How does Nick describe Gatsby the first time he sees him in The Great Gatsby?

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The first time Nick sees Gatsby is at the end of chapter 1; Nick is sitting outside his bungalow in West Egg after having dinner with Tom, Daisy, and Jordan in East Egg. He notices that he is not alone; a man has stepped outside Gatsby's mansion, and Nick correctly assumes that it is "Mr. Gatsby himself." Nick starts to call out to him but reconsiders because he intuits that Gatsby is "content to be alone." Nick watches as Gatsby extends his arms toward the bay that separates his house from Tom and Daisy's. Though he is about fifty feet away, Nick feels sure Gatsby is trembling. Nick looks in the direction of Gatsby's gaze and sees a green light that he thinks might be at the end of a dock. When Nick's gaze returns to where Gatsby was standing, he has disappeared.

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Nick first sees Gatsby at the end of Chapter I.  He describes him as "standing with his hands in his pockets...."(25).  Nick is about to talk to call out to him, but decides not to when "he stretched his arms together toward the water in a curious way..."(26).  Nick then says, "...I could have sworn he was trembling" (26). Nick tells us that he is simply assuming this is Gatsby, but this does turn out to be a correct assumption.  Nick does not actually need Gatsby until the end of Chapter III, and there are a few passages that describe Gatsby, particularly very famous description of Gatsby's smile.

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In The Great Gatsby, what does Nick think of Gatsby after meeting him?

Interestingly, Jay Gatsby's personal attributes and idiosyncrasies are revealed not at once, nor in a continuum. Thus, there is a certain aura of mystery and allure that surrounds Gatsby. He stands on his "blue lawn" in the night and watches the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan's pier; he gives lavish parties, but no one is really invited, Gatsby himself is rarely seen, and rumors abound about his background and past. 

When Nick is invited to one of Gatsby's parties by the chauffeur, he moves among the crowd, realizing that, perhaps, he is the only one who has actually been invited. When Nick turns to a new acquaintance, he remarks that the party is "unusual" for him as he does not even know the host, Gatsby.

"I'm Gatsby," he said suddenly.
"What!" I exclaimed. "Oh, I beg your pardon."
"I thought you knew, old sport. I'm afraid I'm not a very good host."
He smiled understandingly--much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it that you may come across four or five times in life.

Nick feels that Gatsby has focused entirely upon him and then feels favorably toward him, somehow understanding him, believing in him as he would like to believe in himself, assuring him that Gatsby has the impression of Nick that he wishes him to have. It is a sparkling moment, a moment when trumpets herald the arrival of someone important--then, just a quickly as a spark, this moment ends. And Nick is brought back to earth, finding Gatsby's "formality of speech just missed being absurd."

Curious now as to who Gatsby really is, Nick turns to Jordan and she expresses her doubts about him, saying he has told her he attended Oxford, but she does not think that Gatsby has gone there. Nick begins to realize that Gatsby has no one really knows who Gatsby is and, suddenly, Nick's curiosity is stimulated.

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In The Great Gatsby, what does Nick think of Gatsby after meeting him?

Nick is pretty impressed with Gatsby.  He never expected "The Gatsby" to be just around 30, tanned and very introverted.  He thought if he met Gatsby, he'd be middle aged, very outgoing and pompous.  Gatsby didn't even drink at his own parties and stayed away from the crowds.  He was nothing like Nick's expectations.  Because of that surprise, Nick develops a quick admiration of Gatsby.  He even sets Gatsby above most people in the world.

"He smiled understandingly--much more than understandingly.  It was one of those rare smiled with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life." 

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What does Nick think of Gatsby when he first meets him?

When he first sees Gatsby, off in the distance, Gatsby seems mysterious. However, when they meet for the first time close up, at one of Gatsby's famous parties, he makes a strong but very different impression. Nick finds Gatsby's smile reassuring, and finds that his face communicates a very special offer of understanding that would accept one's impression of oneself. (Gatsby also seems to be speaking with great care, taking pains to choose the right word.)

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In The Great Gatsby, what is Nick's first opinion of Gatsby?

After having lived next to Gatsby's estate for several months, Nick Carraway receives an invitation to one of Gatsby's legendary parties. Carraway has been watching the preparations for these parties for some time, but has no idea about Gatsby as a person other than that he must, based on his surroundings, be very wealthy.

When he is at the party, a stranger (who turns out to be Gatsby) introduces himself—"I'm Gatsby"—and Nick is surprised by the lack of formality in his host. After Gatsby declares that he remembers having seen Carraway in France during WWI, Carraway describes his reaction to Gatsby's demeanor:

It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced — or seemed to face — the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. (Ch. 3)

This somewhat dazzled response to Gatsby's smile—his ability to concentrate his attention on Nick as if no one else is present—instills in Carraway a predisposition to admire Gatsby scarcely diminished by the harsher realities of Gatsby that Carraway is to learn later.

The tension between what Gatsby seems to be and what he is, however, is immediately evident in Carraway's next observation as Gatsby's smile fades:

I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd.

Even though Carraway's first response is surpassingly positive, and he has no way at this point of knowing Gatsby's history, Carraway senses that Gatsby's speech is an affectation rather than a natural attribute. This realization is the seed of his fully mature view of Gatsby at the end of the novel.

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In The Great Gatsby, what is Nick's first opinion of Gatsby?

In Chapter One, Nick is fascinated by the enigmatic Gatsby.  Here is an excerpt in which Nick recalls his initial encounter:  "If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was somthing gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away...it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again." 

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What is Gatsby doing when Nick first sees him?

