The Great Gatsby – Chapter 4

Chapter Four

On Sunday morning, everyone returns for another get together, and once again talk is about Gatsby and all the rumours about him, like he’s a bootlegger (sells alcohol illegally during the prohibition, well he’s certainly got all the alcohol from somewhere!) or that he killed a man who figured out his true identity (second cousin to the devil). Nick made a habit of writing down everyone’s name who went to Mr Gatsby’s over the summer, why he thought this was a good idea, I’m not sure. But it’s certainly an interesting collection of people, with some powerful people there, and others who Nick believes almost live with Gatsby, and don’t have another home, and just come so often to his house instead. I really don’t see why he gives us the list of names, is it supposed to give us a sense of the crowd, is it to impress us, is it to write them down for this tale, or did he do it to track them down and kill them? I have no idea.

So Nick has been twice to Gatsby’s parties, been on his hydroplane, and made use of Gatsby’s beach (at his insistence), and now Gatsby pulls into his driveway, and says they are going out to lunch together, and he better hop in. Sorry, if someone pulled up to my house and said that, with no notice at all, I’d be annoyed, you can’t expect me to just drop everything and go have lunch with you. Even if it is a weekend (which I hope it is, otherwise, why aren’t they working?), maybe I don’t want to go out to lunch with you, ever thought of that? Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh, but really, the presumptuous manner of Gatsby isn’t doing him any favours.

Nick has found that Gatsby seems to have very little to say, maybe he’s a man of few words? Then he starts to ask Nick what his opinion is of him, which really how do you reply to that? Tell the truth and hurt that person, they don’t really want to hear the truth. And what’s odd is that Gatsby is aware of all the rumours and stories about him, and yet seems unconcerned about them being told, he just wants Nick to know the truth about him (and I guess he did the same with Jordan). And yet, he seems to tell Nick the ‘lie’, that he was educated in Oxford, since it was family tradition, and his family was wealthy, but have died. Maybe it’s the truth, but Nick and Jordan aren’t convinced. After he came into the money, he spent much of his time travelling, and living it up, trying to forget what had happened, which of course doesn’t work. And even now, he’s partying away all the time, and it’s all probably to distract him.

Nick could hardly contain his laughter, he doesn’t believe Gatsby for a second, and thinks his attempt at whatever this is, is laughable. I really don’t know, is Gatsby just lying to make himself more interesting? I have no clue. He says he went to war, attempting to die, but turns out he was lucky, and ended up becoming a decorated major! And he pulls out a medal from Montenegro, a real medal, he couldn’t have forged it, and if he did, why on earth would he bother? I guess this is the story Jordan was told, no wonder she thought it was very interesting, I just wonder why Gatsby is telling them all this? And then he pulls out a photo of him in Oxford, maybe not so much a lie anymore, maybe it’s the truth?

Then Gatsby reveals that he was going to make a request of Nick today, so he has told Nick all this to make him less of a stranger. He tends to drift around strangers, since it helps him forget, but Jordan is going to speak with Nick tonight about ‘this matter’. Nick doesn’t take it too well, he didn’t want to speak about Gatsby at tea, that’s not why he organised it, and I think he’s a little jealous of Gatsby to be honest, and he regrets ever going over to Gatsby’s. As they continue on to what I think is going to be New York, a police officer pulls them over, and all Gatsby has to do is show him a card from the police commissioner, and the officer leaves. Wow, if you have money and connections you’re above the law! Really if I was that officer, I’d say that that was an even bigger excuse to detain/arrest him. Then again, maybe that’s why I’m not a police officer…

Strangely it seems that Gatsby and Nick parted ways before meeting each other again for lunch, I thought they were going to lunch together. And Nick is introduced to Mr Wolfshiem, and I think they’re all having lunch together. Can I just express my love for the word somnambulatory, what an awesome word! It’s certainly one of the highlights of reading a classic book, cause they use words that we just don’t anymore, it makes things interesting. Mr Wolfshiem has an interesting story about a place across the road where an acquaintance of his (or maybe friend) was shot by someone outside. Mr Wolfshiem gets confused about who Nick is, clearly Gatsby is introducing Wolfshiem to someone else, who wants a ‘connection’, as in a criminal one. Which now draws deep suspicion on Gatsby, what is he doing? He says Jordan will explain, and that it’s nothing underhand, but why not tell Nick himself?

And all the time he runs off to answer the phone, I know he’s important, but what’s he doing exactly? Too many questions! Then Mr Wolfshiem says that Gatsby went to Oggsford college, and not Oxford? Or did he go to both? He’s very mysterious.

Mr. Wolfshein has known Gatsby for some years, and from the outset knew he was a fine man. What’s really weird us that he has cuff-links made of human molars, WHY? Seriously, why? Molars better somehow mean something else. Interestingly, Gatsby is said to be careful about women, and won’t even look at a friend’s wife. I have to wonder is he possibly gay? Wolfshiem leaves, and seems a little agitated, even nervous, strange. Apparently he is a gambler and was behind the fixing of the 1919 world series! He just happened to see an opportunity and he too it, and he hasn’t been caught! Nick spots Tom and drags Gatsby over to say hello, but the man vanishes, once again, strange.

Now to Jordan’s story about Gatsby from 1917, well I think it’s about him. At first it’s about Jordan and Daisy, who was popular at the time, and was in her roadster with a lieutenant. Daisy tells her to skip going to the Red Cross to make bandages, and with her was Jay Gatsby. Now it makes sense, why he disappeared when Nick went to speak to Tom! I don’t think things worked out, and Daisy or Gatsby probably still have feelings for one another. “She was gay again, gay as ever.” When you read an old book, you have to pay attention to the fact that words meant things differently back then, otherwise it makes for interesting reading.

After the war, she promptly married Tom, in a most extravagant wedding. Jordan found Daisy drunk before the wedding, and having second thoughts about this because of a letter she has received. Jordan and others fixed her up, and she got married without a hitch, but I really doubt she wants to be still married to Tom, she rather be married to Gatsby. She had a child, came back to New York after a good stint in Chicago, where she was popular (Jordan suggests that’s because she doesn’t drink). When Nick went to their house, and Jordan mentioned Gatsby, it was the first time Daisy had heard it for years, and it was only then, that they realised who exactly he was. And I think Tom figured it out a little faster than the others, and that’s why he was a tad angry.

Apparently, things are a lot more complicated than they seem, Gatsby bought his house so he was just across the sound from her. So he clearly she loves her. Which explains his staring out across the bay that first time Nick saw him, this is explaining a lot. Where is this book going to go? Gatsby fighting to get Daisy back? It seems that way, since Gatsby has asked Jordan to ask Nick if he’ll ask (lot’s of asking) Daisy to come over to his house (without Tom of course) and then Gatsby will just come around. He was scared to ask Nick directly, and wants Daisy to see his house, hence why Nick’s house is the only possibility. He had been asking casually around if anyone knew Daisy, and Jordan was the first person he found who did. Gatsby seems very keen on Daisy, and it’s going to be a major conflict in the remaining part of the book. Daisy isn’t going to be told Gatsby’s coming around, but I wonder if she wants to. If she doesn’t, Gatsby needs to back off, and I hope he’s going to ask her what she wants, before trying to ‘win’ her. As for Nick, he seems pretty keen on Jordan.


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