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biography
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chapter one
chapter two
chapter three
chapter four
chapter five
chapter six
chapter seven
chapter eight
chapter nine

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The Great Gatsby Guide


chapter one


Nick Carraway, the narrator and moral center of the novel, is introduced. His tale is told in retrospect, and concerns the events of the previous year. He is a young man from the Midwest who has recently moved to New York to learn the bond business. He informs us that he has a “tendency to reserve judgements.ENick is a tolerant man, and people tend to tell him their secrets because they trust him. He finds himself staying in a small house in West Egg, next to Jay Gatsby's huge mansion. Daisy, Nick's distant cousin, lives in neighboring East Egg with her husband, Tom, and their young daughter. East Egg is the more fashionable and dignified of the two Eggs.

Nick visits Tom and Daisy for dinner one evening. He has not seen them in many years, and is not particularly close to either one of them. When he shows up at their house, he is introduced to Daisy’s childhood friend, Jordan Baker. Jordan is a professional golfer, and Daisy humorously suggests that she will play matchmaker and make Nick and Jordan a couple. During conversation, Jordan mentions that Nick must live near Jay Gatsby. While at dinner, Tom receives a phone call, presumably from his mistress. When Tom and Daisy are in the other room, Jordan tells Nick that Tom is having an affair and she claims that everyone knows. The relationship between Tom and Daisy seems unpleasant and forced. Their lives seem hollow. Tom and Daisy later inquire about a woman that they have heard Nick is engaged to. He claims not to be engaged.

Upon returning home, Nick sees Gatsby for the first time. He is standing on his lawn with his arms outstretched toward both the water and a single green light. We will later learn that this green light is coming from the end of Daisy’s dock. The light can be seen as the symbol of hope and youth that are embodied in Gatsby's dreams. As Gatsby stares at the light, his dream lives.