Plot Overview:

In this chapter Nick goes with Tom to New York; however first Tom goes to see his mistress, Myrtle Wilson and her husband George Wilson at Mr. Wilson’s dismal auto shop. Once in the city Myrtle, Nick and Tom go to the apartment Tom keeps for his affair. After a very strange party with Myrtle’s sister and the odd couple the McKee’s, Nick takes the 4am train back to West Egg.

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  • The Valley of Ashes– the valley of ashes represents the moral decay that cannot be seen in New York or the Eggs because of the façade of wealth.
  • The Eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg – These eyes symbolize the eyes of God looking down on these people for the immorality in their society.


The themes in this chapter all revolve around the central theme of moral decay, such as greed, abuse and loss of innocence. These themes are all created by people and show the downfall of the classic American dream in the 1920’s.

Prominent Quotations:

  • “Well, they say he’s a nephew or cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm’s” (37,Gatsby). -Catherine
  • “You can’t live forever,you can’t live forever” (40, Gatsby)– Nick

Character Development:

  • Nick-begins to seem unsure of himself-shows that he does not just walk away from situations-sexuality?
  • Tom– portrayed as a bully and a sexist- has no restraint and is a hypocrite- considers himself beyond any standards.
  • Myrtle -always wants what she can’t have-desperate for a way out of her life
  • George– loves his wife- follows the moral standards of society
  • Catherine– gossipy
  • McKee’s– shrill, horrid couple
49 up: Tony, Bruce, Susan, John, Nick, Neil Character Summary

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