The Great Gatsby: Chapter 2 Summary and Analysis | Literature Guide on IvyPanda | Literature guide in IvyPanda® (2023)

Nick soon learns that Tom Buchanan is cheating on his wife Daisy with Myrtle Wilson. She is an ordinary woman who represents a lower social class and lives in the Valley of Ashes. Tom takes Nick on a trip to New York City. Along the way, Myrtle and Nick meet.

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What does Nick find out about Tom at the end of Chapter 2? What conflict arises in this section of the novel? welcome toThe Great GatsbyChapter 2 Summary and analysisPage created by our editors! Here you will learn everything you need to know.


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📖 Summary

The Great GatsbyChapter 2 begins with Nick entering an area called "valley of ashes.” It is in the valley between West Egg and New York City that all the city's ashes are scattered. Nick describes it as a desolate land that was once advanced, completely buried under ash until everything looks gray.

"This is a valley of ash, a fantastic farm where ash grows like wheat on grotesque ridges and hills and gardens, where ash takes the shape of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and finally, with transcendent effort, of people who… indistinct and already disintegrating moving through the dusty air.”

(The Great Gatsby, Episode 2)

Two eyes, “blue and gigantic – their retinas are one meter high”, look towards the valley through advertising windows. That isDoctor TJ Eckleburg, an ophthalmologist who treats people covered in ash.

OnceTom and Nick take the train to the city.. Tom suddenly wants to go down to the Valley of Ashes. He forces Nick to follow him. They go to George Wilson's garage, where Tom wants to talk to George about selling his car. Wilson is a handsome man, but tired of his life and covered in ash. His wife Myrtle, on the other hand, makes a lively and seductive impression.

"Her laughter, her gestures, her calls grew more violent by the moment, and as she expanded, the space around her lessened until she seemed to be spinning in the smoky air on a high, screeching pivot."

(The Great Gatsby, Episode 2)

As George leaves to find some chairs, Nick tells Myrtle that he wants to see her. He was supposed to go to the train station and pick her up there. Lady. Wilson leaves the house and tells her husband that she is seeing her sister.

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Later,Nick, Tom and Myrtle go to the apartment in New Yorkwhich Tom saves only for his love story. They decide to have a party and Myrtle's sister Catherine and another couple join them. Catherine is a redheaded girl who wears too much makeup, and the McKees don't look too good either. Everyone gets drunk quickly. Nick admits that he is drunk for the second time in his life.

as the party approachesstronger and wilder, they start gossiping about other people. Gatsby becomes the subject and Catherine expresses her fear of Gatsby. She has heard that he is a member of the German Kaiser's family. They all made that choicedinero gatsbyYdirty. Nick doesn't like the energy of the party and he wants to leave, but at the same time he finds it fun. Catherine tells Nick that "none of them can stand the person they're married to" and she talks about Tom and Myrtle.

"What I'm saying is why keep living with them if you can't stand them? If I were her, I'd get divorced and get married right away."

(The Great Gatsby, Episode 2)

She doesn't understand why they can't get divorced and get married. She assumes that Daisy is religious and doesn't "believe in divorce". Nick is surprised because he knows it's a lie.

Myrtle begins to talk about her life, how she and Tom met, and then about Tom's family. He gives her a puppy. As the night progresses, Myrtle and Tom begin to argue over Daisy's name. He just makes her yell "Daisies!" non-stop. in a quick moveTom punches Myrtle and breaks her nose.. That's the end of a noisy party. Nick goes with Mr. McKee, walks him to his house, and catches a morning train to Long Island.

🎭 Active characters

Nick Carraway, Tom Buchanan, Myrtle Wilson, George Wilson, Catherine, Sr. McKee, Sra. McKee.

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The Great Gatsby: Chapter 2 Summary and Analysis | Literature Guide on IvyPanda | Literature guide in IvyPanda® (1)The Great Gatsby: Chapter 2 Summary and Analysis | Literature Guide on IvyPanda | Literature guide in IvyPanda® (2)The Great Gatsby: Chapter 2 Summary and Analysis | Literature Guide on IvyPanda | Literature guide in IvyPanda® (3)
social classMoneyI love marriage

🔬 The Great Gatsby: Chapter 2 Review

The description of the valley of ash at the beginning of chapter 2 is striking in its startling contrast. It is a counterpart to the splendor of the rich areas. People live here without money, without meaning in life and without dreams. in the soap opera,The Valley of Ashes symbolizes the corrupt souls of the richcovered in dazzling dresses and mansions. Thus, the people of the valley will be covered in ash. It can also portend the dark future of the Roaring Twenties.

