The Great Gatsby: Summary (Chapter 5)

Summary (Chapter 5)

Through Jordan, Jay asks for Nick’s help. He wants him to arrange his reunion with Daisy. Nick calls Daisy and invites her to come up without Tom. Daisy and Gatsby meet and reestablish their connection. Meanwhile, Tom grows suspicious and starts investigating Gatsby’s affairs.

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Welcome The Great Gatsby Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis page prepared by our editorial team!

📖 Summary

Nick arrives home after a date night with Jordan Baker, and he sees that all of the lights in Gatsby’s house are lit. It surprises him since there are no other signs of the party. Then Gatsby suddenly appears on the lawns and seems very excited. He invites Nick for a swim in his pool and to Coney Island. Then Nick gets it: Gatsby wants him to help arrange a meeting with Daisy. Nick says he will help, and Gatsby, being even more excited, offers him to take part in his business. However, this offer offends Nick because it seems like Gatsby wants to pay for his help. Nick rejects the offer but still promises to invite Daisy. He calls her and asks her to come over without Tom. When she accepts his invitation without any discussion, they decide on the date.

On the day before the meeting, Gatsby is nervous, on the day when he and Daisy are supposed to meet each other, he gets anxious. He’s worried about their future with Daisy and comes up with weird ideas on how to make Nick’s place more beautiful. It is raining, but Gatsby sends workers to cut the grass outside Nick’s house as well as someone to bring tons of flowers. When Daisy arrives, Gatsby suddenly disappears. Then he knocks and comes in, soaked in the rain.

“He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, an inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an overwound clock.”

(The Great Gatsby, chapter 5)

When Gatsby walks in, he knocks over the clock and says that it is a mistake. Nick decides to give them half an hour alone since the meeting seems very awkward. After he returns, he sees how happy they are together. Gatsby is glowing with happiness, and an “unexpected joy” catches Daisy. Then Gatsby invites Nick and Daisy to his mansion to show off his fortune. Daisy is fascinated by his wealth, but when he is throwing his expensive English shirts everywhere, she starts crying.

“‘They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.’”

(The Great Gatsby, chapter 5)

Gatsby tells her how he looks at the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock every night and daydreams about their happily ever after together. Now it becomes clear that Gatsby’s only reason for buying such a luxurious house was to impress her.

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Nick is wondering whether Gatsby’s dream is possible. Even though Gatsby’s feelings are still the string, all the years in marriage might have changed Daisy. Jay might not realize that the real Daisy is far from his dream image. While walking around the room, Nick notices a picture of an older man in a sailing outfit. Gatsby explains that it was Dan Cody, his best friend, who is dead now.

Gatsby’s past feelings consume him for a moment, so he calls Klipspringer and asks him to play the piano. It seems like “the boarder” lives in Gatsby’s house. Klipspringer plays “Ain’t We Got Fun?” while Daisy and Gatsby dance, whispering something to each other. They seem to be so into each other that they don’t notice anything else anymore, including Nick. He decides to give them some space and goes out in the rain.

🎭 Active Characters

Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, Jordan Baker, Daisy Buchanan, Klipspringer

🔥 Active Themes

Theme of social class in The Great Gatsby.Theme of money in The Great Gatsby.American dream in The Great Gatsby.Theme of love and marriage in The Great Gatsby.
Social ClassMoneyAmerican
Love & Marriage

🔬 The Great Gatsby: Analysis of Chapter 5

In the summary of The Great Gatsby’s Chapter 5, it is shown how Nick helps to arrange a long-awaited meeting for Gatsby and Daisy. This event becomes a turning point in the novel. The first half of the book is dedicated to the mysterious Gatsby and his hidden desire for a happy life, Daisy. He was doing everything he could to make it possible. Chapter 5 introduces a new plot: Gatsby reunites with Daisy, and his dream comes true. It is an unexpected plot development since, usually, the characters reach their goals at the end of the book. Here, in the middle of the novel, the reader realizes that The Great Gatsby is not a typical love story with a happy ending. From Chapter 5, the focus shifts to the future of Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship.

In the previous chapter, the story Jordan tells changes what Nick thinks of Gatsby after meeting him. Chapter 5 reveals even more of the honest side of Gatsby’s character. The mask of the mysterious and aristocratic “Oxford man” is gone in front of pure love. Gatsby acts like a young boy who is about to have a first date with his crush. Moreover, he’s nervous, afraid to be rejected. However, by the end of the chapter, Gatsby’s feelings switch to blissful happiness when his dream comes true.

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The more in-depth analysis of The Great Gatsby includes studying the theme of time. Meeting Daisy causes Gatsby to be so nervous that he gets clumsy and almost knocks over Nick’s clock. The symbolism behind it leads to the relation of the past and future. Gatsby seems to be losing the sense of the present moment. He wants to recreate their love from the past so badly that he doesn’t seem to care about the natural flow of time. Hence the clock symbolizes his attempt to manipulate time.

Daisy’s tears in Gatsby’s mansion leave some questions in Chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby. Of course, those might be the tears of joy since she is so happy to see Gatsby thriving. At least it seems so, according to the quotes from Chapter 5. She says that she has “never seen such — such beautiful shirts before.” He has succeeded in making a proper impression on her. On the other side, Daisy could be crying over her own life. She chose to marry Tom to secure a wealthy life, but now she realizes that staying with beloved Gatbsy could have brought her even more.

After the scene with expensive English shirts in The Great Gatsby’s Chapter 5, Nick says that the real Daisy can be less charming for Gatsby than the image of a woman he created in his head. Not meaning to insult Daisy, Nick only shows that the reality is different. Reliving and dreaming about love from the past might have created a very unrealistic image of Daisy. She has changed since their short romance and may fail to fulfill Gatsby’s expectations. Moreover, Daisy has a husband and daughter, who Gatsby excludes from his vision of their happy life.

🎓 References

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"Summary (Chapter 5)." IvyPanda, 16 June 2021,

1. IvyPanda. "Summary (Chapter 5)." June 16, 2021.


IvyPanda. "Summary (Chapter 5)." June 16, 2021.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Summary (Chapter 5)." June 16, 2021.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Summary (Chapter 5)'. 16 June.

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