Ella Kaye

Who is Ella Kaye in The Great Gatsby?


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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Six of The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway continues his narrative of Gatsby's past and background. While Gatsby worked as a clam digger and a salmon fisherman, or anything else he could do, he met fifty-year-old Dan Cody when his yacht dropped anchor near the shore, a symbol of glamour and beauty to young Jay. Cody had a relationship with a newspaperwoman named Ella Kaye, who managed to ingratiate herself with Cody, having "played Madame de Maintenon to his weakness"; that is, she became a favorite mistress like the famous mistress of Louis XIV. 

The arrangement [between Gatsby and Dan Cody]lasted five years....It might have lasted indefinitely except for the fact that Ella Kaye came on board one night in Boston and a week later Dan Cody inhospitably died.

This is what Gatsby tells Nick, at any rate. Then, Nick says that he was told these things by Gatsby at a time at which he was at the point "of believing everything and nothing about him." So, there may no truth to this tale of Dan Cody other than that Gatsby did receive some financial benefits from Cody. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You can find this character in Chapter 6.  Basically, it is her fault that Gatsby was poor when he first met Daisy in Louisville.

In this chapter, we see Gatsby meet Dan Cody and go to work and live on Cody's yacht.  Cody is very rich -- his estate ends up being in the millions of dollars.  Gatsby was likely to have gotten some of it because he and Cody were very close.

But we find out that Ella Kaye (who was a newspaper woman) got in good with Cody somehow and she ended up with the vast majority of Cody's money (and besides, he died a week after she came on board the yacht).

If Kaye hadn't gotten the money, Gatsby would have gotten rich by inheriting from Cody.

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The Great Gatsby

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