The all-seeing eyes of Dr. tj Eckleburg on the billboard are of little importance in this chapter, but are given more importance later in the book. In chapter 2, the eye can be the mute witness of the savagery of the twenties.

The careful analysis ofThe Great GatsbyChapter 2 can reveal a lot of intriguing details, including why Tom Buchanan would rather have an affair with just anyone.lower class. George Wilson and his wife Myrtle seem to have completely different personalities. While George looks like a lifeless body, Myrtle seems full of ambition and hope to get out of this swamp they call life. She is not as delicate and graceful as Daisy. Instead, Myrtle is very simple, voluminous but sensual at the same time. Your great desire to belong to the rich adds vitality to your personality. Daisy, on the other hand, has already achieved wealth from her and has lost all interest in her. This may be one of the reasons why Tom takes Myrtle as a lover:He tries to replace the emptiness of his family with the living energy of his beloved..

emThe Great GatsbyIn the Chapter 2 recap, an intense argument between Tom and Myrtle is briefly mentioned. However, this scene opens up Tom's character a bit more. Being in Tom's company makes Myrtle feel more powerful as she gives him confidence in her bright future with a wealthy lover. She's probably trying to provoke Tom and start yelling Daisy's name. He breaks her nose. It is a reminder not to forget her place, since Tom is the privileged one. But above all she showsTom's violent tendencies. Although Nick knew that Tom was not a nice guy, after this incident, Nick wonders what other terrible things Mr. Buchanan did that he is capable of.

In fact,not previous chapter, A coupleothermention Tom's hidden demons. Daisy complained that Tom accidentally hurt her, calling him "a brutal man". However, he did not deny it, nor did he apologize to Daisy, leaving the obvious conclusion: she meant to do it.

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Also, Tom reveals his hypocrisy in defending Daisy's name while betraying her. Of many other themes in the novel, this one is marginal but still relevant, as it shows the helplessness and despair of women at that time.

I have some questionsThe Great Gatsby's Chapter 2 that remain unresolved. For example, the last sentences at the end of the chapter. Nick's mysterious description of Mr. McKee in his room implies thatthere may have been sexual intercourse between two men. can be a complementWild theme in the 1920s.

🎓 References


What is the summary of The Great Gatsby chapter 2? ›

One afternoon, Nick finds himself on the train to New York with his cousin Daisy's husband, Tom Buchanan. Tom, who has been drinking, insists on bringing Nick along to meet Tom's mistress, Myrtle Wilson.

What are important things from chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby? ›

Tom taunts Wilson and then orders Myrtle to follow him to the train. Tom takes Nick and Myrtle to New York City, to the Morningside Heights apartment he keeps for his affair. Here they have an impromptu party with Myrtle's sister, Catherine, and a couple named McKee.

What do we learn in chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby? ›

The Great Gatsby: Summary (Chapter 2) Soon Nick learns that Tom Buchanan is cheating on his wife, Daisy, with Myrtle Wilson. She is a vulgar woman that represents a lower social class and lives in the Valley of Ashes. Tom takes Nick on a trip to New York City.

What is the main conflict in chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby? ›

Chapter two urges readers to question if wealth and happiness are synonymous: the Buchanans might be prestigious, but they are obviously unhappy. Finally, chapter two greater exemplifies Nick's narration. Nick is extremely observant, and he seems to be struggling with how to judge these people and their actions.

What happened to Nick Carraway at the end of chapter 2? ›

The chapter ends with Nick seeing Mr. McKee home and then heading home himself.

What is a short summary of chapter 2 The Tale of Two Cities? ›

In Book 2, Chapter 2 of A Tale of Two Cities, titled 'A Sight Summary,' Jerry and Jarvis Lorry go to court to take in a treason trial. It turns out two of the witnesses are Lucie and Dr. Manette, who we remember from Book 1. And the man on trial is someone who will become important later on: Charles Darnay.

What rumor about Gatsby is revealed in chapter 2? ›

What rumors have been spread about Jay Gatsby? He's a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm's. That's where his money is coming from.

