The Great Gatsby – Chapter 5

Chapter Five

So (finally) back to Gatsby (and on this quickly, I apologise for the sporadic posting, but I believe that for the foreseeable future posts will likely be coming every second day, since this isn’t my full time job I simply don’t have the time to post everyday, bookish topic Tuesday well remain weekly with as many posts during the week as possible, thanks), and Nick is just getting home after learning about the connection between Daisy and Gatsby, and finds that at 2 in the morning, Gatsby’s home is lit up, and oddly, this isn’t another party, nobody’s here. And Gatsby doesn’t seem to notice that his house is lit up so bright, and even suggest that they go off to Coney Island, even though, it’s 2 am! Then he suggests they go swim in the swimming pool that he has, but Nick just wants to get to bed. Though Nick brings up his discussion with Jordan, and says that he will invite Daisy over, Gatsby doesn’t seem too thankful, and just emphasises that he doesn’t want to put Nick out in the process. But this whole thing is an imposition for Nick, and Gatsby is suggesting that first they get the lawn cut, and I thought he was trying to offer him money to get the house looking better, but now it looks like a business deal of some sort. And indeed, it is about the somewhat dodgy dealing with Gatsby’s friend, Wolfshiem, to which, Nick immediately refuses.

Nick rings up Daisy, and the day of the meeting (without Tom of course) approaches, and it’s a gloomy day (is that symbolic of the events to come?). Mr Gatsby sends over a man to cut Nick’s lawn, and Gatsby sends over a ‘greenhouse’ worth of flowers and plants to make Nick’s house better. The man himself, arrives a little later, looking exceedingly nervous. He checks Nick’s tea supply and the lemon cakes he bought, it’s a little endearing to see him so anxious about the visit, but at the same time, I don’t like what’s going on, it just doesn’t feel right. Then Gatsby thinks Daisy isn’t going to arrive, and that ‘it’s too late’, so gets up to go and leave, even though she’s just two seconds away.

Nick goes out to meet her, and she is suspicious as to why she was called here alone, and they send away her chauffeur for an hour. When they enter, Gatsby has left the house, and a moment later, he knocks on the door, pretending to just be dropping around. And immediately it is very awkward for Nick, as Daisy and Gatsby finally recognise each other. Gatsby is so rigid with nerves, it is way over the top, but even Nick is stuck for words in this situation. The arrival of tea and food (which always works) eases the situation slightly, but as Nick goes to leave for a moment, Gatsby is so startled, and demands to know where he is going, scared to be alone with Daisy for a moment, and follows him out. He fears that he’s made a grave mistake in arranging this meeting, which at the moment I agree with, because he’s freaking out too much for this to be a good idea. He needs to calm down, and even still, is it a good idea to go behind Tom’s back? Probably not, and the repercussions of this could be severe.

Both Daisy and Gatsby are so embarrassed, and the best thing for Nick to do is to give some tough love and tell Gatsby that he’s being rude and acting like a child and that he should basically ‘man up’ and get on with it. Nick just leaves the house, there is no real point in him sitting with them, it will just make things worse. When he came back in, the two of them were very much focused on one another, even though I think they had stopped talking. Daisy had been crying, and Gatsby was no longer embarrassed, he was radiant and had almost forgotten Nick’s very existence. He’s invited Daisy over to take a look at his own house, and very much wants Nick to come along too. I’m not sure why, is it because he still feels awkward, he wants a witness of some sort, thinks it would be weird if they were alone in his house?

Gatsby admires his own house while they wait for Daisy to freshen up, and he reveals that it took him three years to save up to buy that house, even though he inherited a lot of his money, he lost a lot of it after the war. Strangely, Gatsby answers peculiarly when Nick asks what business he is in, and he at first says that’s ‘his business’, so it’s probably slightly illicit in nature. I mean he even says he was in the drug business then in the oil business, and I guess in relation to the former, he means like pharmaceuticals, or was this still in a time when drugs like morphine and cocaine were widely available?

Daisy returns and is so surprised at how large Gatsby’s home is, that she cannot imagine what it is like living there alone, which I guess is why he is hardly alone, with all his parties, and invites to people, to make sure his house doesn’t feel so lonely. When you have a large house, it is most certainly lonely if you are in it alone. For Nick going through the house, with no guests around, and just the three of them, very quietly, is strange, and I like that he thought it was almost going to be a surprise party, and people would pop up at any moment. I wonder at the statement that the bedrooms were ‘period’, that’s something we say now, when we refer to buildings that were built back then, so what do they mean by period, of the time, or half a century ago? And what on earth are liver exercises? Do I want to know?

I have to say that Nick calling Gatsby’s room an apartment is strange, because this is his house, not his apartment. I guess the meaning was a little different back then, and everything was so formal, and saying Gatsby’s section, wouldn’t do. Speaking of Gatsby he’s like a little puppy, can’t keep his eyes of Daisy, and nearly makes a fool of himself falling down the stairs. Sure, it’s endearing, but it’s starting to get too much. Even he is starting to calm down a little, but goes ahead showing them all his clothes, which are of course imported from London, and Daisy goes and cries over them. Clearly there is more to it than seeing beautiful shirts, if there isn’t, she really needs to get a grip, but, it’s more the fact that she could have had a life with him, and she can’t really now, without a whole lot of trouble, which is probably what is around the corner.

It really does start to get too much, and Nick tries to leave, but they won’t let him, I think they are almost keeping him here to ensure they don’t do anything they shouldn’t. I can say that I am envious that Gatsby has a music room, I mean, I have a room, which has a nice upright piano which is old enough that my dad learnt piano on it, but I certainly don’t call it a music room. That and a library are two rooms which I aspire to have in my house in the future. I don’t quite like how demanding Gatsby is of Klipspringer to play the piano, I would hate to be forced to try and play something, if he wants something to be played so much, he should learn to play it himself!

Finally Nick gets a chance to leave, and it seems that Gatsby has made his expectation of this moment with Daisy a little too high with all his fantasising of it, and according to Nick, he has to visibly alter himself. I’m not sure what to make of everything, Gatsby isn’t going to get over Daisy, and Daisy has certainly mixed feelings, but with Tom in the picture they can’t do anything. I hope the job that Gatsby was offering Nick, wasn’t to murder Tom, that would be most unsavoury.

One thought on “The Great Gatsby – Chapter 5

  1. “Don’t talk so much, old sport,” commanded Gatsby. “Play!”

    “IN THE MORNING, IN THE EVENING, AIN’T WE GOT FUN——”

    Outside the wind was loud and there was a faint flow of thunder along the Sound. All the lights were going on in West Egg now; the electric trains, men-carrying, were plunging home through the rain from New York. It was the hour of a profound human change, and excitement was generating on the air…”

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