In chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby, what does the rain signify?

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In chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby, the rain signifies both Gatsby's lack of control in this meeting with Daisy and his emotional state. Gatsby is apprehensive and forlorn as the chapter opens, fearing that Daisy will fail to show up and therefore reject him.

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The rain signifies the precariousness of Gatsby's situation as he is on the brink of reuniting with Daisy after five years of separation.

Gatsby has gone to extraordinary lengths to control every aspect of this reunion, taking the time to carefully lay his plans. He has recruited Jordan to persuade Nick to host the meeting in his house. He has prevailed on Nick to keep the reason for inviting Daisy over a secret. He has had Nick's lawn mowed and flowers delivered. He has devised a carefully scripted plan to meet Daisy at Nick's modest home and then do the grand unveiling of his own mansion next door. Yet the rain reveals how many variables in life are not under his control. He can do everything in his power to manage this reunion, but he cannot predetermine whether it will succeed. This is reality, not a stage play.

The rain also underscores how awkward the meeting is at first. Just as it is not sunny, the two don't immediately fall into each other's arms. Five years have passed, whether Gatsby wants to acknowledge this or not, and the relationship has broken. It has to be reestablished. It is only after the proverbial ice breaks and the two are comfortable together that the sun once again comes out.

The rain shows that although Gatsby wants to bend the world to his desires, the world is quite capable of going on its way, indifferent to those desires, no matter how much money Gatsby has.

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In preparation for this meeting with Daisy, Gatsby has attempted to create the perfect environment. He is a master of controlling the world around him and has obtained nearly everything he has ever wanted through his industrious labor and insights. One thing has eluded him thus far: Daisy. On this day, he dresses to impress and makes sure that the grass looks perfect, sending his own gardener to Nick's house to tidy things up. He even sends a "greenhouse" of flowers to decorate Nick's home.

On a day when Gatsby is supposed to be reunited with the love of his life, you would expect a bright, sunny day, full of warmth. Yet as Gatsby arrives, it is "pouring rain." This is a reminder that Gatsby is not in complete control of this meeting with Daisy. It casts a sense of gloom over the meeting, particularly as he becomes more convinced that Daisy won't show up. Finally the rain begins to pass just before Daisy's much-anticipated arrival. Her presence is juxtaposed to the rainy and gloomy mood thus far:

Under the dripping bare lilac trees a large open car was coming up the drive. It stopped. Daisy's face, tipped sideways beneath a three-cornered lavender hat, looked out at me with a bright ecstatic smile.

Though the rain has reflected Gatsby's pervasive sense of melancholy in awaiting this arrival, Daisy's "bright ecstatic smile" lifts this sense of gloom even as the trees continue to drip the remnants of rain behind her. This indicates the power Daisy has over Gatsby and the influence she has on his emotional state.

Daisy and Gatsby begin getting reacquainted inside the house, and Nick quietly excuses himself to give them some privacy. Once outside, he notices that the weather has shifted:

After half an hour the sun shone again.

The day has become clear and bright, reflecting the way Gatsby's spirits have improved upon Daisy's arrival. He believes that this moment is the culmination of years of determination and that his tormented longing for the girl of his dreams is over.

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In Chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby, the rain first foreshadows the tension between Gatsby and Daisy when they are reunited. The rain also symbolizes Daisy's tears later in the chapter. At the beginning of the day, the rain is pouring down. Gatsby arrives in the rain, tense and worried about his meeting with Daisy at Nick's place for tea. When Daisy finally arrives, her hair is damp and "her hand was wet with glistening drops" (para 49) of the damp mist, what remains of the rain. The rain and its aftermath foreshadow Daisy's first glimpse of Gatsby and the tension between them:

Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes (para 18).

Thus, the rain symbolizes the clouded relationship between Gatsby and Daisy. When Nick makes his quick escape to the tree, the rain begins to pour down again while Gatsby and Daisy are together in the house.

However, when Nick re-enters the house, Daisy is drying her tears, and Gatsby "literally glowed." Once the rain has passed and Daisy's tears are dry, Gatsby announces that the rain has ended, and there is sunshine in the room. In fact, Gatsby says, “It’s stopped raining” (para 80). When the rain stops, the years also evaporate between Gatsby and Daisy. Tears and sadness are gone, and the two become intensely wrapped up in each other as if they've never been apart.

Unfortunately, as the chapter ends, Nick leaves the couple on the marble stairs and walks into the rain, foreshadowing that trouble that lies ahead for Gatsby and Daisy.

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Anytime an author presents weather, it is typically not just rain, snow, wind, or sunshine; it is a message about the action of the storyline.

In this instance in chapter 5, rain can signify renewal of a relationship. It can wash away the past. It can cleanse what was wrong with the past so that the future can go on in purity. This rain happened in the middle of the day, and only for the time during which the meeting between Gatsby and Daisy was held. Had the rain been coupled with thunder and lightening or wind, it might signify a different change. In that case, it could foreshadow trouble. Here it's singular purpose is to demonstrate the birth of a relationship refreshed and cleansed. It is a little like a shower.

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