In chapter 5, why does Gatsby deliver so many goods and services to Nick's house?

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sciftw's profile pic

sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Chapter five of The Great Gatsby is a great chapter.  I personally like it a lot because it makes me chuckle.  Older readers also probably read this chapter with a big smirk on their face too because most readers probably remember having the exact feelings that Gatsby is having during chapter five.  It’s in this chapter that Gatsby is going to meet Daisy for the first time as a very wealthy man, and he wants everything to be perfect.  

Gatsby’s plan is to have Nick invite Daisy over for tea, and Gatsby will just happen to be there too.  The problem is that Nick’s house isn’t exactly the show piece that Gatsby’s house is, so Gatsby arranges for a few things to be done to the house and a few things to be delivered as well.  He arranges for Nick's lawn to be cut, he has flowers sent over, and he arranges for a perfect tea service.  Gatsby needs everything to be perfect because he wants to greatly impress Daisy.  He has built her up to be the perfect woman, so he needs the “coincidental” meeting to be perfect.  

Unfortunately, the start of the perfect encounter doesn’t start out so great.  The day turns out to be rainy, and Daisy doesn’t show up exactly on time.  Gatsby panics.  

Finally he got up and informed me in an uncertain voice that he was going home.

"Why’s that?"

"Nobody’s coming to tea. It’s too late!" He looked at his watch as if there was some pressing demand on his time elsewhere.

Daisy then shows up, but Gatsby has mysteriously disappeared.  He’s nowhere to be found because he relocated himself to a different part of the house in order to assume a “look at how awesome I am” pose against the mantelpiece.  

Gatsby, his hands still in his pockets, was reclining against the mantelpiece in a strained counterfeit of perfect ease, even of boredom.

It’s here that I usually have to stifle a laugh.  Gatsby is simply trying too hard.  But his efforts pay off.  Daisy is impressed by everything, and she and Gatsby have really hit things off by the end of the chapter.

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amarang9's profile pic

amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Gatsby is just very nervous about reuniting with Daisy. His whole scheme to win her back is five years in the making. So, he's making extra preparations for when he meets Daisy at Nick's house. It does seem that Nick and Gatsby do have some kind of friendship, something that might have developed more strongly if it was in different circumstances. But it's pretty clear that a large portion of Gatsby's affinity and attention towards Nick is because he knows Nick is how he can get to Daisy.

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Gatsby asks Nick to help him set up an event so that Daisy would come to it.  It is supposed to be a tea. Nick tells him that he can't because he has no time.  Gatsby assures him that it will be worth his while for he will ensure that he makes some money and everything will be taken care of by Gatsby.

Gatsby has so many flowers sent that it looks like a greenhouse at Nicks.  There are cakes and food.  Twelve lemon cakes arrive from the delicatessen.  Gatsby is concerned that there will not be enough food for the tea.  Gatsby has overdone everything in order to impress Daisy.