with
Daisy, they go to look at the house. The
interior contains a range of items
imported from Europe.
• Nick thinks about the nature of
Gatsby’s desire for this woman, and
remarks on the intensity of their
relationship. Eventually, he leaves them
alone together.
Nick Carraway
• During Daisy and Gatsby’s meeting, Nick says
that he is “Aware of the loud beating of my
own heart”. He obviously shares Gatsby’s
nervousness. This shows us the kind of
identification Nick is making with Gatsby.
Portraying himself as rather dull, starting to
lose his hair, his head full of matters derived
from the world of finance, Nick seems to
take pleasure in Gatsby’s doomed life as
romantic hero and this, perhaps, tells us
more about our narrator than our
protagonist.
• Nick is turning Gatsby into a larger than
life mythical figure when he describes
Gatsby as being “like an ecstatic patron of
recurrent light”. But in spite of the
heightened style of his account there are
moments that reveal a close personal
identification, when he seems to share in
Gatsby’s pleasure and pain.
• “I’m going to call up Daisy tomorrow and
invite her over here to tea…What day
would suit you?”
• Nick is happy to act as a go-between to
facilitate the relationship between Gatsby
and Daisy
Daisy Buchanan
• Daisy’s normally glib character is immediately apparent
when Nick calls her to invite her for tea :-
‘Who is “Tom”?’ she asked innocently.
• However, it is clear by her reaction that she gets a shock
when she first meets Gatsby
“From the living room I heard a sort of choking murmur
and part of a laugh…Daisy’s voice on a clear artificial
note…a pause; it endured horribly…..Daisy who was sitting
frightened but graceful, on the edge of a stiff chair”
• However, as time passes, it is clear that Daisy relaxes:-
‘I’m glad, Jay.’ Her throat, full of aching, grieving beauty,
told only of her unexpected joy.”
• “There must have been moments even that
afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his
dreams – not through her own fault, but
because of the colossal vitality of his illusion.
It had gone beyond her, beyond everything.”
Gatsby in Love
• Gatsby seems to be stunned by Daisy’s
presence (page 98):
• “stared around…in a dazed way”
• He regresses into an awkward teenager
when he sees Daisy again.
• “he nearly toppled down a flight of
stairs”
• “…he was consumed with wonder”
Faking It
• Both Gatsby and Daisy strain to seem polite and
relaxed during their meeting.
• “muttered”
Wonder
• Words are not sufficient for either Gatsby or
Daisy to express their feelings:
• Gatsby talks about his shirts
• Daisy seems almost ridiculous as she “bent her
head into the shirts and began to cry stormily”
Gatsby and Light
• When Nick returns home from his date in the city
with Jordan Baker, Gatsby's house is ablaze with
lights from tower to cellar, but there is no party and
no sound.
• “As my taxi groaned away I saw Gatsby walking
toward me across his lawn.”
“Your place looks like the World's Fair,” I said.
“blazing with light”
“an ecstatic patron of recurrent light”
“the house glowed full of light” (102)
•
•
•
•
• Metaphor
• Makes him seem like a mythical figure, who can bring
light and happiness.
• Nick is hero worshipping him
Loneliness
• Despite his wealth Gatsby seems lonely:
“It was strange to reach the marble
steps and find no stir of bright
dresses…and hear no sound”
The Green Light
• Gatsby associates Daisy with the green
light:
• It is distant and full of hope.
• It is one way in which he has idealised
the thought of her- distant and perfect
• “seemed as close as a star to the moon”
• The reality of Daisy cannot possibly live
up to the illusion: Now it was again a
green light on a dock. His count of
enchanted objects had diminished by
one.
Foreshadowing
• The end of the chapter
• Even that afternoon when Daisy
tumbled short of his dreams…because
of the colossal vitality of his illusion.
• There is foreshadowing of the tragedy
to come:
• His ghostly heart.
