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Chapter 9

For a few days after Gatsby's murder, police, photographers, and reporters take over his house and swarm the area, trying to find people who knew him and who would know why George Wilson had killed him. Catherine, Myrtle Wilson's sister, proclaims that her sister had never known Gatsby and that she had been completely happy being married to George. The conclusion that most reporters come to is that Wilson was simply deranged and that there could have been no rational explanation for his actions.
Immediately after discovering the carnage, Nick calls Daisy's house but finds out that they had left New York without leaving an address and without telling anyone where they had gone. Nick suddenly feels a great responsibility to Gatsby and tries to get people to come to his funeral because he doesn't want Gatsby to be alone at death. He cannot find anyone, however, who is willing to come to Gatsby's funeral. Nick even tries to contact Meyer Wolfshiem, who initially doesn't reply to him but then finally send a cold, cordial reply telling him that he is too involved in an important business negotiation to come to Gatsby's funeral.
On the third day after Gatsby's murder, his father, Henry C. Gatz, arrives from a town in Minnesota, and Nick arranges to meet with him. He tells Nick that he had read all about Gatsby's death in the Chicago papers and figures that George Wilson must have been an absolute madman - he doesn't realize that his Jimmy had been engaged in any sort of criminal activities. Gatz speaks fondly of his son, telling Nick that his son Jimmy had been destined to do great things and that he had risen to his great social position because he had loved living in the East so much.
While Nick is in Gatsby's house, entertaining his father and making preparations for the funeral, he receives a call from one of Gatsby's peers, a man named Klipspringer. Nick is thrilled to hear from him because he hopes that he will attend Gatsby's funeral, but Klipspringer called him only because he had left his shoes at Gatsby's house at one of his parties. Disgusted, Nick hangs up on Klipspringer and is overwhelmed by pity for Gatsby because Gatsby's friends don't seem to be grieving for him, and some even suggest that Gatsby had gotten what he had deserved. So, in spite of the money that Gatsby had attained, he hadn't been able to gain a single friend in the business world.
The morning of the funeral, Nick travels to Wolfshiem's office to see if he can persuade him to come to the funeral. Wolfshiem, who sees him only reluctantly, tells him that when he had first met Gatsby, he had been poor and hungry, but Wolfshiem had been able to tell that great potential lay beneath his exterior. Wolfshiem had liked his Oxford education and had become his mentor in the gambling/bootlegging business but tells Nick that he cannot attend the funeral because he doesn't like to get mixed up in colleagues' funerals.
Nick returns to West Egg, where Mr. Gatz is admiring his son's home and shows Nick a schedule that Gatsby had made out for himself when he had been a young boy. The meticulous schedule includes such tasks as exercising, studying, and practicing elocution and poise. Mr. Gatz tells Nick that he had always known that Jimmy was going to get ahead in life and that his ambition and drive had been apparent even in childhood - he doesn't realize that Gatsby had made his millions not only through hard work but, more importantly, through participating in criminal activities.
The only people who end up attending Gatsby's funeral, which takes place during a thick drizzle, are Nick, Mr. Gatz, the minister, and a few of Gatsby's servants. As they head to the cemetery to bury Gatsby's body, the owl-eyed man who had gotten in a car accident at one of Gatsby's parties drives up to the funeral and remarks on how sparse the funeral party is in comparison to the droves of people who would party at Gatsby's house by the hundreds.
After Gatsby's funeral, Nick travels back to the Midwest because he is haunted in the East by memories of Gatsby and the cruelty of the petty, careless people who had ruined and destroyed his dream. Before he could leave New York, though, he had had to break off his relationship with Jordan Baker, but when he tries to tell her that he is moving from the East, she tells him that she is already engaged to another man.
He travels back to New York in October, where he runs into Tom Buchanan. Tom asks Nick why he won't shake his hand, and Nick responds by asking him what he had said to Wilson the day that he had murdered Gatsby. Tom tells him that Wilson had been deranged and had had a hand on his gun the entire time that he had interrogated Tom about the driver of the car, and Tom was so afraid for both his life and Daisy's life that he had told Wilson where Gatsby had lived. Nick realizes that he is tired of hating Tom and Daisy and the rest of their careless, indifferent crowd - they were just thoughtless people who treated others as objects that they could play with and then throw away. But Nick, like Fitzgerald, was not like them and could see through their superficial veneers.
On the night that he moves back to the Midwest (Fitzgerald, as you may have noticed, liked to toy with time and never specifically outlines any clear, chronological timeline of events in the book), Nick wanders down to the beach and contemplates all that he has witnessed during the past few months. He sees America as the original Dutch sailors who had explored North America had first viewed it, as a large, undeveloped, raw piece of green land waiting to be cultivated. Gatsby, like those sailors, had seen the green light at the end of Daisy's dock and had hungered to reach that light and claim it for himself because he believed that he would bring himself happiness and success by winning her love. Gatsby shared in the same optimism and ambition that they had created - the belief that he could win anything with the sweat of his own brow. And it is this spirit of hope and hard work that will always define the American Dream.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9



 






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