In The Great Gatsby, what does Nick remember about Jordan Baker?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Jordan Baker, who appears in the first chapter at the Buchanans, is an attractive young woman who is a golf champion, and clearly part of the set of wealthy or at least comfortable people whom the Buchanans and Nick are comfortable with.  She seems to strike an attitude of bored contempt most of the time, yawning and "sitting down and the table as if she were getting into bed" (16).  Nick thinks her name is familiar for some reason, but he can't remember why.  Nick, by midsummer, starts to feel a "sort of tender curiosity" (62) for her.  He sees evidence of her carelessness and dishonesty, though, leaving a borrowed car out in the rain with a top down and then lying about it.  And he recalls why she is familiar.  There were rumors that she had cheated in a golf tournament. This became nearly a scandal at the time and then died down.  Nick concludes that she was "incurably dishonest" (65) and also incurably careless.  He accuses her of this, and she tells Nick, "I hate careless people. That's why I like you" (63).  Nick, in spite of this, is drawn to her and determines to pursue her, but first he must break off a relationship back home.  He says he has "a set of interior rules that act as a break on my desires" (64) and that "I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known" (64). We can take from this, if nothing else, that Nick is meant to be a reliable narrator.  But Jordan Baker is one more character in the novel who is careless and dishonest, a representative of her class, much like Tom and Daisy Buchanan. 

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