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Robert J Comito

February 4, 2004

Chapter 5

The Great Gatsby


    When Nick Caraway returned to West Egg, he saw the Gatsby mansion illuminated, but quiet, with no wild party like Nick thought.  Gatsby proposes a trip to Coney Island or a swim, but Nick claims to be too tired.  Nick then tried to arrange the tea party that Gatsby had suggested through Jordan. But

Gatsby nervously avoided choosing a day.  Then he decides that Nick's grass must be cut, and also proposes a job for Nick on one of Gatsby's "side businesses". Nick excuses himself from the proposal and the conversation for tiredness and predisposition.  The next day he casually invited Daisy to come alone to tea. Despite the rain, Gatsby insisted on the appearance of the whole affair, sending a man to cut Nick's grass then sending a "greenhouse" of flowers.  Nervously, Gatsby came in dressed up in white flannel, a silver shirt, and a gold tie.  He fretted while waiting for Daisy.  When they heard Daisy's car, Nick went out to get her.  When she asked why she had come, Nick replied "That's the secret of Castle Rackrent". Gatsby meanwhile snuck out, and nervously came in the front door after Daisy. For a long while, only a few comments broke the uncomfortable silence, as Daisy and Gatsby stared at each other. Absentmindedly, Gatsby tips an old clock in Nick's living room, anxiously rights it,

 and wholeheartedly apologizes. They had more futile conversation, and ate lunch. When Nick left the room for something minor, Gatsby immediately follows, clearly still uncomfortable to be in the room with Daisy, but Nick sent Gatsby back.  Nick went outside to view Gatsby's house and give Daisy and Gatsby time together.  He describes the interesting story of the brewer who had Gatsby’s house built; this millionaire tried to set himself up as a feudal lord surrounded by peasants’ shacks, but the neighbors, to his dismay, had declined. When Nick returned, he tried to distract their attentions to him in the kitchen, but he found them pensively silent, Gatsby beaming and Daisy teary-eyed. Although Nick informed them that the sun had come out, it took Gatsby some time to register, and Daisy was still overcome with joy.  Gatsby announced that the three of them would go over to his house, and while Daisy used the bathroom he discussed the house with Nick.  But Gatsby faltered in his story of how he “earned” the house—he lost some credibility with Nick. With Daisy in awe, Gatsby commenced showing off his neo-feudal mansion (decorated in tip-top shape), interrupted by finding the un-groomed boarder Mr. Klipspringer. Gatsby concentrated the whole time on how Daisy reacted to everything she saw, evaluating his possessions on that basis.  By this point, Gatsby passed from stages of embarrassment and joy to amazement.  He passed through rooms which Nick recalled in context of the party he had attended, including his "Merton College Library" With delight and pride, Gatsby showed off his elegant and colorful wardrobe, whose beautiful contents bring Daisy to tears.  Outside, Gatsby told about how he could at night see Daisy’s green dock-light, but to him the value of this had diminished, as he was now closer to Daisy. Back inside, Nick got a glimpse of Gatsby’s real past, finding photos of Dan Cody and Jay at 18 years old.  Before Gatsby could show the clippings he had collected about Daisy, he was called on business, and he had a very suspicious phone conversation.  Daisy then pointed out the romantic pink clouds on


the horizon.  Daisy and Gatsby would not let Nick leave, even though he felt out of place.  Gatsby called in Klipspringer, who reluctantly agreed to play the piano. Getting drinks, cigarettes, and lighting one lamp, Gatsby produced a romantic scene for he and Daisy to enjoy.  He was bewildered with happiness.  As Daisy and Gatsby embraced, Nick took his leave, certain they forgot about him and heading home.