How can a student write a literary analysis for Chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby from  "instead of taking the short cut along the sound" to     "i've never seen such- such beautiful shirts"    

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter Five of The Great Gatsby illustrates the charm of money for Daisy, a material charm in which Gatsby has invested as he hopes to repeat the past. This chapter is climactic as Jay Gatsby finally reunites with his fair maiden, Daisy Buchanan. In fact, Gatsby experiences three psychological states:


  1. He is reunited with his love, Daisy, after five years of planning for the moment.
  2. He experiences embarrassment, then "unreasoning joy" at his reunion with his love in Nick's cottage.
  3. He is "consumed with wonder at her presence" when Daisy is physically present in his mansion; the experience is a dream come true for Gatsby, like a fairy tale. 

As Gatsby takes Daisy and Nick to his house, Daisy is in awe of the mansion's "feudal silhouette" and the lovely gardens.  It is a romantic scene from the tales of King Arthur as Gatsby brings his maiden to his mansion described earlier as modeled after a Norman Hotel de Ville.  When she enters, Gatsby escorts her through his "castle" which, like the French palace of Versailles has "Marie Antoinette music rooms and Restoration salons." This image is tarnished and proven false, however, by the appearance of "the boarder," Klipspringer, a freeloader who came to a party and stayed.

As they traverse the opulent rooms, Gatsby reviews his home and possessions as they are mirrored in the "well-loved eyes" of Daisy. After entering Gatsby's bedroom, Daisy is delighted by the tawdry resplendence, "a toilet set of pure dull gold." She picks up the gold brush and runs it giddily through her own hair.  When she does so, Gatsby has to sit down; shading his eyes in his emotional embarrassment,  he laughs, "I can't--when I try to--"

Indicating the efforts of Gatsby to manipulate time, Nick narrates, 

Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an overwound clock.

Further, in a display of luring materialism, Gatsby pulls out a pile of shirts and tosses them one by one before Daisy, she and Nick admire them and she buries her head in the colorful material, crying "stormily." This display of maudlin emotion as she declares that she is "sad" to see so many beautiful shirts, clearly points to the shallow values of Daisy for whom wealth is seductive.


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The Great Gatsby

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