Spoiler Alert…this is not quality writing. But I made a challenge and by gosh I’m sticking to it.
The Great Gatsby…in 1500+ words
*Note: Legend has it that author Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) typed out the entire text of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in order to know the feeling of writing a great novel.
This is not going to be that.
A-freaking number one. Nick Carraway is not the booze hound driven to professional therapy he’s made out to be in the 2013 film. That said (and I do feel better now) let’s get started.
Nick’s over 30 when he begins telling you what he recalls from about three years earlier when he lived in New York briefly in 1922. He starts by expressing that one of the staples of his father’s advice was that not every kid has the exact same advantages and upbringing. It’s a hard fact for others to swallow, but it certainly applied to the people with whom he spent time that fateful summer.
After his friend ditched him and took a job elsewhere, Nick was left to find a place of his own and landed in a place called West Egg. Even though his former servants’ quarters was small, he was surrounded by new, phenomenal mansions that rented for over sixty times what he was paying. The people of West Egg were classy, but they essentially received sneers from those who lived across the water at East Egg. Nick’s not too materialistic and doesn’t really give a shit what they think. He’s just trying to learn the job his time at Yale prepared him for.
As it happens, a cousin close to his age has married one of Nick’s classmates from college and now resides just across that same body of water–in East Egg. Shortly after being settled in, Nick pays her and her husband Tom Buchanan a visit.
Tom’s pretty much a rich prick who’s had everything around him handed to him. Sure, he went to school, but he’s no nine-to-fiver. Tom doesn’t punch a clock, he clocks women–but we’ll get to that in a little bit. Daisy is Nick’s cousin and is almost weirdly overjoyed that he’s come over. Her friend, a golf pro named Jordan Baker is hanging out with the Buchanans. They’re all just drinking and lazily maintaining minimal conversation.
As Nick gets comfortable, Jordan asks him if he’s knows Gatsby since they both live in West Egg. Nick had heard the name but has not met him in person yet. Daisy repeats the name rather oddly and Tom just pours down another scotch.
The four of them sit to be served dinner. The discussion soon turns to race because Tom has read some profound book that suggests the white folks are in trouble and will decline as a race unless they stand up. Nick and Daisy (and probably Jordan, though she doesn’t say much at the table) just chalk it up to Tom Being Tom and they all but drop it.
Then the phone rings and, over the next minute or so, we learn that it’s some dame Tom has been banging on the side. The even more curious aspect of the call is that Daisy followed her husband into the next room and argued with him about the call.
Nick leaves shortly thereafter, and when he gets home, he sees a man he correctly presumes to be Gatsby staring off toward Tom and Daisy’s place–specifically at the green light at the end of their dock.
Some short time passes and Nick is abrupty whisked away on a Sunday afternoon by Tom who wants him to meet his girl on the side. They stop at a filthy auto garage and Tom talks with the owner, a man named George Wilson. Soon after, George’s wife comes downstairs from their apartment and George leaves the room long enough for Nick to piece together that this woman–Myrtle Wilson–is Tom’s mistress. A rendezvous is set and Nick and Tom leave a moment later.
With Myrtle, the two classmates go into New York City and end up at an apartment Tom rents. It’s small and sparce–just the type of place a man takes a woman for a short, intimate time or to have a small gathering of people. On that Sunday, Tom and Myrtle call up some people and the room is quickly buzzing with their friends. Nick, who tried to leave earlier before the other partiers arrived, is now getting blasted and mixing with strangers. One woman, Catherine, is Myrtle’s sister. She doesn’t think Myrtle and Tom love either of their spouses, and she’s probably right. However, Tom has told Myrtle (who has told Catherine) that he can’t get divorced due to her religion. Nick finds this curious because Daisy is far from Catholic.
The party continues and people drink. Myrtle gets a little too gone and starts in on Tom about his wife Daisy. She says his name loudly, as if to humiliate him. He shuts the door on that though and breaks her nose right in front of everyone.
Nick changes the mood in his tale and shifts to the night he met Gatsby. All summer long, Nick’s next door neighbor Jay Gatsby had been putting on these incredibly elaborate parties every other Saturday. The guy was droppin’ major dollar bills to host hundreds of people at his mansion and estate. Live music, two separate meals, champagne everywhere, dancing until the wee hours. All standard. At one of these parties, Nick shows up and runs into Jordan. Eventually, Gatsby settles in beside Nick at a table and they strike up a converasation. Only, Nick doesn’t know it’s Gatsby right away. Nick’s told he’s to ask for anything he wants and to enjoy himself.
