The Great Gatsby Chapter 5 Summary

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  • 0:04 Reunions
  • 0:33 Synopsis
  • 3:11 Analysis
  • 5:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson we'll summarize and explore Chapter 5 of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel ''The Great Gatsby'' and provide an analysis of some key plot points.


Reunions with friends or family can run the gamut of emotions: exciting and joyful when seeing people you haven't seen in a long time, heart-wrenching when meeting over a loved one's death, and every emotion in between. In Chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby, two former lovers, Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, reunite by way of their relationships to the narrator, Nick Carraway, Daisy's cousin and Gatsby's neighbor. In this lesson, we'll explore the chapter's events and analyze their significance.


Chapter 5 begins with Nick returning home at night, the same day he had lunch with Gatsby and tea with Jordan Baker. He notices every light in Gatsby's mansion is on. Soon afterwards, Gatsby crosses the lawn, approaches Nick, and makes a couple of attempts to get Nick to do something with him. After Nick turns him down, Nick mentions he spoke with Miss Baker and proposes to invite Daisy over for tea, giving Gatsby the chance to reunite with his long-lost love. Before they part, Gatsby reveals that he has ''some business on the side'' and offers Nick a role; Nick declines.

The following day, Nick invites Daisy to tea and instructs her not to bring her husband, Tom. The day of the meeting, Nick goes to buy some supplies, including flowers, only to realize upon returning home Gatsby has arranged for everything: Gatsby's gardener has cut Nick's lawn - in the pouring rain - and a veritable ''greenhouse'' of flowers arrives as decorations for Nick's humble house. Soon after, Gatsby arrives, quite nervous and agitated. He asks for Nick's supply of tea, which annoys Nick. Nick notes how detached and pre-occupied Gatsby is. Just before 4 o'clock (when Daisy is to arrive), Gatsby gets skittish, assumes she will not come, and tries to leave. However, Nick manages to calm him down just as Daisy shows up.

Nick greets Daisy in the driveway before they go inside. Soon afterwards, Gatsby knocks lightly on the door and finds his way to the living room. Daisy is incredibly surprised, and the two share awkward exchanges with Nick and each other before tea arrives. They note that it's been almost five years since they last saw each other. After tea, Nick tries to leave to give the two some privacy. Gatsby panics, and follows Nick into the kitchen. He says the meeting was a mistake, but Nick dismisses Gatsby's concerns as nonsense. Nick tells Gatsby that he's just embarrassed, as is Daisy, and that Gatsby should return to the living room. When he does, Nick goes outside for a while.

When Nick returns, the mood has changed entirely. Gatsby is glowing while Daisy is dabbing away tears. Both are clearly very happy. Gatsby invites Daisy and Nick to his house, where he gives them the grand tour, which ends outside. Gatsby explains that on a clear day he can see the green light at the edge of her dock. Daisy and Gatsby become increasingly close throughout the visit as their love is renewed. They listen to Klipspringer (an acquaintance and frequent visitor of Gatsby's) play the piano while they admire the sunset. At one point, Daisy hooks her arm into Gatsby's and Nick notes Gatsby's swooning look.

Daisy and Gatsby grow increasingly comfortable and involved with one another. When Nick eventually moves to leave, he notices that they barely acknowledge his exit at all, so caught up are they in each other. At this point, the chapter ends.

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