What was Nick's relationship with Jordan in "The Great Gatsby"?

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sagesource eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nick is going out with Jordan for most of the novel, but he always feels that she is not trustworthy and he breaks up with her after he finds how indifferent she is to tragedy.

Jordan and Nick meet in the first chapter. Although attracted to her, Nick has a relationship to end before he can become involved with her, which contrasts his ethics and her dishonesty. Ironically, Nick finds Jordan's openness about her character attractive, as when he criticizes her driving:

“I am careful."

“No, you’re not.”

“Well, other people are....They’ll keep out of my way,” she insisted. “It takes two to make an accident.”

“Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself.”

“I hope I never will,” she answered. “I hate careless people. That’s why I like you.” (Ch. 3)

It is after this conversation that Nick first finds himself feeling truly in love with Jordan.

The relationship ends after the death of Myrtle Wilson, Tom's mistress, run down by Daisy. Tom, Nick, and Jordan reach the accident scene soon after. Nick is hit hard by the death, but Jordan takes it casually:

“Won’t you come in, Nick?”

“No, thanks.”

I was feeling a little sick and I wanted to be alone. But Jordan lingered for a moment more.

“It’s only half-past nine,” she said. (Ch. 7)

Soon after, Nick realizes that he can no longer tolerate Jordan’s callousness and indifference:

“I’m thirty,” I said. “I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor.” (Ch. 9)

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nick finds himself attracted to Jordan's lean, hard, androgynous golfer's body as well as her cool, self-possessed manner. They have much in common: first, they are both from the same social class. Second, Jordan is Daisy's childhood friend and Nick is Daisy's cousin; they are both connected to the Buchanans. Both also get entangled with Gatsby, acting as intermediaries for the meeting Gatsby is anxious to set up with Daisy at Nick's house. It seems almost inevitable that they would "fall in" together to make a foursome with Tom and Daisy.

At moments Nick seems to be falling in love with Jordan, but he has a prior entanglement with a girl back home, one mentioned incessantly by Daisy when he first comes to dinner at the Buchanan house. Further, at the same moment he is accusing Jordan of being dishonest and praising himself as the "cardinal" virtue of honesty, he is also revealing that he has not been upfront with his girlfriend back home. 

Nick and Jordan have a complicated and ultimately unsatisfactory relationship that ends abruptly, unable to withstand the shock of Myrtle's and Gatsby's deaths. 

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The Great Gatsby

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