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MonkeyNotes-The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald-Free Booknotes Summary
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

CHAPTER IX

Summary (continued)

Nick closes his narrative by stating that his story was really a tale of the West, for Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Jordan, and he were all from the West, even though from different backgrounds. Nick's memories of his West are images of the holidays with sleigh bells in the frosty dark, trains bringing people home, and holly wreaths throwing shadows on the snow. In comparison to these images, the East seems fantastic and distorted to Nick, especially after Gatsby's death. Nick even compares the village of West Egg to a forlorn and grotesque painting by El Greco.

It is not surprising that the moral and conservative Nick decides to return home to the Midwest. Before he can leave West Egg, however, he feels obliged to put everything in order, including his relationship with Jordan Baker. He tries to tell her how he feels, but she does not seem to care. After his explanation is complete, she announces that she is engaged to another man. Since she is such a liar, Nick does not believe her, even though he knows she could have had several husbands. She then accuses Nick by saying, "You did throw me over. . .I don't give a damn about you now, but it was a new experience for me and I felt a little dizzy for awhile." She then ironically adds that she had mistakenly thought he was an honest, straightforward person. Nick, hurt by her words, answers, "I'm thirty -- five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor. After shaking hands, Nick quickly departs from Jordan forever.


In October, before he leaves for the Midwest, Nick sees Tom Buchanan on Fifth Avenue. Nick tries to avoid him, but Tom spies Nick and reaches out his hand. When Nick hesitates, Tom asks if he minds shaking his hand. The noble Nick tells him that he does mind and adds, "You know what I think of you." He then asks Tom what he had told Wilson after Myrtle's death. Tom admits he told him that Gatsby owned the yellow car. He then adds that Gatsby "had it coming to him. . .He threw dust in your eyes, just like he did in Daisy's."

He then tells Nick he has suffered greatly, saying he cried like a baby when he gave up Myrtle's rented flat. Tom is truly disgusting! Nick then comes to terms with Tom and Daisy. "They were careless people. . .They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made." Once he makes this judgement, Nick realizes he is "rid of my provincial squeamishness forever."

Gatsby's house remained empty, but it haunted Nick. On weekends, he still heard the music and laughter of Gatsby's extravagant parties; as a result, he went into the city to escape the sounds in his head. On his last night on West Egg, Nick walks over to Gatsby's mansion and down to the beach. He thinks about the distant past and how the Dutch sailors must have felt when they spied this wonderful green island. He compares it to Gatsby's probable sense of wonder when he first spied the green light of Daisy's dock. "He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it." What Gatsby never really knew or accepted was that the dream was in the past. For the Great Gatsby, however, as long as he could see the green light, he had a purpose in life.

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