Chapter IX


Nick says the newspapers covered Gatsby's death with a tendency towards sensationalism, that Mrs. Wilson's sister Catherine testified at the inquest that her sister had never been unfaithful, and that Tom and Daisy disappeared. Gatsby's father (Mr. Henry Gatz) arrives, having read of his son's death in the paper. It seems to Nick that Mr. Gatz's pride in his son's success and achievements is greater than his grief.

As Mr. Gatz and Nick are making funeral arrangements, Nick makes a few selective phone calls to people who he thinks might attend the funeral. It rains on the day of the funeral, which is attended only by Nick, Gatz, the funeral director, some of Gatsby's servants, and the drunk man from the library, who marvels at how few people are there when there used to be hundreds at the house.

Nick recalls the pleasures of returning home to the Midwest on his Christmas breaks from school, suggesting that even while he knew the East was superior in so many ways, he felt its truths were distorted. Ultimately, he says, he decided to go home. As he is tying up loose ends, he has a conversation with Jordan, who listens to his explanations of why he doesn't want to see her with no reaction, except of saying she is engaged.

Finally, he also has an encounter with Tom Buchanan, demanding to know what happened in the hours after Gatsby's death - specifically, when Wilson came to the house looking for the yellow car. Tom insists that Wilson was crazy with grief and that he had his revolver in his hand, and that even if Tom did say who owned the yellow car, Gatsby got what he deserved. 'He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy's, but ... he ran over Myrtle like you'd run over a dog and never even stopped his car.' Nick comments that there is nothing he could say, 'except the one unutterable fact that it wasn't true'. He then writes in narration of seeing clearly that Tom believed everything he did was justified, but also the truth of who he and Daisy really were.

On his final night on Long Island, Nick visits Gatsby's house one last time, then goes out to the beach, where he looks at the same view Gatsby must have had and contemplates the journey, emotional and physical, that Gatsby made in pursuit of his dream. Nick stares at the green light on what used to be Tom and Daisy's clock, remembering.

Themes and Character Analysis

Truth / honesty versus lies

  • Reference to media sensationalism and the lies told by Catherine : the tension between truth and honesty, Nick's perhaps naive belief in honesty and integrity as general human values
  • The disappearance of Tom and Daisy : demonstrates their complete self-absorption and lack of integrity by taking off
  • Klipspringer's attitude represents the self-serving attitudes of just about everyone who attended one of Gatsby's parties, while the appearance of the guest from the library as previously discussed, links Gatsby's death to reality. This is in contrast to the perspective offered by Klipspringer, who links Gatsby's life with shallowness and the fantasy that his money made him worthwhile (particularly to Daisy)


Told Wilson where to find Gatsby, a representation of the self-justification and self-interested self-preservation at work in the lives and attitudes of those 'American Dreamers' that Tom represents and embodies.


Didn't tell Tom what Gatsby told him about who was driving when Myrtle was killed. In other words, Nick tells a lie by concealing the truth, thereby making himself less honest than he seems to want the reader to be.

His commentary on East and West, specifically his suggestion that the alluring economic and social prosperity promised by life in the East is as much of an illusion as Gatsby's belief in Daisy's love. The idea that the two journeys are parallel, that Nick's attempt to enter that eastern prosperity is as deluded and empty as Gatsby's attempt to re-enter his past with Daisy, is reinforced by the work's final image, Nick standing in the same place that Gatsby stood where Nick first saw him, face to face with his dream across the bay. The difference between the two men, Nick and Gatsby, is that Nick is still alive, physically and emotionally, and can return to the truth that he left behind, a life of integrity which, his physical journey back home suggests, still exists. Gatsby, on the other hand, is dead, his attempt to return to his past ending in failure because his past (i.e. his relationship with Daisy) does not any longer exist. Nick is sick of the empty values represented by the East.