What is the weather like in chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby? How does it reflect on the emotional climate of Gatsby and Daisy? I read the chapter and saw all the examples of the weather. I just don't know how the weather pertains to the relationship of Gatsby and Daisy. 

The weather in chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby reflects the emotional climate of Gatsby and Daisy in that the rain mirrors the apprehension Gatsby feels and the awkwardness of their meeting. The eventual sun break mirrors the warmth they feel towards each other after they have talked.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, there is a lot of discussion about the weather. Through most of the day discussed in the chapter, it is nasty and raining. This foreshadows the rainy and tempestuous relationship that will ensue between Gatsby and Daisy. All of the descriptive words Fitzgerald uses regarding the weather carry negative connotations. Specifically, Fitzgerald uses "darkness," "pouring," "damp," "dash," "wet," "puddle," "muddy," "swamps," and "marshes," among other words.

The climate is first mentioned in association with Gatsby’s house. Gatsby is very proud of his house and wants Daisy to see it. Naively, he believes it represents his having reached her social strata. Nick says, “[There was] only wind in the trees, which blew the wires and made the lights go off and on again as if the house had winked into the darkness.”

The reader is immediately immersed in a day that is windy and dreary. The wind turns the lights off and on, reflecting the ephemeral impact the enormous house will ultimately have on Gatsby’s relationship with Daisy. In other words, while she is impressed initially, it is not a positive impression that will last, just as Daisy’s relationship with Gatsby will not last.

Nick says, “The day agreed upon was pouring rain. At eleven o’clock a man in a raincoat dragging a lawn-mower tapped at my front door and said that Mr. Gatsby had sent him over to cut my grass.” This is another sign of how dreary the day is and how anxious and eager Gatsby is to impress Daisy. Even in the rain, he needs Nick's lawn manicured.

Even later, after the rain has stopped, the day is still misty. Gatsby says, "If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay." This parallels Gatsby’s relationship with Daisy. She is unobtainable. When he feels that he gets near to her, he is really only approaching her through a mist and cannot really see her clearly.

When Daisy arrives, Gatsby is described as “pale as death… standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes.” This foreshadows Gatsby’s actual tragic death in the pool at the end of the novel. He is standing in a puddle of water in this scene, and at the end, his lifeless body is discovered in a pool of water.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In short, the weather in chapter five of The Great Gatsby reflects the meeting after so many years of Gatsby and Daisy. 

The rain mucks up a muddled day.  Preparations are hectic and Gatsby is nervous.  Streets are wet, puddles abound.  After Gatsby knocks on the front door and Nick opens it, Gatsby is standing in a puddle of water, hands in pockets, "glaring tragically" into Nick's eyes.

After Nick leaves the two alone for awhile, when he returns, Gatsby is beaming and the rain has stopped.  He is elated after his one-on-one time with Daisy, and the weather has cleared...

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access


Again, then, the rain reflects Gatsby's shyness, nervousness, apprehension, and self-consciousness, and the clearing up of the weather reflects the clearing up of Gatsby's mind concerning Daisy.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The rain can be read two ways:

1) as a purgation (outpour/downpour) of emotion: this is what Gatsby feels and expects Daisy to feel, but the date/reunion is awkward, a bit anticlimactic.

2) as a link and a way back to the past. Fitzgerald says in chapter 9:

“tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms out father… so we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past.”

Chapter 5 is the turning point / fulcrum of the novel: it's in the middle for a reason.  In chapter 5, Gatsby wants to get in his little boat and travel back on the sea of history into the past.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This is one of the coolest elements of chapter 5. As Nick and Gatsby are getting ready, even as Daisy is driving up, it is pouring rain. Great directors use rain in their movies to show great trouble or problems or even irresolution. At this point of downpour, Daisy has no idea why she is coming to see Nick, and the past of her relationship with Gatsby was indeed problematic.

While Daisy and Gatsby are alone, something gets resolved... it takes some working through because Nick is outside in the rain during this time for half an hour. It takes that long for Gatsby to pursue Daisy and work through these things... Then, the rain breaks and Nick goes back in. He can tell something has happened positively although Daisy is crying.

The break in the rain and clearing up symbolizes that they have finished working through these things and everything is now okay.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this chapter, there is very heavy rain during the first part of the meeting between Daisy and Gatsby.  Then, after about half an hour, the sun comes out.  I think this is sort of a metaphor for the way things are going between the two of them.

At first, things are very awkward and neither of them feels comfortable.  This is reflected in the rain --it's gloomy.

But then they get comfortable with each other. They are acting more warmly towards one another by the time that Nick comes back.  This is reflected by the sun coming out and the weather being nice.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team