The Great Gatsby: Guide For Your Essay: Chapter 1: Summary

Chapter 1: Summary

By F. Scott FitzgeraldRelease Year: 1925

Short Summary

The first chapter is the opening of the whole story. Here we meet several main characters and learn more about the general situation they are in, about their nature and their feelings.

The very first character we meet is Nick Carraway. He appears as a storyteller and seems to be more of an outside observer than an active participant of the story. The more you learn about him, the more you feel like he is going with the flow.

Nick starts retelling the story (which has obviously happened in the past) from citing his father’s words. Those words say, that we are not supposed to be judging anyone, who did not have the same privileges we had. Our own moral standards are not universal and if applied to everybody out there, they won’t result in anything but a misunderstanding.

In the next couple of paragraphs, we learn more about Nick. He is a young man, who recently graduated from Yale and has now moved to New York, rented a small house in the West Egg district, which is known as a neighborhood of ‘new rich’ people. It means, they have gained their wealth pretty recently, and thus are opposed to people from East Egg district, who were rich by birth. Also, we learn, that Nick differs from the people in his neighborhood. He has a great education and comes from a noble family and has a lot of contacts in the East Egg district.

One day he goes there to meet his cousin, Daisy and her husband Tom, in their house. Tom Buchanan graduated Yale too and was Nick’s co-member in a social club. In their house, Nick meets Jordan, a young, attractive, but cynical woman. She is a successful golfer, who seems to be bored with everything, that surrounds her.

The company is about to have dinner together. Here we find out more about Tom. He is a typical inhabitant of an East Egg district, who becomes more and more convinced in the righteousness of racism and white supremacy. He tries to convince everybody else to read the book called ‘The Rise of Colored Empires,’ which is full of the same ideas he declares. All this conversation is interrupted by a phone call, which Tom answers in a quite strange and unsettling manner. Daisy also rushes to the other room, chasing her husband. Jordan tells Nick, that this is a phone call from a woman, who is Tom’s secret lover from the city.

They finish their dinner in a quite awkward silence. After the meal, Daisy speaks to Nick. She talks about her daughter, and how happy she was to find out it was a girl when the child was born. She says,

I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

Nick goes back home and notices Gatsby for the first time. He is standing on the lawn and tries to reach a mysterious green light blinking on the other side of the bay.

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