Who Is Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby? - Character Analysis & Quotes

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  • 0:01 Who Is Jordan Baker?
  • 0:44 Baker & Nick Carraway
  • 2:29 Baker, Buchanan, & Gatsby
  • 3:32 Character Analysis
  • 4:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christina Boggs

Chrissy has taught secondary English and history and writes online curriculum. She has an M.S.Ed. in Social Studies Education.

'The Great Gatsby' features numerous major and minor characters, but few are as important as Jordan Baker. While her role may seem small to some readers, this lesson explains and analyzes the impact of Jordan Baker.

Who is Jordan Baker?

When you read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, it's easy to get caught up in the main character, Jay Gatsby. After all, the novel is about him, right? While the main focus is Gatsby, characters like Jordan Baker play an important role in moving the story forward.

So back to the big question - who is Jordan Baker? Jordan Baker is the close friend of Daisy Buchanan, the focus of Jay Gatsby's infatuation. Additionally, she acts as the casual love interest of the narrator, Nick Carraway. A professional female golfer and socialite, Jordan represents the privileged upper class women who spend their days lazing about and their nights gallivanting at extravagant parties.

Baker and Nick Carraway

The narrator first encounters Jordan Baker on his first visit to his cousin Daisy's home on the East Egg on the Long Island Sound. Carraway is immediately taken by her. In Carraway's words, 'Almost any exhibition of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me.' She's quiet and aloof, and her sheer presence causes Nick Carraway to apologize for any small movement on his own part.

During their first meeting, Carraway learns the first of two important pieces of information about his cousin. Daisy's husband, Tom, receives a phone call during their meal, causing the two hosts to leave the table. When Nick asks what's going on, Jordan informs him, 'Why - Tom's got some woman in New York.' This little nugget of information not only illuminates the inner workings of Daisy's personal life but also shows Jordan's willingness to gossip about her friend.

Over the course of the summer, Carraway and Baker develop a casual dating relationship. Through their time together, Carraway begins to realize who Jordan Baker really is. While she's lovely to look at and deeply charming, Carraway can't ignore some of her more glaring flaws.

For starters, Jordan Baker is a liar. Although Carraway had only just met Jordan Baker at his cousin's home, he recognizes her name. A few years prior, Baker was associated with a golf cheating scandal where she had allegedly moved her golf ball - a big no-no! According to Carraway, Jordan is incurably dishonest, and she wasn't able to endure being at a disadvantage... she began dealing in subterfuges when she was very young... A subterfuge is a lie for personal gain. In an effort to always stay ahead, Jordan turns her back on telling the truth to get what she wants.

Baker, Buchanan, and Gatsby

While Jordan Baker's minor romance with Nick Carraway is interesting to the reader, she also plays a significant role in moving the plot of the novel forward. After a chance encounter between Baker and Gatsby, Carraway learns that Jordan had known the mysterious Gatsby long before he became a legendary party host. At Gatsby's request, Jordan informs Nick about Gatsby and Daisy's young romance.

Baker describes the younger Gatsby to Carraway: 'The officer [Gatsby] looked at Daisy while she was speaking, in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at sometime…' As the story unfolds, Carraway learns that Baker had witnessed the love between Daisy and Gatsby before Daisy married Tom Buchanan. Baker was so close to the situation that she actually witnessed Daisy's meltdown before her wedding.

Ultimately, Jordan, on behalf of Gatsby, asks Nick Carraway for a favor: 'He wants to know -- if you'll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over.' This small request leads to the reconnection of Daisy and Gatsby that launches the plot of the novel forward.

Character Analysis

Through the various interactions of Carraway and Baker, we learn more about who she is as a person. At face value, she's pretty and compelling. She surrounds herself with 'inferior men' to feel more important and in control. For Carraway, she represents a diversion, someone to whom he can pay attention even if he doesn't actually love her.

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