In The Great Gatsby, what does Gatsby offer Nick in return for Nick's cooperation in inviting Daisy to his house?

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter V of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Nick is reporting to Gatsby that he has arranged for Daisy to come to Nick's house for tea so that Gatsby can meet her there. They settle on a meeting two days hence. Gatsby is quite pleased, and he wants to show his gratitude. Somewhat hesitantly, he says to Nick, "There's one other little thing" (Fitzgerald 87). He refers to Nick not making very much money, which Nick concedes is true, and then he offers Nick some sort of unnamed and "confidential" (88) business opportunity. This seems to have something to do with bonds, which is the field Nick has recently entered. But having just had lunch with Gatsby and Gatsby's friend Wolfsheim, Nick is averse to entering into any business deal that Gatsby might offer. Wolfsheim is a gambler who is said to have fixed the 1919 World Series. At the lunch it becomes clear that he has organized crime connections, as he nostalgically recounts the evening one of his friends was shot and killed. Gatsby assures Nick that the offered deal has nothing to do with Wolfsheim, but Nick declines the offer. He assumes that whatever the offer is, it will be unsavory in some way. Even in the Twenties, before there were insider trading statutes, insider trading was considered fraud as a matter of common law. Nick is aware of Gatsby's reputation, and he is certain that any business deal from him is bound to tainted somehow. In his own mind, he seems to be taking the high moral ground. But as we view him more objectively, it seems also that he finds Gatsby and his friends too beneath him socially to be involved with them, and also, he simply does not want to get caught.

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The Great Gatsby

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