Chapter IV


Nick talks about the people who attended Gatsby's parties regularly that summer, and hints at some of the scandals with which they were involved. He then describes how one day, Gatsby picked him up in his flashy, expensive car and drove with him into New York for lunch. During the drive, Gatsby reveals some of his background - born to a wealthy family in San Francisco, educated at Oxford, the beneficiary of their money when most of them died, a wealthy traveler and a survivor of World War I. Just when Nick is starting to think that some of these stories are lies, Gatsby produces evidence that proves otherwise - pictures from Oxford and medals from the war among them. Gatsby also refers to an experience of sadness in his past, an experience which Nick will learn more about from Jordan Baker that afternoon.

Later, while Gatsby and Nick are at lunch, they encounter a friend of Gatsby's, a Mr. Wolfshiem. When Gatsby rushed off to take another phone call, Wolfshiem comments that Gatsby is a good man. When Gatsby returns, Wolfshiem quickly goes, Gatsby explaining that Wolfshiem gets too sentimental sometimes and that he is the man responsible for fixing / rigging an important baseball game several years before. The authorities, he says, just haven't been able to catch up with him. As Gatsby and Nick are preparing to leave, they encounter Tom Buchanan ; or rather, Nick does. When Gatsby sees Tom, Gatsby quickly disappears.

Later, Jordan tells Nick her story. She describes being friends with Daisy when they were girls, and how in the early days of the war, Daisy spent time with someone named Jay Gatsby. Jordan then describes how Daisy's parents kept her from saying goodbye to Gatsby when he shipped out, how Daisy quickly met and became engaged to Tom, and how on the night of the bridal dinner, Daisy got a letter. Its contents, Jordan says, led Daisy to get drunk, at which time the letter was accidentally destroyed. Daisy went ahead with the wedding, Jordan says, and had a wonderful honeymoon, which abruptly ended when Tom was in a car accident while driving with one of the chambermaids from the hotel where he and Daisy were staying. Shortly after that, Jordan says, Daisy had her baby, lived in Europe for a year, and then came back to America where, six weeks after arriving on Long Island, she realized Gatsby was there too. When Nick calls the situation a coincidence, Jordan tells him that Gatsby bought the house across the water from Tom and Daisy's on purpose. This, Nick comments, explains the strange gesture he saw Gatsby make. Jordan then reveals that Gatsby wants Nick to invite Daisy over for tea, where Gatsby will surprise her. For his part, Nick suddenly comes to realize how attracted he is to Jordan, puts his arms around her, draws her closer, and kisses her.

Themes and Character Analysis

Parties, scandals mentioned with a reference to the valley of ashes

The implication here is that the people at the party, not to mention Gatsby himself, are in some ways headed for spiritual and moral destruction - and, for Gatsby himself, physical destruction. The circle of people that attends Gatsby's parties are essentially morally dead, or at least dysfunctional.


The stories he tells Nick : Gatsby's efforts to gain Nick's trust and respect so that he will do as Gatsby wants and arrange the meeting with Daisy. Gatsby's manipulations to realize his dream.

Mr. Wolfshiem

Foreshadowing of the unpleasant truths about his relationship with Gatsby : symbolic portrayal of New York City as a place for deceit and manipulation (financial greed and moral corruption).

Tom's car accident

Another foreshadowing of the accident that kills Myrtle Wilson. The hint of his affair with a chambermaid shows that he is a serial philanderer and only focused on his own gratification.


By kissing and embracing Jordan he metaphysically represents the belief of the lie Gatsby has been telling Jordan, Nick and himself - the lie that the past can, and in Gatsby's opinion will, come back to life in the present.