The Great Gatsby Chapter Five
Summary • Nick organises a meeting between Gatsby and Daisy at his house. • On the day of the meeting it is raining heavily. • Nick leaves Gatsby and Daisy to renew their acquaintances. • He returns to find Daisy has been crying. • The three of them go to visit Gatsby’s house. • Nick reflects on the intensity of the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy.
Weather Symbolism • The weather in Gatsby tends to match the emotion and tone of the narrative. • At the start of Gatsby and Daisy’s reunion, it is raining heavily. This matches the awkward and melancholy nature of their initial reunion. • The sun comes out just as their love reawakens.
Gatsby’s Mansion • This highlights American nostalgia for the hierarchic society of Europe. • It has a ‘feudal silhouette’, outlined ironically by modern electric lighting. • This highlights that in early twentieth-century America wealthy individuals were keen to assert their superiority. This is at odds with American ideals.
American Ideals • Thomas Jefferson and the other founding fathers envisioned America as a place that would be free of the injustices of class and caste, a place where people from humble backgrounds would be free to try to improve themselves economically and socially. Chapter 5 suggests that this dream of improvement, carried to its logical conclusion, results in a superficial imitation of the old European social system that America left behind.
Gatsby and Daisy • At first their meeting is awkward • Gatsby breaks Nicks clock. This represents the clumsiness of his attempt to stop time and retrieve the past. • Daisy is overwhelmed by Gatsby’s ‘beautiful shirts’. These are all imported form England.
Gatsby and Daisy • ‘After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy he was consumed with wonder at her presence’. • Combining innocence and vision, ‘wonder’ is a key word in the novel. • It recurs with amplified significance and its very end.