The Great Gatsby – Chapter 9

Chapter Nine

So here we are, the final chapter of The Great Gatsby! A final post giving my overall review of the book will be posted soon, and I’ll be reading the 40-50 page introduction in the Popular Penguin edition, and I may comment on that as well. As for chapter 9, it’s immediately clear that Gatsby died, and that’s a shock to me, I didn’t see it coming or know it was going to happen. I did find it interesting that Nick told the story 2 years after.

I’m not really satisfied with the explanation of what happened that afternoon. Wilson saw Tom, who had the nerve to send a clearly distraught and vengeful man on to Gatsby, and say that Gatsby was Myrtle’s lover! A deplorable man! Then he and Daisy moved on and left, and she didn’t send anything to the funeral. So did she love him now, or did she just feel like reliving the past, and then realised she was bound to Tom.

The sad thing is that a man like Gatsby really had no one, even Nick, who stays around to arrange the funeral wasn’t really a friend to him. Daisy, Wolfshiem, Klipspringer, and all of the ‘friends’ from his many parties left him, ignored his death, and didn’t honour him. Gatsby’s father, Mr Gatz comes up from the west to be there, but no other family. He really adored his son, proud of what he was able to make of himself, I guess proud of living the American dream. And to see no-one come to the funeral, and only the man with the glasses from Gatsby’s library and his house staff at the burial would be so saddening and disappointing. Gatsby really was a ‘poor son-of-a-bitch’. He tried to make something of himself, and succeed, but was used by people and never loved.

Nick saw Jordan again, plainly so he could properly end it, and it was awkward. And then Nick saw Tom which was even worse. And Nick then left New York as well, the summer was over, he didn’t belong East. I think it was an interesting ending, that Gatsby believed in an ‘orgastic future’ but it always recedes further and further out of your reach, so you try harder to get it, and it continues to elude you, but he didn’t care, and he just tried harder tomorrow. And it’s not just him, I guess that’s the “American Dream” in a sense:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past

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One thought on “The Great Gatsby – Chapter 9

  1. “Every time I see Bill, I asked him to recite for me from memory the closing words of The Great Gatsby, and every time he does. He did it when Chaz and I were married, and at his own second marriage to Carolyne Starek, whom I love for many reasons, one of them that she has an infinite patience for listening to Gatsby. This recitation is not merely a ritual. It is an observance in defiance of time.In some way we are still sitting over coffee in the 1960s, and he is still reciting it to me for the first time.

    ‘I was talking with Jim Carey today,’ he told me that first time. Carey was the young journalism professor we admired. ‘I told him I was going to start memorizing passages from books. He asked me what I was going to start with. I said, “The end of Gatsby.” He said he thought that was an excellent place to start.’

    Bill told me his friend Hunter S. Thompson once warmed up by copying out every word of The Great Gatsby onm his typewriter. Not that you can immediately see Fitzgerald’s influence in Hunter’s style, although perhaps Fitzgerald’s words ‘compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired’ is the best possible description of Thompson’s life’s work.”
    – Roger Ebert, Life Itself, chapter thirty-nine

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