The Great Gatsby

by: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Chapter 6

Summary Chapter 6

It is easy to see how a man who has gone to such great lengths to achieve wealth and luxury would find Daisy so alluring: for her, the aura of wealth and luxury comes effortlessly. She is able to take her position for granted, and she becomes, for Gatsby, the epitome of everything that he invented “Jay Gatsby” to achieve. As is true throughout the book, Gatsby’s power to make his dreams real is what makes him “great.” In this chapter, it becomes clear that his most powerfully realized dream is his own identity, his sense of self. It is important to realize, in addition, that Gatsby’s conception of Daisy is itself a dream. He thinks of her as the sweet girl who loved him in Louisville, blinding himself to the reality that she would never desert her own class and background to be with him.

Fitzgerald continues to explore the theme of social class by illustrating the contempt with which the aristocratic East Eggers, Tom and the Sloanes, regard Gatsby. Even though Gatsby seems to have as much money as they do, he lacks their sense of social nuance and easy, aristocratic grace. As a result, they mock and despise him for being “new money.” As the division between East Egg and West Egg shows, even among the very rich there are class distinctions.

It is worth noting that Fitzgerald never shows the reader a single scene from Gatsby’s affair with Daisy. The narrative is Nick’s story, and, aside from when they remake each other’s acquaintance, Nick never sees Gatsby and Daisy alone together. Perhaps Nick’s friendship with Gatsby allows him to empathize with his pain at not having Daisy, and that Nick refrains from depicting their affair out of a desire not to malign him. Whatever the reason, Fitzgerald leaves the details of their affair to the reader’s imagination, and instead exposes the menacing suspicion and mistrust on Tom’s part that will eventually lead to a confrontation.