The Great Gatsby: Summary (Chapter 6)

Summary (Chapter 6)

The reader learns the true story of James Gatz who was born in a poor family and earned his fortune on bootlegging. Tom and Daisy come to Gatsby’s party, and Daisy doesn’t seem to enjoy it. When the party’s over, Gatsby is disappointed that Daisy didn’t have a good time. Tom wants to find out what exactly Gatsby does.

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Welcome The Great Gatsby Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis page prepared by our editorial team!

📖 Summary

Following the rumors, a reporter arrives at Gatsby’s mansion. He tries to get something out of him. At this moment, Nick decides to tell the real story of Gatsby because he doesn’t want the readers to speculate about him.

Gatsby was born as James Gatz in North Dakota. He attempted to study at St. Olaf College in Minnesota but quit in two weeks. It was too humiliating for him to work there as a janitor to pay for his studies. The next year, he worked on Lake Superior as a fisherman when he saw Dan Cody’s yacht. Dan was a multimillionaire who made his fortune on mining and precious metals. Young Gatz rushed to warn a wealthy sailor about a coming storm. Dan was so grateful that he took the boy as his assistant on the yacht and gave him a new name, Jay Gatsby.

“I suppose he’d had the name ready for a long time, even then. His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people – his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby,.. sprang from his Platonic conception of himself.”

(The Great Gatsby, chapter 6)

As time passed, Jay got used to all the luxury. One of his usual tasks was to look after Cody when he was getting drunk. It was a good lesson for Gatsby because it made him choose a sober life. After Dan Cody’s death, Gatsby was supposed to inherit 25,000 dollars, but the late man’s lover made sure he wouldn’t get it. That’s when Gatsby decided to become rich, whatever it takes.

After not talking to Gatsby for two weeks, Nick stops by his house. Only a few minutes later, Tom and his friends, the Sloanes, arrive there as well. Nick describes the meeting of Tom and Gatsby and says that the latter is shocked as he didn’t expect to see Tom there. Then Gatsby reminds Tom that they met earlier. He gets a little bit aggressive as Tom doesn’t seem to remember him at all. Gatsby then invites everybody to stay for dinner. However, the Sloanes refuse. Being polite, they ask Gatsby to come to dinner. They certainly don’t expect him to accept the invitation, but he does. Meanwhile, Tom thinks Gatsby’s lack of manners is pathetic.

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Daisy arrives at Gatsby’s party with Tom, who seems to be suspicious. Gatsby tries to impress them by listing all the celebrities who attend his parties. Daisy and Gatsby go for a dance together and then have some time alone outside while Nick is watching their backs. When they come back to have dinner, Tom wishes to join another group. Daisy offers him her pen in case he wants to take down the address. Then she sees a girl that, as Nick quotes Daisy, “common but pretty,” and she seems to think this party awful and disengaging.

Later, Daisy gets mad with Tom when he tries to bring up the rumors about Gatsby’s underground business. She defends Gatsby, saying that his wealth comes from a chain of drug stores.

The Buchanans are ready to leave the party. Suddenly Tom remarks that he desires to find out what exactly Gatsby does. He wants to prove himself right that Gatsby is a bootlegger and “make a point of finding out.”

When the party’s over, Gatsby is disappointed that Daisy didn’t have a good time. Then Gatsby tells Nick he wants Daisy to leave Tom so that everything can be as it was in Louisville. Nick’s warning that the past cannot be repeated doesn’t work. Gatsby is sure that his wealth will fix things. Now, Daisy is the center of the universe for him.

“‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’ He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.”

(The Great Gatsby, chapter 6)

🎭 Active Characters

Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, Tom Buchanan, Daisy Buchanan

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🔥 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 6

The Great Gatsby’s Chapter 6 summary gives Gatsby’s background and raises the theme of social class. Nick chooses this moment to tell the short story of Jay Gatz to keep introducing the readers to the unknown side of Gatsby’s identity. It is crucial for understanding how vulnerable Gatsby is to social status and how it becomes his inspiration. After being humiliated by working as a janitor, He makes the wealth and luxurious lifestyle of Dan Cody the goal of his life. Not wanting to experience the shame of being poor, Gatsby becomes obsessed with the idea of getting rich as acquiring the status comes with it. When he gets rich, he reinvents himself and uses it as a chance to erase the image of a low-class boy.

The topic of social inequality goes on with the attitude Tom and the Sloanes give to Gatsby. All of them have the same insane amount of money, but aristocratic East Eggers still show their disapproval towards West Egg Gatsby. After the discussion of their plans for dinner, it becomes evident that Gatsby’s not familiar with the social etiquette. They despise all “new rich,” and it’s an excellent example that even in the higher class, there is segregation. At the same time, this scene from Chapter 6 of The Great Gatsby questions Gatsby’s success in escaping social inequality.

Moreover, it continues when Gatsby tries to impress Tom and Daisy at the party. He highlights all the famous guests attending the festivities, but the Buchanans seem unimpressed. They don’t even hide the fact that they are disgusted by the “raw vigor” of the West Egg. It reveals that even Daisy, despite her feelings for Gatsby, discriminates against him.

Daisy and Gatsby might not be on the same page, and a review of Nick’s thoughts at the end of the chapter can illustrate it. Gatsby’s character is at its most romantic and aspiring mode by now. Nick tries to talk some sense into him, reminding him that the past stays in the past, and he cannot repeat it. But Gatsby replies, “Why of course you can!” It clearly shows that his dream corrupts his time perception. Now, those moments spent with Daisy give him false hope that they can live happily together like in the past.

However, the analysis of The Great Gatsby can dig deeper. Nick is afraid of Gatsby’s sentimentality since the race for Daisy’s love makes Gatsby sacrifice everything, even himself. Daisy became an idol for him, a perfect young girl who is in love with him, just like in Louisville. Chasing this vision, Gatsby gets lost in the past, and with it, his new identity fades as well.

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🎓 References

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IvyPanda. (2021, June 16). Summary (Chapter 6).


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IvyPanda. "Summary (Chapter 6)." June 16, 2021.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Summary (Chapter 6)." June 16, 2021.


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