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How does the first part of chapter 9 in The Great Gatsby attempt to sort out the...

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panipinto | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 1, 2009 at 7:50 AM via web

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How does the first part of chapter 9 in The Great Gatsby attempt to sort out the results of Gatsby's death?

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ophelious | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 1, 2009 at 10:12 AM (Answer #1)

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Hmm...the wording of this question is a bit difficult to decipher, namely the part that asks the answerer to "...sort out the results of Gatsby's death?"  Personally, I don't think that Gatsby's death has much of result that needs to be sorted out.  That is what is so tragic about it.

Think about it: who really cared that "the great" Gatsby was dead? Daisy sorted out her own situation by essentially running away with Tom.  Gatsby's business affairs were never legitimate, so there are no problems with that (though, I suppose, someone will eventually have to sort out his various dealings.)  He had no wife or kids, so there was no problem of who to give his things to (his dad was the only real relative he had who was alive.)  His old friends and business associates abandon him and wouldn't even attend his funeral.  Only Nick stayed interested in the "legacy" of Gatsby.

So you can see why the question of "sorting out" the results of Gatsby's death is a difficult one to answer.  Very simplistically, the beginning of the chapter was written by Nick several years later with an eye toward answering a few questions about what Gatsby was like a kid (when the dad reveals his son's childhood journal) and how his friends reacted to his death (indifferently).

It is the "falling action" part of the story and tries to tie up a few loose ends.

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kimfuji | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted October 1, 2009 at 10:40 AM (Answer #2)

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First of all Nick (the narrator ) is really invested in Gatsby's story. It affected him very much. He is a very honest person and cannot understand the callous lies told by the rich people everyday. Nick identified with Gatsby, with the innocence of Gatsby. He wanted to make sense out of what happened. In these two paragraphs he sees a lot of disturbance and publicity; but what he doesn't see is the truth. That bother's him. Especially it bothers him that people so intimate with Gatsby would betray him by lying about their involvement with him.These two paragraphs tell more about Nick and the other people than Gatsby. Gatsby's death affected everyone is a simplistic and superficial way; however it affected Nick in a deep a profound way. (Which is why he wrote the book, we can assume.)

These is the two beginning paragraphs of chapter 9:

After two years I remember the rest of that day, and that night and the next day, only as an endless drill of police and photographers and newspaper men in and out of Gatsby's front door. A rope stretched across the main gate and a policeman by it kept out the curious, but little boys soon discovered that they could enter through my yard and there were always a few of them clustered open-mouthed about the pool. Someone with a positive manner, perhaps a detective, used the expression "mad man" as he bent over Wilson's body that afternoon, and the adventitious authority of his voice set the key for the newspaper reports next morning.

Most of those reports were a nightmare--grotesque, circumstantial, eager and untrue. When Michaelis's testimony at the inquest brought to light Wilson's suspicions of his wife I thought the whole tale would shortly be served up in racy pasquinade--but Catherine, who might have said anything, didn't say a word. She showed a surprising amount of character about it too--looked at the coroner with determined eyes under that corrected brow of hers and swore that her sister had never seen Gatsby, that her sister was completely happy with her husband, that her sister had been into no mischief whatever. She convinced herself of it and cried into her handkerchief as if the very suggestion was more than she could endure. So Wilson was reduced to a man "deranged by grief" in order that the case might remain in its simplest form. And it rested there.

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