Do they eat food in chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby? ›

Food: “Celebrated sandwiches which were a complete supper in themselves” were served at Myrtle's party at the New York Apartment (chapter 2). Spiced Baked Hams: Served at Gatsby's party (chapter 3).

How does Nick describe Daisy in chapter 2? ›

She is beautiful and charming, but also fickle, shallow, bored, and sardonic. Nick characterizes her as a careless person who smashes things up and then retreats behind her money.

What did we learn about Nick in chapter 2? ›

What we learned about Nick in this chapter is he that does whatever he is told to do. He does not really think for himself whenever it comes to making decisions. Nick is different from the people he spends his time with because he does not go to a lot of parties.

What are the Eyes of chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby? ›

The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.

How does the narrator describe Gatsby in chapter 2? ›

How does the narrator describe Gatsby? The narrator describes Gatsby as having something gorgeous about him. He also says that Gatsby is optimistic about life, has an extraordinary gift for hope, and is romantic in a way that no one else is.

Does Nick sleep with Mr McKee? ›

McKee did not sleep together or even if Fitzgerald did not mean to imply as much, the fact that Mr. McKee and Nick are together in their underwear is not typical for two heterosexual men in the 1920s.

Why does Nick get drunk in chapter 2? ›

Nick tries to leave Tom and Myrtle, but they insist he come up to their apartment very far uptown. The apartment is small, gaudily decorated, and uncomfortable. Tom brings out a bottle of whiskey. For the second time in his life (or so he claims), Nick gets drunk, so his memory of what happens next is somewhat hazy.

How does Tom behave in chapter 2? ›

Tom acts like a jerk towards the husband (who is doing some sort of car work for him) and then sends the wife (Myrtle) a not-so-covert message to come with him to the city. George (Myrtle's husband) is blissfully ignorant. He thinks Myrtle just goes to the city to visit her sister.

Who does Nick sleep with in chapter 2? ›

What takes places in the narrative gaps is a sexual encounter between Nick and Mr. McKee. Nick tells us in the scene that closes chapter two that he “was standing beside [Mr. McKee's] bed and [Mr.

How is Nick both within and without at the end of chapter 2? ›

Nick's confliction of being both “within and without” demonstrates how whilst he is immersed in the lifestyle of the 'new era', he cannot connect or relate to it; a result of both his 'old money' status and his establishment as an outsider.

Why did Tom hit Myrtle? ›

Tom hits Myrtle because she refused to obey him, but also in defense of Daisy; he feels strongly about both women. Tom's outburst therefore shows that he has difficulty handling complex emotions.

What is the theme of chapter 2 in a tale of two cities? ›

The messages exchanged between him and Jerry are a puzzle to all that hear them, especially Mr. Lorry's response: "Recalled to life."This theme of mystery and secrecy will recur repeatedly and will play a central role in the unfolding of the plot.

What are the main points of chapter 3 in A Tale of Two Cities book 2? ›

In Book 2, Chapter 3 of A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Darnay stands trial for treason, accused of passing messages to the French, who are supporting the American colonists in the American Revolution. Lorry, Lucie, and other witnesses give evidence that Darnay was traveling between England and France five years earlier.

Who are the main characters in chapter 2 of a tale of two cities? ›

  • Charles Darnay (a.k.a. Charles Evrémonde)
  • Dr. Alexandre Manette.
  • Lucie Manette.
  • Sydney Carton.
  • Monsieur Defarge.
  • Madame Defarge.
  • Jerry Cruncher.
  • Mrs. Cruncher.

What might the Eyes of doctor tj eckleburg represent in chapter 2? ›

The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are a pair of fading, bespectacled eyes painted on an old advertising billboard over the valley of ashes. They may represent God staring down upon and judging American society as a moral wasteland, though the novel never makes this point explicitly.

What is the Valley of Ashes quote from The Great Gatsby chapter 2? ›

This is a valley of ashes — a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.

How is Mr Wilson described in chapter 2? ›

Pages 28-29:​ ​Tom and Nick go to Wilson's garage ○ Tom takes Nick to a run-down looking garage, and they meet its owner, ​George Wilson​, who is described as “a blonde, spiritless man, anaemic, and faintly handsome.” ■ There is some tension between them when George asks Tom when he is going to sell him his car Page 2 ...

