Nick’s Country Getaway with Daisy

Summary

Gatsby, driven by his love for Daisy, cancels his parties that were intended to attract her. He dismisses his servants to avoid gossip and replaces them with questionable individuals associated with Meyer Wolfsheim. On a scorching summer day, Nick visits Tom and Daisy’s house in East Egg. To his surprise, Gatsby and Jordan Baker are also there. When Daisy’s baby girl is brought in, Gatsby is taken aback and finds it hard to believe that the child is real. Daisy, on the other hand, seems disinterested. As the afternoon unfolds, Gatsby and Daisy fail to hide their affection for each other. Bored, Daisy suggests going to the city, and Gatsby looks at her with passion, confirming Tom’s suspicions about them.

Tom, eager for a confrontation, seizes the opportunity when Daisy suggests they all go to New York together. Nick rides with Jordan and Tom in Gatsby’s car, while Gatsby and Daisy ride in Tom’s car. During a stop at Wilson’s garage for gas, Nick, Tom, and Jordan learn that Wilson has discovered his wife’s infidelity but doesn’t know who her lover is. Wilson plans to move her to the West. Nick notices the similarity between Tom and Wilson’s situations under the watchful eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg.

In the sweltering heat of New York City, the group decides to stay at the Plaza Hotel. Tom initiates his planned confrontation with Gatsby, mocking his constant use of “old sport” as a term of address. He accuses Gatsby of lying about attending Oxford. Gatsby admits to attending Oxford for five months as part of an army program after the war. Tom questions Gatsby’s intentions with Daisy, and Gatsby states that Daisy loves him and not Tom. Tom asserts that he and Daisy share a history that Gatsby can’t understand and accuses Gatsby of being involved in bootlegging.

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Daisy, who was in love with Gatsby earlier, finds herself drawn back to Tom during their argument. Realizing he has won, Tom sends Daisy back to Long Island with Gatsby, aiming to prove that Gatsby can’t harm him. As the tension subsides, Nick realizes it is his thirtieth birthday. On their way back to Long Island, Nick, Tom, and Jordan stumble upon a horrific scene at the border of the valley of ashes. A car has fatally struck Myrtle without stopping. Michaelis, the Greek owner of a nearby restaurant, informs them of the incident. Nick deduces that Gatsby and Daisy must have been the ones driving the yellow car from the city. Tom believes that Wilson will recall the yellow car from that afternoon and assumes Gatsby was behind the wheel.

Back at Tom’s house, Nick finds Gatsby hiding in the bushes. Gatsby explains that he was waiting there to make sure Tom didn’t harm Daisy. He reveals that Daisy was driving the car that hit Myrtle but insists on taking the blame himself. Worried about Daisy, Gatsby sends Nick to check on her. Nick finds Tom and Daisy enjoying a meal together. They have reconciled, and Nick leaves Gatsby standing alone in the moonlight.

Analysis

Chapter 7 exposes the conflict between Tom and Gatsby, shedding light on troublesome aspects of both characters. Clues about Gatsby’s criminal activities have been building up throughout previous chapters, which Tom confirms through his investigation. Tom uses this knowledge of Gatsby’s illegal dealings to publicly shame him. Similarly, Tom’s sexism and hypocrisy become more noticeable during the confrontation. He has no qualms about his own extramarital affairs but plays the role of the outraged victim when faced with his wife’s infidelity.

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The confrontation between Gatsby and Tom underscores the significance of time and the past. Gatsby’s obsession with reliving past happiness drives him to demand that Daisy admit she never loved Tom. He needs assurance that she has always loved him and remained emotionally loyal. Tom, in contrast, uses their intimate history together to remind Daisy of their shared feelings. By controlling the past, Tom undermines Gatsby’s vision of the future. Tom’s confidence in sending Daisy back with Gatsby confirms Nick’s observation that Gatsby’s dream is now shattered.

Gatsby’s decision to take the blame for Daisy exemplifies his deep love for her and highlights his inherent nobility. Despite Daisy’s indifference towards him, Gatsby selflessly sacrifices himself for her. The image of a vulnerable Gatsby standing outside her house while she and Tom enjoy their comfort serves as a powerful metaphor for his love for Daisy and allows readers to look past his illegal activities.

Nick’s departure from Gatsby at the end of the chapter mirrors his initial encounter with him in Chapter 1. In both instances, Gatsby stands alone in the moonlight, yearning for Daisy. The earlier moment portrays Gatsby reaching out towards the green light across the water, full of hope for the future. The current scene depicts Gatsby having reached Daisy’s house but with his dream irretrievably lost.

Read more about the green light and its meaning.

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