Hello, and Welcome to 2 Minute Lit.
Every put off required reading in high school? I did. And I found myself constantly on SparkNotes. So, I bring you, everything you need to know about The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In two minutes, or less.
The Plot in 10 Points (or less)
- Nick Carraway, a bond salesman in the 1920s befriends his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is a mysterious and rich man who throws lavish parties every week.
- Nick finds out that Gatsby was once and still is in love with Nick’s cousin, Daisy.
- Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan. Tom is having an affair with Myrtle, who is unhappily married to George, a mechanic.
- Gatsby uses Nick to arrange a reunion with Daisy, and the two long-lost lovebirds begin an affair.
- Tom soon discovers the affair between his wife and Gatsby and, after taking a trip to New York with Nick, Daisy, and Gatsby, he reveals his discovery of the affair and exclaims that Gatsby is a bootlegger.
- After this reveal, Daisy aligns herself with Tom, but drives away back home with Gatsby. Daisy, at wheel, runs over Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, “accidentally,” although Gatsby takes the blame.
- Myrtle’s husband finds out through Tom that the car belongs to Gatsby and assumes that he was the one having an affair with his wife.
- He drives to Gatsby’s house and shoots him before turning the gun on himself.
- Nick arranges a funeral with a surprisingly low turnout.
- He becomes disillusioned and disdainful of Daisy and Tom and moves back to the Midwest.
(Important characters bolded, important side characters underlind)
- Nick Carraway(Protagonist): Yale graduate
- Jay Gatsby(Protagonist): Young millionaire with shady connections. In love with Daisy, Nick’s cousin.
- Daisy Buchanan: Attractive, shallow, self absorbed flapper. Believed to be inspired by Fitzgerald’s relationship with Ginevra King. Gatsby’s love interest.
- Thomas Buchanan: Daisy’s husband. Millionaire, ex-Yale football player, arrogant. Mirror’s Ginevra King’s husband William Mitchell.
- Jordan Baker: Daisy’s best friend, professional golfer. Based on real life golfer Edith Cummings. Who was Ginevra’s best friend. Nick Carraway’s girlfriend during the novel. Believed to be scandalous, having a habit of cheating and lying to her lovers.
Three Important Themes
- The limits and realities of expectations of success in America.
- The excess of recklessness and inexperience of youth.
- The expectations of gender and sexuality in society
Controversial Book Club Question:
Is The Great Gatsby really worth the praise it gets, or is it overblown out of proportion?
Consider the following: The Great Gatsby has been heralded as monumental and groundbreaking work. However, has this reputation begun to taint the actual quality of the book because of the author’s post-humous hipster revival? I’d love to hear your thoughts down below.
If you liked this post, let me know what other classic books I should add to the series in the comments down below. Feel free to reach out at my other links, and make sure to share with a friend!
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