What are the key themes in Chapters 3 and 5 of "The Great Gatsby"?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 3 reiterates Gatsby's mysterious nature, the question of his wealth and where he gets his money. Gatsby works hard not to be on anyone's "hit list"--he doesn't like conflict.  This is illustrated by the story in this chapter about the girl who ruined her gown at Gatsby's party and "inside a week I got a package from Croirier's with a new evening gown in it....Two hundred and sixty-five dollars."  The women make the comment that "there's something funny about a fellow that'll do a thing like that...he doesn't want any trouble from anybody."  This is also where the crazy rumors about who he is and what he's done surface.  Some say he's a German spy, or he's killed someone, others wonder if the books in his library are real or just for show. 

Chapter 5 introduces the relationship of Daisy and Jay Gatsby.  It also reiterates the theme of illusion--everything is not what it seems.  Jay is embarrassed by Nick's yard and lack of landscaping, so Jay sends a grass cutter over to trim it up a bit.  He orders flowers and has them sent over to Nick's since the "meeting" between Daisy and Jay will be over tea at Nick's house.  He makes a big deal of his custom-made shirts.  The green light on Daisy' dock is mentioned again--representing all that Jay Gatsby wants and can't have--money, Daisy, the easy life of the wealthy.  In this chapter, we know that Gatsby is an incurable romantic who is destined for disappointment since his visions don't equal reality.

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The Great Gatsby

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