How Does Nick React To Jordan

How does Nick react to Jordan in chapter 1?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Nick encounters Jordan Baker, she seems detached, "as if she were balancing something on it [the divan] which was quite likely to fall." Then, too, she appears to be ignoring his presence. Nick feels almost as though he should apologize for having disturbed her contemplation of the balancing object. After Daisy greets him, she introduces Jordan, whose only acknowledgement is an almost imperceptible flicker of her head. Again, Nick nearly mutters an apology. 

Almost any exhibition of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me.

In Chapter One of The Great Gatsby, narrator Nick Carraway tells his readers that once settled on West Egg, he went to visit "two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all." The Georgian Colonial mansion of the Buchanans is resplendent, complete with curtains flying like angel wings above the furniture. When Jordan finally stands, Nick observes,

She was a slender, small-breasted girl with an erect carriage which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet. Her grey sun-strained eyes looked back at me with polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming discontented face....that I had seen...or a picture of her, somewhere before.

When Jordan speaks, she does so with a yawn as though she is jaded. Later, he and Miss Baker "exchanged a short glance consciously devoid of meaning." As Nick is about to speak, she says "Sh!" because she is more interested in overhearing Tom Buchanan on the phone with his mistress. Later, he feels this stand-offish quality of Jordan's as she leaves the room to talk to Tom, and as he calls good-bye to Nick from Daisy's stairway. 

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first chapter of The Great Gatsby, Nick finds himself immediately attracted to Jordan Baker. Much of his description of her is physical.

Slender and charming are two terms he uses to describe her and he also admires her discontentment and apparent superiority to the situation she is in. As an outsider, it is possible that Nick connects with Jordan for this reason – he feels that she is an outsider too, at least emotionally.

However, we can say definitely that the emphasis of Nick’s response to this meeting is on Jordan Baker’s physical appearance which he finds pleasing.

I enjoyed looking at her.

This is the first and most telling line from his initial encounter with Miss Baker.


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The Great Gatsby

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