Updated: Apr 28, 2019
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 underlined)
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. 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