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.