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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
The novel is set in New York in the 1920's, at Nick Carraway's bungalow and Gatsby's mansion on West Egg, at the Buchanan's mansion on East Egg, in various places in New York City, including Myrtle's apartment, the Plaza Hotel, and a restaurant across from The Metropole, and in the Valley of Ashes.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
The narrator of the novel and the protagonist of the frame narrative. He is a conservative young man from the Midwest, who comes to New York to seek freedom and escape his small-town background. During the course of the novel, he turns thirty and decides to leave the East, judging it to be shallow and meaningless. At the end of the book, he has decided to return home to the Midwest and marry the girl who has been waiting for him.
The protagonist of the main plot of the novel and the character who is referenced in the book's title. A poor young man in the army, he falls in love with Daisy Fay, a wealthy and shallow "golden girl." He spends the rest of his short life trying to win Daisy's love. In order attract her attention, he amasses a fortune, earned from bootlegging and other illegal means, and builds a huge, gaudy mansion across the bay from the home of Daisy and her husband. He convinces Nick, Daisy's distant cousin, to bring the two of them together, and for awhile Gatsby and Daisy have an affair. She, however, only uses Gatsby for entertainment, to break the boredom of her life. In the end, he is shot by Wilson, who believes that Gatsby was having an affair with his wife and was responsible for her accidental death.Daisy Fay Buchanan
An attractive, wealthy, and shallow young lady. She had a fling with Gatsby when he was stationed in the army in Louisville, her hometown, and fancied that she loved him. When Gatsby was sent to Europe to fight in the war, she waited for him to return for a short while. Soon bored and impatient, she began to date other men of her same social class. She met and fell in love with the wealthy Tom Buchanan, whom she married. The young couple moved to East Egg, where they led a meaningless and shallow existence. When Daisy meets Gatsby again at Nick's house, she has an affair with him; but she will never leave Tom for Gatsby. Throughout the novel, Daisy is the object of Gatsby's dream; even in the end, he does not realize that she is not worthy of his adoration.
Daisy's wealthy husband. He is a symbol of the shallowness and carelessness of the very rich. He plays with cars and race horses, has sordid affairs, and treats Daisy shabbily. She, however, will always remain with Tom, for he offers her security and the life style to which she is accustomed.
The gaudy mistress of Tom Buchanan and the wife of George Wilson. Tom keeps an apartment for her in the city, which is the scene of a rather wild party during the book. When George realizes she is having an affair, he locks her in her room and plans to move her out West. She, however, is killed in a car accident by a hit-and-run driver, who is Daisy Buchanan.