Chapter V


When Nick arrives home, Gatsby comes to find out how the conversation with Jordan went. Nick reveals that Jordan told him everything, and that he (Nick) is willing to ask Daisy to tea the day after tomorrow. The suddenly nervous Gatsby offers to have Nick's lawn cut for him, and then suggests the possibility of a job, adding when he sees Nick's suspicion that it doesn't have anything to do with Wolfshiem. Nick refuses the offer, Gatsby goes home, and Nick calls Daisy, who accepts his invitation.

The day of the meeting is cold and rainy. A very apprehensive Gatsby comes by to wait, but Daisy is late. Nick waits in the hall, following only when he hears Daisy and Gatsby talking quietly. When he goes in, Nick sees that Gatsby, in his over-emphasized efforts to seem casual, has knocked over a clock. Daisy, meanwhile, seems very nervous and ill at ease. As Nick's housekeeper brings tea, Gatsby quickly whispers to Nick that he thinks he has made a mistake, but Nick tells him to be patient and then goes outside, leaving him and Daisy alone.

When Nick goes back inside, he discovers both Gatsby and Daisy have become much more relaxed. Gatsby takes Nick and Daisy on a tour of his house, with Daisy commenting on how large it is and Gatsby saying that he likes filling it with interesting people, and one of which is - Mr. Klipspringer, jokingly known as 'The Boarder'. After the tour concludes, Gatsby takes Daisy and Nick into his bedroom, where he shows them his stuffed closed and, in particular, his extensive collection of shirts which he says are sent to him by a tailor in England (shirts are unusual because they come from Europe, so it is something extraordinary). As he flings them out of his closet onto his bed, Daisy starts to cry at how beautiful they are.

Back in the living room, Gatsby points out the dock with the green light on the beach of Daisy's property. He is once again interrupted by a phone call. When he's done, Gatsby calls Klipspringer, who he states plays the piano. When he comes in, Klipspringer says he is out of practice, but Gatbsy insists. As he plays, Nick hears 'a faint roar of thunder', the sound, he says in narration, of change.

As he finally says his goodbyes, Nick wonders whether Daisy had, at least to some degree, fallen short of Gatsby's expectations and hopes. 'No amount of fire or freshness', he comments in narration, 'can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart'.


The knocking over the clock

Represents Gatsby's dismissive determination that time, as a potentially disruptive element in his relationship with Daisy, is not to be considered a factor.

The shirts

Daisy's reaction to Gatsby's shirts, which at first glance seems both unlikely and excessive, but becomes less so when one remembers that Daisy is essentially both a sensualist and a gold digger, attracted to manifestations of wealth and success. Her reaction to the shirts, therefore, can be seen as a manifestation of her joy that the impoverished man she once loved is now financially worthy of her attention and affection.

The green light

Represents Gatsby's dreams and the emotional distance he has to cross, not to mention the distance of time, in order to get Daisy and to have their life together.

The 'roar of thunder'

One of the most heavy-handed symbols in the novel : foreshadows the forthcoming traumatic change in perspective about to be experienced by Jay Gatsby.

Gatsby's 'ghostly heart'

The relationships between truth and lies, and between past and present. The image suggests that the present truth (i.e. Daisy's 'fire [and] freshness') has no real impact on the 'ghostly', past-defined illusions / self-deluding lies inhabiting Gatsby's heart and mind.