The Great Gatsby: Summary (Chapter 8)

Summary (Chapter 8)

Nick sees Jay alive for the last time. Tom tells Myrtle’s husband, George, that Gatsby killed his wife and tells him where to find Jay. George makes his way to Gatsby’s mansion, shoots him, and then commits suicide. Nick is the one to find the bodies.

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Welcome The Great Gatsby Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis page prepared by our editorial team!

📖 Summary

After the nervous day, Nick can’t fall asleep. In the early morning, he goes to see Gatsby, who stayed outside the Buchanans’ mansion until 4 am. Daisy was not hurt, but she didn’t go out of the house either. Nick recommends Gatsby to forget about her and move out. However, Jay can’t even think about leaving Daisy.

The emotional moment makes Gatsby reveal new details about their love story in Louisville. He admits that it wasn’t only Daisy’s youth and beauty that attracted him. Her wealth and status made Jay fall in love with her. She was the girl Gatsby felt so close to that he lied about his background to keep her. The night they slept together, he felt like they were already married. Daisy promised to wait when Gatsby had to leave for the war.

“I can’t describe to you how surprised I was to find out I loved her, old sport. I even hoped for a while that she’d throw me over, but she didn’t, because she was in love with me too.”

(The Great Gatsby, chapter 8)

When it was over, and he was ready to go home, he could only get to Oxford. It confused Daisy, and as time passed, her feelings began to vanish. Eventually, it led to her marrying Tom.

Nick and Gatsby finish their breakfast, and the gardener says it is time to drain the pool. Gatsby asks him to wait as he never used a chance to swim, and he would like to do so now. Nick realizes he’s late for work and says goodbye to Gatsby. When he’s on his way out, he suddenly feels the urge to turn around and say, “They’re a rotten crowd… You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.” Nick is glad he said it. He has disapproved of Gatsby’s attitude from the very beginning. It was the only time he said something kind to him.

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When Nick’s at work, he receives a call from Jordan, but their talk is rather short. Both Nick and Jordan seem irritated. Nick asks her why she was so rough with him last night, and she replies that their relationship didn’t matter in the time of crisis. After a little more of talking, one of them hangs up, and Nick is not even sure who.

Then Nick tells the readers what happened after the accident based on Michaelis’ words. George Wilson and Michaelis are talking about Myrtle the whole night. George says he is sure that it was her lover in the car because she broke out of the room to run out and meet him. Then George recalls that before the accident, he warned her that God knows about her sins. The next morning, Wilson sees Doctor T. J. Eckleburg’s eyes as God’s and decides to seek revenge.

“Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg which had just emerged pale and enormous from the dissolving night. ‘God sees everything,’ repeated Wilson.”

(The Great Gatsby, chapter 8)

He starts looking for the owner of the yellow car and goes to Tom since he was driving it earlier that day. However, George knows that Tom didn’t kill Myrtle because he arrived later in a different car. Eventually, he finds out that Gatsby is the owner of the yellow car and comes to his mansion to shoot him.

When Nick returns to Gatsby’s house, he finds Gatsby shot on the mattress in the pool and Wilson’s body lying dead in the grass nearby.

🎭 Active Characters

Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, Jordan Baker, George Wilson, Michaelis

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🔥 Active Themes

Theme of gender in The Great Gatsby.Theme of social class in The Great Gatsby.Theme of love and marriage in The Great Gatsby.
GenderSocial ClassLove & Marriage

🔬 The Great Gatsby: Analysis of Chapter 8

When it comes to Gatsby’s love for Daisy, Nick doesn’t leave any unanswered questions in Chapter 8 of The Great Gatsby. Now that he knows the details of the story from Gatsby’s point of view, he is sure that Daisy’s social status and wealth attracted Jay the most. By now, it was hard to tell whether it was real love or just longing for money and power. What Gatsby tells Nick the night of the accident almost makes him a hero who sacrifices himself in the name of love. However, this chapter reveals that there is no difference between yearning for Daisy and wealth.

Nick also adds a few words about the fantastic talent Gatsby has – visionary. He could have achieved genuinely amazing things, which is the reason why he is “great.” Instead, he chooses to chase the girl who has got nothing except for money. Therefore, Daisy ends up being an unworthy object of dreaming, as wealth is now the focus of Gatsby’s life.

In this chapter, more details can be added to the analysis of The Great Gatsby regarding the theme of the American Dream. It begins as a simple dream of a better quality of life. However, it inevitably comes down to money – magical papers that bring happiness and freedom. The same is with Gatsby. His dream development started with his desire to bring back the love from the old days and ended with the crazy greed for wealth. Moreover, it led him to criminal activities since they appeared to be the source of big money. Sadly, this path also leads to Gatsby’s death, making this scene a perfect illustration of the dead American Dream.

The Great Gatsby‘s Chapter 8 summary isn’t lacking symbols that should be interpreted. One of the most important ones is the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. Desperate from the loss of his wife, George Wilson needs something to believe in. Enormous eyes staring from the billboard become a divine messager for him. One of the quotes illustrates it best: looking out of the window, he says, “God sees everything.” At that moment, he believes that God wants him to take revenge for Myrtle’s death. Michaelis, trying to reassure George that it is only an advertisement, turns away from the eyes. What is it, if not a fear of God? After Wilson killed Gatsby, he shot himself, which may point to his belief as well. He may have seen it as a holy mission, and as it was completed, there was no point for him to stay in the land of the living.

At the same time, Nick never gives any particular role to the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. He only highlights a few times that they are watching over the degradation of this empty and ugly world, where people have no moral values and cover their sins with lies. Therefore, the eyes could carry any meaning.

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IvyPanda. (2021, September 4). Summary (Chapter 8). Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/lit/the-great-gatsby-study-guide/summary-chapter-8/

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"Summary (Chapter 8)." IvyPanda, 4 Sept. 2021, ivypanda.com/lit/the-great-gatsby-study-guide/summary-chapter-8/.

1. IvyPanda. "Summary (Chapter 8)." September 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/the-great-gatsby-study-guide/summary-chapter-8/.


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IvyPanda. "Summary (Chapter 8)." September 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/the-great-gatsby-study-guide/summary-chapter-8/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Summary (Chapter 8)." September 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/the-great-gatsby-study-guide/summary-chapter-8/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Summary (Chapter 8)'. 4 September.