The Great Gatsby: Novel Summary: Chapter 9

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After the climax of Chapter's 7 and 8, Fitzgerald closes The Great Gatsby by tying up several loose ends. During the day after Gatsby's death, Nick feels that he alone is on his neighbor's side, as Gatsby's house floods with police, photographers, and newspapermen. Discovering that Tom and Daisy Buchanan have left town, leaving no address, Nick sends a letter to Meyer Wolfshiem informing him of Gatsby's death. Wolfshiem responds by saying although it is one of the most difficult shocks of his life, he is simply too busy to be involved with funeral preparations or visit Gatsby's house. As Nick stays with the dead body at Gatsby's house the phone rings, and a man begins talking -- believing Gatsby answered the phone -- with news that "Young Parke's in trouble....They picked him up when he handed the bonds over the counter" (174). This seems to indicate, finally, that Gatsby was involved with illegally handling stolen bond funds.

Gatsby's father arrives for the funeral, and Nick attempts to find others to attend; everyone he speaks with, however, has an excuse. None of the guests who abused Gatsby's hospitality at his parties all summer show up to his funeral, until Owl Eyes -- a character from Nick's first visit to Gatsby's -- arrives. Taken aback that no one else came, Owl Eyes remembers, "Why, my God! they used to go there by the hundreds....The poor son-of-a-bitch" (183).

After Gatsby's death, Nick determines to move back to the Midwest, but first goes to visit Jordan Baker one last time. To Nick's surprise, Jordan informs him that she is already engaged to somebody else, prompting him to leave angrily, still "half in love with her, and tremendously sorry" (186). Later that fall Nick runs into Tom Buchanan, who Nick remains angry at. Having figured out that George Wilson had gone to see Tom before killing Gatsby, Nick asks Tom what he told Wilson that afternoon. Tom replies, "I told him the truth," (187) elaborating that Wilson was crazy enough to kill him if he didn't reveal who owned the car.

Finally, on his last night in West Egg, Nick goes over to Gatsby's house -- that "huge incoherent failure of a house" (188) -- where he finds some boy has scrawled an obscene word with a piece of brick on the front steps. After erasing it, Nick walks to the beach, reflecting on how Gatsby's green light -- one man's hope for the future -- was actually just part of an unattainable past.

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