Chapter nine covers the events following the discovery of Gatsby’s body in the pool and Wilson’s body on the grounds nearby. After Gatsby is killed, Nick tries to arrange a proper funeral, but almost no one comes. Alone with Jay’s father, Mr. Gatz, at the service, he learns more...
Chapter nine covers the events following the discovery of Gatsby’s body in the pool and Wilson’s body on the grounds nearby. After Gatsby is killed, Nick tries to arrange a proper funeral, but almost no one comes. Alone with Jay’s father, Mr. Gatz, at the service, he learns more about “Jimmy’s” past and Mr. Gatz’s admiration for his son.
The horror and shock of the three deaths, and facing the facts that the Buchanans have fled, all weigh on Nick. He conflates the negative experiences he has had in New York with the East Coast itself, and he finds himself longing for the Midwest. Reflecting on the many times he had returned home from prep school and college, he reminisces about the various stages of the trip, especially after the train leaves Chicago. His sense of belonging and possession extends even to the weather, as out the window he and his fellow passengers see “real snow, our snow….” He feels that the Midwest of his upbringing is solid and has family history, while the East Coast—which he had formerly thought superior—had “a quality of distortion.” He wonders if the experience of being Western had left him, Gatsby, and the Buchanans with “some deficiency in common.”
Nick purports to value honesty, as in chapter one he described himself as rare for being honest. Now he must face the fact that he has not behaved consistently with that supposedly cherished value. It is Jordan who forces him to confront his own hypocrisy, as he had only half loved her and used her as a convenient companion.
In the end, Nick has to admit the attraction of the East Coast when considered from the perspective of Europe rather than the U.S. interior. He sees with fresh eyes how the shore could elicit the “capacity for wonder” that Gatsby, but not Nick, had shared with the early explorers. Although he has been disappointed, and will long be haunted, by his months in New York, he hopes not just to carry on, but to have optimism for reaching the “orgastic future.”