Chapter 9 Summary and Analysis
In this ninth and final chapter, Nick, being perhaps Gatsby’s only friend, becomes the one who fields questions about him, manages his estate, and even arranges his funeral. His first call is to Daisy, thinking she’d like to know what happened, but it seems she and Tom have left town and might never come back. Wolfsheim, too, is unreachable by phone, and Nick goes to great lengths to track him down, first sending a letter along with Gatsby’s butler and then refusing to accept the transparent letter he writes in return about being too busy to come down but all too willing to help in other ways. So it seems Wolfsheim has washed his hands of the business. In the midst of all this, Nick receives a phone call from one of Gatsby’s old contacts, Slagle, who says that someone called “Young Parke” is in trouble. Then, just as soon Nick tells Slagle that Gatsby’s dead, Slagle hangs up, and Nick is left to wonder about Gatsby’s connections to the underworld.
Soon after, a postcard arrives from Gatsby’s father, Mr. Gatz, who asks Nick to delay Gatsby’s funeral until he arrives. Mr. Gatz is a “solemn old man” who wears a cheap coat and thinks the world of his son. He’s somewhat in awe of the house, of its splendid hallways and vast rooms, and this helps to allay some of the grief of his son’s death. Nick asks him what he wants to do about the body, suggesting perhaps that he should take it west, but Mr. Gatz says no. His son would’ve wanted to be buried in the East. That same night, Nick receives a call from Gatsby’s “boarder,” Mr. Klipspringer, who is wondering if Nick could have a pair of his shoes sent along to the house he’s staying in out in Greenwich. Nick, having expected Klipspringer to act like a friend and come to Gatsby’s funeral, hangs up in disgust and doesn’t send him the shoes. He doesn’t want Mr. Gatz to be the only other person at the funeral, so he attempts once more to reach Wolfsheim, calling on him at a building belonging to “The Swastika Holding Company.” (Wolfsheim is, of course, Jewish.) Wolfsheim reminisces about first meeting Gatsby and using him to further his own business dealings, but in the end refuses the invitation to the funeral. “I can’t get mixed up in it,” he says. So that’s that.
Right before the funeral, Mr. Gatz shows Nick a photograph Gatsby had sent him of the estate in West Egg. It’s smudged all over, as if Mr. Gatz had been showing it off back home, boasting about his rich and successful son. He also shows Nick a copy of an old book in which Gatsby had written out his daily schedule: 6:00 AM, rise from bed. Practice elocution, 6:00 - 6:00 PM. He’d also written out his “resolves” in a list: no more smoking. Bath every other day. Be better to parents. It’s easy to see how a boy this regimented could’ve had success in the military and how he was able to then move up in the world. Nick is still thinking about this when the funeral begins and Owl Eyes joins them at the grave. He doesn’t know how Owl Eyes knew about the funeral. It’s a solemn little affair.
Nick again breaks from the chronological narrative to tell us what he loves about the Midwest, and to explain how, after Gatsby’s death, New York and the East Coast lost its allure. He sees West Egg as a kind of fantastic landscape where life is vivid, exciting, and fast, but also, like a painting by El Greco, grotesque and lustreless, full of cold, rich figures who seem to haunt the landscape the way Gatsby’s death haunts Nick. He leaves the East after Gatsby’s murder and never returns. But before he goes he has a chat with Jordan Baker . Their relationship has left a mark on him, and he’s still half in love with her. It seems they were both half in love and had been surprised and a little bit exhilarated by it. Now Jordan doesn’t care about Nick at all, and what’s more, she doesn’t think that he’s a very nice guy. “I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward...
(The entire section is 1,727 words.)