Did Gatsby drink at his parties? ›

As the party progresses, Nick becomes increasingly fascinated with Gatsby. He notices that Gatsby does not drink and that he keeps himself separate from the party, standing alone on the marble steps, watching his guests in silence.

Does Gatsby drink at his parties? ›

Gatsby provides free alcohol to all those who attend his lavish parties: from cocktails to whiskey, in a fully stocked bar.

Does Daisy drink in Gatsby? ›

They moved with a fast crowd, all of them young and rich and wild, but [Daisy] came out with an absolutely perfect reputation. Perhaps because she doesn't drink. It's a great advantage not to drink among hard-drinking people.

Why did Daisy not marry Gatsby? ›

Even though she was still in love with Gatsby, Daisy most likely married Tom because she knew he could provide her with more material comforts.

What secret does Daisy tell Nick? ›

He's seen her in magazines and has heard an unpleasant story about her. After Jordan goes to bed, Daisy matter-of-factly tells Nick to start a romantic relationship with Jordan. Tom, meanwhile, tells Nick not to believe anything Daisy told him when she took him aside.

Does Nick actually like Gatsby? ›

In that novel, Nick loves Gatsby, the erstwhile James Gatz of North Dakota, for his capacity to dream Jay Gatsby into being and for his willingness to risk it all for the love of a beautiful woman. In a queer reading of Gatsby, Nick doesn't just love Gatsby, he's in love with him.

What does Nick seem to be struggling with in chapter 2? ›

He is set off as being more practical and down-to-earth than other characters. This essence is again brought to life in Chapter 2 when he doesn't quite know how to respond to being introduced into Tom and Myrtle's secret world (notice, however, that he doesn't feel the need to tell anyone about his adventures).

Why is Nick an unreliable narrator in chapter 2? ›

Nick is the narrator, but he is not omniscient (he can't see everything), and he's also very human and flawed. In other words, he's an unreliable narrator, sometimes because he's not present for a certain event, other times because he presents the story out of order, and finally because he sometimes obscures the truth.

How is Nick Carraway Judgemental in chapter 2? ›

He has failed to tell the truth in many scenes. He has trouble in organizing his financial responsibility, organizing his life to reach his goals, and he is more focused on others than himself and have hesitation in saying no to people.

What do Gatsby's eyes symbolize? ›

In conclusion, the eyes reveal all, as Fitzgerald proves in his novel. The symbolism of eyes is prevalent throughout; they show the presence of God in a religion-less society and how the characters cannot hide their true selves under a facade.

What is the symbol in chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby? ›

Symbols: The Valley of Ashes– the valley of ashes represents the moral decay that cannot be seen in New York or the Eggs because of the façade of wealth. The Eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg – These eyes symbolize the eyes of God looking down on these people for the immorality in their society.

How does Nick feel at the party chapter 2? ›

Nick claims that he got drunk for only the second time in his life at this party. The ostentatious behavior and conversation of the others at the party repulse Nick, and he tries to leave. At the same time, he finds himself fascinated by the lurid spectacle of the group.

Can we trust Nick as a narrator in chapter 2? ›

We call these narrators, or any narrator whose words can largely not be trusted, “unreliable narrators.” Nick Carraway is not a classically unreliable narrator, because Fitzgerald gives no indications that Nick is lying to the reader or that his version of events directly contradicts anyone else's.

What is the indirect characterization in chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby? ›

Tom hitting Myrtle in Chapter 2 is an example of indirect characterization. It shows Tom's violent personality and his feelings for Daisy without the narrator directly telling us about it. Tom Buchanan tries to keep Daisy and Gatsby apart, breaks up George and Myrtle Wilson's marriage.

Did Nick Carraway have a girlfriend? ›

This inner conflict is symbolized throughout the book by Nick's romantic affair with Jordan Baker.

Who is Nick Carraway wife? ›

Daisy Buchanan
Biographical information
ResidenceEast Egg, Long Island, United States
Family membersTom Buchanan (husband) Pammy Buchanan (daughter) Nick Carraway (second cousin once removed) (cousin [in some film adaptions])
3 more rows

Does Nick Carraway marry Jordan Baker? ›

Nick and Jordan's relationship is unique in the novel—they're not having an affair, unlike Tom/Myrtle and Daisy/Gatsby, and they're not married, unlike Myrtle/George and Daisy/Tom.