While we, as readers, and Nick, as the narrator, are provided with some information about Gatsby earlier, the first time Nick sees Gatsby is at the end of Chapter One.  Gatsby is Nick's neighbor, and as Nick returns to his new home after his visit at the Buchanans', he sits outside before going into the house "on an abandoned grass roller in the yard" (25). He turns his head to watch a cat moving in the moonlight, and it is then he gets his first glimpse of Gatsby, a mere fifty feet away.  He sees that,

[A] figure had emerged from the shadow...and was standing with his hands in his pockets regarding the silver pepper of the stars (25).

Nick knows that Gatsby is the person who owns the mansion next door to him, and he concludes from the man's stance, which seems proprietary, that this is Gatsby.

Nick decides to call out to Gatsby to introduce himself, but changes his mind because,

[He] gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone - he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and as far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling" (25-26).

All that Nick sees that Gatsby could be watching and stretching his arms toward is

[A] single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock" (26).

Gatsby then vanishes into the shadows and Nick must wait to meet his mysterious neighbor.

Thus our knowledge of Gatsby builds indirectly and gradually.  We know very early that Gatsby had,

[A]n extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person.... (6).

We hear again of Gatsby from Jordan Baker when she and Nick are visiting the Buchanans, when Jordan tells Nick he "must" know Gatsby, implying that everyone knows Gatsby, and we observe Daisy's odd response to this, restating the name and asking "What Gatsby?" (15) in a demanding way. At dinner, there is no further talk about Gatsby because Daisy has a bit of a meltdown when Tom is called away from the table with a phone call from his mistress. So we are tantalized by what we do know and further tantalized by Nick's first glimpse of Gatsby, a solitary figure who seems to be yearning for a green light across the water.

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What do Nick and Jordan think of Gatsby almost immediately in The Great Gatsby?

Both Nick Carraway and Jordan view Gatsby as an intriguing individual and believe that he is lying to them after engaging in one-on-one conversations with him. In chapter 3, Gatsby introduces himself to Nick, who is astonished to meet his enigmatic neighbor and the host of the party. After Gatsby makes an impression, Nick begins to ask Jordan questions about him. Jordan responds by telling Nick:

Now YOU're started on the subject...Well,—he told me once he was an Oxford man...However, I don't believe it. (Fitzgerald 54)

Something about Gatsby's demeanor and character suggests that he is fabricating his background. Later on, Nick travels with Gatsby into the city and Gatsby tells Nick that he is an Oxford man. Nick mentions:

He looked at me sideways—and I knew why Jordan Baker had believed he was lying. He hurried the phrase "educated at Oxford," or swallowed it or choked on it as though it had bothered him before. And with this doubt his whole statement fell to pieces and I wondered if there wasn’t something a little sinister about him after all. (Fitzgerald 70)

Overall, both Jordan Baker and Nick Carraway find Gatsby to be an interesting person and intriguing figure. They are both attracted to his personality but believe that he is lying about his background. Later on, it is revealed that Gatsby is a self-made man from humble beginnings.

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What does Nick think of Gatsby after meeting him?

When Nick first interacts with Jay Gatsby, ironically he doesn’t even know it is Gatsby to whom he is speaking. Once he realizes he is in Gatsby’s presence, he makes a very iinteresting observation about the way Gatsby speaks. He notes that Gatsby appears to be choosing his words with care. This is rather insightful and makes sense once we discover that Gatsby has reinvented himself to impress Daisy. It would appear that he was trying to impress Nick, as well. It should be noted that Nick does not judge Gatsby after first meeting him. We come to accept Nick as a reliable narrator who doesn’t pass judgment on the other characters, so we believe in his assessment of Gatsby. 

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Describe Gatsby the first time Nick sees him.

Nick first believes he sees Gatsby outside the man's palatial mansion on West Egg one summer night. He is a shadowy figure. He is alone and somewhat aloof as Nick indicates he has the feeling the man wanted to be left undisturbed. Gatsby is looking eastward to the light at the end of the dock where Daisy Buchanan lives in the mansion across the bay in East Egg. He is reaching out "in a curious way." It is symbolic that Gatsby is in the West and Daisy in the East. He represents the nouveau riche as opposed to the established Eastern money of Tom Buchanan. Daisy is symbolic of the wealth and acceptance which Gatsby strives for and the reason he is portrayed as reaching out.

Nick doesn't actually meet Gatsby until chapter three at one of Gatsby's parties. Nick does not even recognize the man he has been sitting with until he comments that he hasn't met the host yet. Gatsby informs Nick that he is the host and Nick is quite surprised. He is immediately impressed by Gatsby, yet he comments that Gatsby's way of speaking was almost "absurd." Nick seems to recognize that there is something phony about Gatsby but this doesn't keep him from taking an instant liking to the man.  

 

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How does Nick perceive Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby?

In Chapter One, Nick says that "there was something gorgeous about [Gatsby], some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life," almost as if he were like a seismograph -- a machine that measures the size of earthquakes many miles away.  Gatsby seems to feel everything so deeply, and in a world full of Toms and Daisies and Jordans, who seem to feel so little, such an ability to be affected is remarkable.  It seems to signal a kind of innocence, despite Gatsby's lies and criminal activities, and it is this innocence that defines him for Nick rather than these other things.

Furthermore, Nick says that Gatsby has "an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as [Nick has] never found in any other person."  Gatsby is truly unique, at least for the world in which Nick lives.  Just after World War I, many people -- Nick included -- felt invariably disillusioned, but Gatsby seems to have retained his ability to dream big, his ability to believe in love and beauty. 

In the final lines of the book, Nick says that

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.  It eluded us then, but that's no matter -- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...And one fine morning---.

Gatsby manages to retain an optimism that so few people can, and even though his beautiful dream of the future seems to get further and further away, he is able to keep believing that he will reach it eventually. 

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