What is Gatsby's personality in chapter five of The Great Gatsby?

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Concerning The Great Gatsby, chapter five, and Gatsby's personality, I'll analyze him as he appears in the opening section of the chapter for you.

Gatsby appears anxious about making arrangements to meet Daisy at Nick's house.  He may also feel a bit isolated or lonely.  He approaches Nick the minute Nick arrives (apparently he has been watching and waiting for him) and suggests going to Coney Island.  When that doesn't work, he offers a swim in his pool.  He looks at Nick with "suppressed eagerness."  In other words, he's trying not to show it, but he is eager to talk to Nick about arranging for Daisy to come to Nick's for tea.  Gatsby is a bit like a nervous adolescent with a crush on someone in this scene. 

At the same time, Gatsby's terrible social skills are exhibited here.  Gatsby is not very good with people.  He is not comfortable with people.  He is somewhat inept with verbal communication.  He asks Nick to go to Coney Island, etc., because he is afraid or unable to come straight to the point.   

He is extremely unsure of himself, but he is also extremely courteous.  When Nick asks

"What day would suit you?"

to have Daisy over, Gatsby immediately replies

"What day would suit you?"

He is so courteous, in fact, that he seems much more comfortable doing a favor for someone than having someone do a favor for him.  He, apparently, had decided ahead of time to offer Nick a "little business" to help him out financially, and in fact does so.   

Finally, when Gatsby tells Nick that he wants to get the grass cut before Daisy comes (and Nick suspects Gatsby means Nick's grass, which apparently is correct), he reveals his perfectionism, at least when it comes to making a good impression on Daisy.  Later he will send a tea set and flowers over to Nick's before Daisy's arrival.   

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The Great Gatsby

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