How did Nick react to Gatsby's death? ›

Nick is struck by the bitter injustice of Gatsby's solitary death. Despite all the people who found their way to Gatsby's parties, not one, with the exception of a man known only as "Owl Eyes," bothered to make an appearance at his funeral (and he only made it to the gate after the services ended).

Why was Nick in charge of the funeral? ›

Nick took care of Gatsby's funeral because he was his only close friend and the only person who really cared about him. Nobody else showed any interest in Gatsby after his death.

What does Tom's behavior reveal about his character in chapter 2? ›

7) What does Tom's behavior reveal about his character? Tom's behavior reveals that he is a racist, abusive, and arrogant person; he thinks that he can take advantage of and bully others because of his wealth and intimidating size. well, it's a fine book, and everybody ought to read it.

What does Tom Sawyer value in chapter 2? ›

In this chapter, Tom reveals his basic knowledge of human psychology; that is, that a person most desires what cannot be easily attained. Tom is also a fine actor, and he cleverly uses this ability in handling his friends.

Why does Tom not divorce Daisy? ›

Myrtle believes that the only reason Tom will not divorce Daisy is because Daisy is Catholic. But we learn that Tom's feelings for Myrtle are far less intense than he has led her to believe and that social pressure prevents him from ever leaving Daisy, who comes from a similar upper-class background.

What happens in chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby quizlet? ›

In chapter 2, Nick reveals the Valley of Ashes, a gray valley where New York's ashes are dumped. The train that runs between West Egg and New York passes through the valley.

What is The Great Gatsby short summary? ›

Scott Fitzgerald's novel,The Great Gatsby, follows Jay Gatsby, a man who orders his life around one desire: to be reunited with Daisy Buchanan, the love he lost five years earlier. Gatsby's quest leads him from poverty to wealth, into the arms of his beloved, and eventually to death.

What is chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby about? ›

Chapter 3 is devoted to the introduction of Gatsby and the lavish, showy world he inhabits. Fitzgerald gives Gatsby a suitably grand entrance as the aloof host of a spectacularly decadent party.

What reason did Myrtle give for marrying George Wilson chapter 2? ›

“I married [George] because I thought he was a gentleman,” she said finally. “I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn't fit to lick my shoe.” Once Myrtle, Tom, and Nick are away in the city in Chapter 2, Myrtle feels able to speak freely about her disastrous marriage to George Wilson.

What might the eyes of doctor tj eckleburg represent in chapter 2? ›

The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are a pair of fading, bespectacled eyes painted on an old advertising billboard over the valley of ashes. They may represent God staring down upon and judging American society as a moral wasteland, though the novel never makes this point explicitly.

What is the summary and themes of The Great Gatsby? ›

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, presents a critical portrait of the American dream through its portrayal of the 1920s New York elite. By exploring themes of wealth, class, love and idealism, The Great Gatsby raises powerful questions about American ideas and society.

What is the main message of Gatsby? ›

Lesson Summary

The moral of The Great Gatsby is that the American Dream is ultimately unattainable. Jay Gatsby had attained great wealth and status as a socialite; however, Gatsby's dream was to have a future with his one true love, Daisy.

What is one of the main points of Gatsby? ›

The theme of The Great Gatsby is that past cannot be repeated and everybody has to move forward in life. The author of the book F. Scott Fitzgerald was a popular writer in the 1920s and by using plot, style, figurative language, character, and setting he is able to develop the theme.

Is Nick in love with Gatsby? ›

In that novel, Nick loves Gatsby, the erstwhile James Gatz of North Dakota, for his capacity to dream Jay Gatsby into being and for his willingness to risk it all for the love of a beautiful woman. In a queer reading of Gatsby, Nick doesn't just love Gatsby, he's in love with him.

Does Nick like Gatsby in chapter 3? ›

Nick finds ​Gatsby​enchanting, and describes his smile as “one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life.

What does Gatsby call Nick? ›

Old sport” in Gatsby is thus peculiar to Jay Gatsby. The person to whom Gatsby uses it most often (34 times out of 42) is Nick Carraway. Gatsby uses “old sport” as “a familiar term of address” in, for example, Chapter 3.


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