A little later that night, Jordan is pulled away for about an hour to talk to Gatsby alone. She finally comes out of his office as the party is dwindling. While she can’t tell Nick what she and Gatsby discussed at that moment, she promises to do so in the near future.
Nick shifts again and tells the reader a little about the types of people who went to Gatsby’s that summer. Mostly wealthy people and/or entertainment celebrities.
Nick and Gatsby, one day, take a ride into New York for lunch. They end up meeting a older distinguished man named Meyer Wolfshiem. This dude’s a sophisticated gangster. Gatsby tells Nick later that he’s the guy who fixed the World Series a few years earlier. Anyway, we get the impression that Nick is uncomfortable and tha t Gatsby just thought him meeting Wolfsheim would maybe make a deal offer a little sweeter. Nick’s far too busy to dwlve into deals of that gravity. It’s at theis moment that Jordan–in a talk later–explains to Nick what she and Gatsby talked about at that previous party.
Turns out that Daisy and Gatsby have a bit of a past. They fell hard for one another about five years earlier–long before she met Tom. Now, Gatsby’s back from the war, rich as shit, and wants his dreamgirl back in his life.
Over the next couple chapters, things are looking good. The previously jaded Daisy has all but forgotten about her husband’s disloyalty and has been seeing Gatsby on the reg. Nick’s not privy to everything they do, but he has to know that it isn’t right. He knows someone will get hurt in the end, it seems.
The culminating chapter is cahpter seven when all five of the major characters–Gastby, Nick , the Buchanans, and Jordan–are together for the first time alone in the same room. The tension and the temperature are rising fast, and Daisy suggests the group drive to New York and find something fun to do. They take two cars–Daisy and Gatsby go in Tom’s blue one while the other three take Gatsby’s yellow one. On the way, Tom stops at Wilson’s garage. He’s already upset about thinking his wife’s been spending too much time with this unknown Gatsby guy, but that’s just the beginning. Turns out that Wilson has figured out that his wife has been cheating on him too! Of course, we know it’s been with Tom, but Wilson has yet to put that together. The garage man says he and his wife are moving out of that dump soon.
Now Tom’s red-hot irritated. He’s pretty used to getting his way, though. So, he keeps his cool once all of them end up at the ritziest hotel in Manhattan. Things are a little lighter, but that doesn’t last. Tom goes after Gatsby’s character and a fight ensues. No fists, just accusations and stories. Based on what he’s learned about Gatsby, Tom can’t believe his wife would want to marry someone with such a checkered record. Gatsby, on the other hand, seems more confident than ever that she’s going to leave Tom and be with him. They’re sent home together, which suggests that Tom knows Daisy will never leave him.
Since we’re only with Nick, we ride along as they head home. They come up on an accidnet at Wilson’s garage and see that someone has died in the street. It turns out to be Myrtle, who was evidently running toward the car she thought contained Tom. That car hit her and never even stopped, the witnesses say. George remembers the car they describe and thinks Tom must have been involved. Tom explains the car mix-up and they jet out of there.
With Myrtle dead, Tom’s distraught and Daisy has yet to make her decision clear.
Nick advises his neighbor that it’s a good time to lay low and even bounce outta town for a minute. No can do, Gatsby says. He’s going to just wait for Daisy to come over and they can work on their future.
Nick goes on to work but can’t truly function. That afternoon, George, thinking Gatsby’s the one who killed his wife–almost forgot to include that Daisy had been driving and ran over her husband’s mistress–shoots him, then himself.
Nick learns of the murder-suicide and is immediately put in charge, since no one else seems to really know much about Gatsby. All his friends–and Daisy–are suddenly unreachable. Gatsby’s dad arrives and Nick has to tell him about the success his son had enjoyed before his untimely death. You get the impression that Gatsby and his dad were not really eye to eye on much, but at least he came once he learned the news.
After the sparcely attended funeral, Nick learns that Tom directed Wilson to Gatsby–made him think he was the driver/killer. Both Tom and Daisy bounce out of New York in a minute and are never heard from again. Nick’s fed up with all of them anyway–especially Jordan. He moves back to his hometown and appears to be putting his own life back together.