F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 5 Summary

This chapter recalls the meeting between Gatsby and Daisy, which begins at Nick’s home.

Prior to the meeting, Gatsby acts uninterested. But he takes some steps that show his true level of anxiety about impressing Daisy, including having the grass on Nick’s lawn cut.

The meeting feels “awkward,” as we would say today. But that awkwardness is a result of the intense feelings of Gatsby and Daisy, which words cannot express adequately.

Nick attempts to give them time to themselves, and Gatsby follows him to plead for his help with the situation. Nick chastises Gatsby for behaving foolishly, and can tell this angers Gatsby.

Later, they all go over to visit Gatsby’s house. The house is empty aside from Klipspringer, the dissolute “boarder” who never seems to leave. Gatsby pulls out hundreds and hundreds of expensive shirts in his bedroom, as if they were a sort of treasure. Nick and Daisy marvel at them. Nick sees a picture of a man on a yacht, and Gatsby describes him as Dan Cody, his former best friend.

After looking around the house, they once again find Klipspringer, and Gatsby forces him to entertain them with songs on the piano. Nick leaves Gatsby and Daisy alone together, with the suggestion being that they perhaps rekindle their former sexual relationship.

Chapter 5: Analysis

Halfway through the novel, this chapter represents an important turning point, bringing together Daisy and Gatsby.

This chapter emphasizes the fairy tale or romantic aspects of the story, in contrast to its elements of realism. The chapter begins with Nick remarking to Gatsby late at night, immediately after the events of Chapter 4, that his home “looks like the world’s fair.” It is an almost magical, otherworldly place.

When Daisy asks about why she’s invited to Nick’s house, he refers to the novel Castle Rackrent. This is an 1800 novel by the author Maria Edgeworth, about descendants of Anglo-Irish landlords who horribly mismanage their Irish estate. The reference is a bit obscure and hard to interpret. Perhaps it has to do with the “foreign” and possibly unjust ownership of land, which is a theme in Rackrent. It…

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