Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis
By the beginning of this chapter, Gatsby has stopped throwing his big parties, in part because Daisy doesn’t approve of them and in part because Wolfsheim, his business partner, wants to do a favor for a family of former hotel owners, who come to replace Gatsby’s former servants. Daisy has been coming over almost every afternoon, and Nick isn’t surprised that they haven’t been in touch with him much lately. When Gatsby does finally call, it’s out of the blue and only because Daisy has asked him to invite Nick to lunch at her house the next day. Nick is right to suspect that this will not end well. It’s searingly hot when he arrives at the Buchanans’ house, and Jordan, Tom, and Daisy have been drinking, waiting from him and Gatsby to arrive. When they enter the salon, both Jordan and Daisy say, “We can’t move.” It’s the heat.
In the other room, Tom is yelling at George Wilson, refusing to sell him the car they discussed in Chapter II. Daisy and Jordan have both assumed that it’s Tom’s mistress on the phone, but Nick assures them that it isn’t. This telephone exchange leaves Tom feeling upset and brutish, and he flings open the door of the salon with fury before stalking in and out. In the wake of her husband’s display of irritation, Daisy must soothe Gatsby, telling him she loves him with a kiss before introducing him to her daughter. Nick notes that Gatsby seems surprised by the child’s existence and that he doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge that Daisy and Tom were ever so in love as to produce a child. He doesn’t want to acknowledge that they’re married at all. Once Tom returns, the two lovers don’t know how to carry themselves in order to hide the affair, and Daisy nervously suggests that they go into the City, making the mistake of saying that Gatsby looks cool. “You always look so cool,” she says, meaning that he doesn’t seem to be sweating, meaning that she loves him. It’s this intimate remark that finally clues Tom into what has been happening behind his back. He doesn’t take it well.
Outside, Tom insists on driving Gatsby’s “circus wagon” of a car. This distasteful suggestion is an attempt on Tom’s part to assert dominance, and it’s clear, when he orders Daisy to get into the car, that he’s trying to replace Gatsby in her mind and keep Daisy all to himself. However, Daisy refuses to go with him, and Tom ends up driving Nick and Jordan in Gatsby’s car while Gatsby drives Daisy in Tom’s car. Gatsby’s unfortunate lie about there not being much gas in the car leads Nick to insist upon stopping at Wilson’s garage, where Wilson, looking sick and upset, tells Tom that he’d like to buy his car so he can make a little money off it and move out West with his wife. He’s aware that she’s having an affair but doesn’t yet suspect Tom, and it’s this uncomfortable realization that leads Tom to agree to selling the car. It’s unclear where this would leave Tom and Myrtle. Myrtle herself, watching this exchange from an upstairs window, doesn’t hear what they say, but fixes her eyes jealously on Jordan Baker, whom she mistakes for Tom’s wife. This will lead to trouble.
Once in the City, they aren’t sure what to do. Jordan suggests going to the movies, and Daisy wants to rent five bathrooms and take five baths, but after a long argument the group decides on what may well be the hottest option: renting a single, stifling room and drinking mint juleps in the afternoon heat. This makes all of them cranky, and soon after they arrive Tom harps on Gatsby’s overuse of the term “old sport,” which he finds rather absurd. In fact, he finds almost everything about Gatsby absurd, including his pink suit. Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” starts to play, inspiring Daisy to tell the story of how a man fainted at her wedding, which took place in Louisville in mid-June, when the heat was near unbearable. Following this, Tom questions whether or not Gatsby went to Oxford...
(The entire section is 1,830 words.)