Symbolism - Weather
• When Gatsby and Daisy first meet the weather
matches their mood. The rain adds depression
and melancholy to the scene
• However, as their love reawakens and hope
emerges for the possibility of a future
relationship, the sun comes out :-
“ the sun shone again….twinkle bells of
sunshine”
• The improvement in the weather is
representative of the improvement in Gatsby’s
mood and in Gatsby’s life now that he has been
reunited with Daisy
Symbolism - Clock
• “Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt
dangerously at the pressure of his head,
whereupon he turned and caught it with
trembling fingers, and set it back in place”
• His nervousness about how Daisy’s attitude
to him may have changed causes him to
knock over Nick’s clock. This symbolises
the clumsiness of his attempts to stop
time and retrieve the past
Symbolism – Gatsby’s House
• “Inside we wandered through Marie
Antoinette music-rooms and Restoration
Salons…swathed in rose and lavender
silk…through dressing rooms and
poolrooms and bathrooms with sunken
baths”
• Gatsby’s mansion is not a home, but
simply an extravagant prop in his
attempt to woo Daisy
Klipspringer
• ‘Kilspringer plays the piano…. ‘I don’t
hardly play at all”
• There is no sense of friendship between
Gatsby and his lodger. They do not even
refer to each other using first names.
This suggests that he is just another
prop in the Gatsby show
• “Doing liver exercises on the floor”
• Symbolic of the over indulgent lives of
the American Upper classes. These
were exercises designed to compensate
for the over consumption of alcohol
Structure
• This is the pivotal chapter of the novel
• Previously, Gatsby’s reunion with Daisy
has existed only in PROSPECT
• However, from Chapter 5 on the plot
shifts to focus on the romance between
Gatsby and Daisy
• In addition, this chapter introduces the
theme of the past’s significance to the
future
Theme - European Prestige
• Gatsby’s house if full of items imported
from Europe which show his prestige
and social status, particularly to Daisy
who is more than aware of the
implication of such items.
• Gatsby has clothes sent from England.
Daisy is overwhelmed by his “beautiful
shirts.”
Theme – New World contrasting
European prestige
• American nostalgia for the hierarchic society of Europe is
obvious in Gatsby’s mansion, and its history. It has a
“feudal silhouette”, outlined ironically by up to date
electric lighting. The brewer who had it built aspired to
be a feudal lord. Feudal society seems unjust to modern
democratic sensibilities, yet it is evident that in early
twentieth century America, wealthy individuals were keen
to assert their superiority, to proclaim their status in
ways at odds with the ideal of equality. The
characteristic quality of feudal life was stability.
Relationships between the ruling class of lords and the
peasantry remained unchanged through generations. It is
ironic then that a citizen in a modern capitalist state,
whose characteristic quality is change, dynamism, the
creation of new markets and new modes of production,
should desire to imitate the feudal set-up.
Feudalism
• A political and economic system of Europe
from the 9th to about the 15th century,
based on the holding of all land in fief (In
Medieval feudalism a fief was a vassal's
source of income, granted to him by his lord
in exchange for his services. The fief usually
consisted of land and the labour of peasants
who were bound to cultivate it).
• Nick observes, “Americans, while willing, even
eager, to be serfs, have always been
obstinate about being peasantry”. The
distinction between serf and peasant is a
fine one, as both terms imply a condition of
servitude, enforced labour and obedience to
a master. Nick may be suggesting that while
Americans might in effect be skivvies at
work, they would resist being openly cast in a
peasant role, which immediately suggests the
inequalities of medieval European European
society.
• Nick works professionally managing financial
bonds. An older meaning of bondsman was a
labourer bound to a master, in other words a
‘serf’. Through this word play F. Scott
Fitzgerald casts further ironic light upon
America’s supposed clean break from the
European past. Discussing the impact that Daisy
has made upon Gatsby during their reunion, Nick
comments, “After his embarrassment and his
unreasoning joy he was consumed with wonder
at her presence”. ‘Wonder’ is a key word in the
novel, and it recurs with even more significance
at the end, where it is usedby a dramatic first
encounter with the American continent.
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