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Most Important Events in The Great Gatsby

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  • 0:00 The Great Gatsby and…
  • 0:38 Nick Meets Jordan
  • 1:08 Nick Attends a Party…
  • 2:26 Tea with Gatsby and Daisy
  • 3:30 Myrtle Wilson and…
  • 5:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Margaret Stone

Margaret has taught both college and high school English and has a master's degree in English.

This lesson examines the most important events in ''The Great Gatsby'' by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald's novel focuses on Jay Gatsby, a man who uses his enormous wealth to reunite with Daisy, his long-lost love.

The Great Gatsby and Connections

The most important events in The Great Gatsby are woven together like a tapestry. Often, the link between the characters and events is clear. For example, Jordan Baker is a significant link between Daisy and Gatsby. Had Gatsby failed to reconnect with Daisy, with Jordan's help, the ultimate tragedy that befalls him would not have occurred. At other times, the connection is subtle, and a seemingly insignificant event, like a car stuck in a ditch, takes on greater significance once the entire plot unfolds.

Nick Meets Jordan

When Nick goes to dinner at the Buchanan's, he meets Jordan Baker, who becomes his love interest throughout the novel. Jordan asks Nick if he knows Gatsby. Daisy seems shocked at the mention of the name, but dinner is called before Gatsby can be discussed further.

During dinner, Nick learns that Tom has a mistress, Myrtle, when she interrupts dinner with a phone call. Though Daisy is upset and tense after the call, she continues to maintain light social chatter with the guests.

Nick Attends a Party at Gatsby's

When Nick first sees Gatsby, he is standing on the lawn of his mansion, staring at the sky and the water. Nick senses that Gatsby wants to be alone. Gatsby seems to reach toward the water as if he is yearning for something, but the only thing Nick can see is a green light at the end of someone's dock. The green light, Nick later learns, is Daisy's.

As the summer wears on, Nick witnesses the extravagant parties at Gatsby's mansion next door. He can see buffet tables laden with food. He hears the orchestra and the noisy crowd. When Nick goes to one of the parties for the first time, he learns that he is one of the few people who has been invited. In fact, most of the people there do not even know Gatsby. They are only there to revel in the excess.

As Nick is leaving, he sees a car in the ditch. The bystanders reprimand the man for his poor driving. 'You don't understand,' he says. 'I wasn't driving. There's another man in the car.' This event is an example of foreshadowing, which is a hint of something that will occur later in the story. The driver's mistaken identity and the horrific sight of a car accident both offer hints for major plot points that will occur later in the story.

Tea With Gatsby and Daisy

Nick thinks that Gatsby and Daisy living in the same area is a coincidence, but Jordan informs him that Gatsby purchased the mansion to be near Daisy. Jordan believes that Gatsby has been hoping that Daisy would come to one of his parties. 'He wants to know,' Jordan says, 'if you'll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over.' Jordan says Gatsby wants Daisy to see his house but doesn't want her know that the tea is his idea.

When Nick next sees Gatsby, he promises to invite Daisy to tea. Gatsby seems anxious about seeing Daisy and says he wants to have Nick's grass cut first. The next day, Nick calls Daisy to invite her to tea. 'Don't bring Tom,' he says.

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