One character who doesn’t get much attention in The Great Gatsby is Jordan Baker. You may have read her quotes and then dismissed her since she doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose.
Is this really true? Is Jordan just a vehicle for author F. Scott Fitzgerald ( see interesting facts about Fitzgerald )to pass along some information, or does Jordan convey a deeper meaning to one of America’s greatest novels of all time?
Let’s take an in-depth look at Jordan Baker, her relationship with the narrator Nick Carraway, and her long-time friendship with Daisy Buchanan.
Who Is Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby?
Jordan Baker is the long-time friend of Daisy Buchanan (read Daisy’s character traits ). While the novel doesn’t tell us very much about her background, we know that she’s been friends with Daisy since at least Daisy’s coming-of-age party, well before she met Tom Buchanan.
Jordan is a professional golfer who was involved in a cheating scandal. While it was never proven that she cheated by moving the ball, she was suspected of having done so.
The book also implies that Jordan used her charm to get out of this sticky scandal.
That makes her, as Nick Carraway described, “incurably dishonest”.
We also know that Jordan loves gossip, as long as it isn’t about herself. When Nick first meets Jordan at Daisy’s house, the friends are having dinner when the phone starts to ring. She tells Nick to be quiet so she could hear what was going on because she believed that Tom “had a woman in New York.”
Later, in Chapter 4 ( read The Great Gatsby Chapter 4 Quotes here ), Jordan tells Nick the history between Daisy and Gatsby. While it’s true that Jordan was there when Daisy received the letter from Gatsby, some of what Jordan relays to Nick is gossip, nothing more.
We know that Jordan’s family has all passed away, leaving her with only an elderly aunt to look after her interests and manage her trust fund.
In short, Jordan Baker is a single woman, professional golfer, liar, gossip, part-time love interest to Nick, and friend to Daisy Buchanan.
When Is Jordan Introduced in The Great Gatsby?
We hear about Jordan Baker in the very first chapter.
Nick Carraway goes to Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s house for a visit and dinner. Jordan is already there with Daisy, both women lounging on the sofa in the heat.
Nick notices Jordan right away, but she doesn’t introduce herself or even say hello to him. She appears aloof and haughty as if she was too important to notice Nick.
It takes Nick a few moments to remember where he had seen her before, then it comes to him. He read about her in a magazine, where he discovered she had been involved in the golfing tournament scandal.
It’s clear that Nick is physically attracted to her, but Jordan doesn’t really seem interested at first. She’s much more interested in finding out the gossip about Tom’s mistress.
Where Is Jordan Baker from in The Great Gatsby?
While author F. Scott Fitzgerald doesn’t tell us much about Jordan’s history ( read F Scott Fitzgerald quotes here), we do know that she comes from a very wealthy family, even though all but an aunt have passed away.
Jordan and Daisy grew up together in Louisville, Kentucky. These are lifelong friends who thought it was impossible to ever disagree with one another.
Even though they are close friends, Daisy and Jordan are quite different from one another.
Why Is Jordan Important in The Great Gatsby?
If you’ve read the novel, you’ve discovered that Jordan doesn’t actually accomplish anything, and the only place she seems to go is New York to have lunch or a party, or she attends parties at Gatsby’s house.
That doesn’t mean that Jordan Baker doesn’t play an important role in this novel. Fitzgerald uses Jordan to move the story along, as well as give us background on some of the more important characters, such as Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom.
Jordan acts as the go-between when speaking of East Egg, West Egg, New York, and Old New York. She’s a rich, white, single woman who uses her physical appearance to get what she wants.
You might think of Jordan as the typical “femme fatale”, but to Fitzgerald, Jordan was more of an example of the “modern woman”, for whom he apparently didn’t hold much respect.
The name Fitzgerald uses, Jordan, is androgynous, meaning it could be a woman or man. In this area, Fitzgerald is trying to show that the modern woman (of his time) didn’t necessarily need a man because she not only had money of her own but could also earn her own living.
Jordan Baker is important since she provides the backstory of Daisy and Jay Gatsby (learn more on Jordan Baker’s Character Traits ), and she’s also someone Gatsby trusts to ask Nick for a favor.
Does Nick Carraway Date Jordan in The Great Gatsby?
While Nick doesn’t seem to ask Jordan “out” on an official date, they do end up meeting in many of the same places.
After having lunch with Gatsby in New York, Nick sees Jordan, and the two end up having coffee nearby. This is when Jordan tells Nick about the history between Gatsby and Daisy, before telling him about Gatsby’s “favor”, which is to ask Nick to invite Daisy to have tea at his cottage.
Nick also sees Jordan at Gatsby’s party. Jordan had gone to the party with some undergraduate, whom she quickly ditches for Nick, and the two interact and walk around hand in hand in Gatsby’s mansion. Nick says that she “held my hand impersonally”, but it’s difficult to tell if this is considered a “date” since Jordan actually came with someone else.
The pair do go on a drive together, where Nick criticizes Jordan’s driving, but Jordan clearly says that she likes Nick.
Nick and Jordan aren’t married to each other or anyone else, but this pair does see each other throughout the novel. So one could say that they are dating, but their relationship isn’t clearly stated.
Does Jordan Cheat on Nick in The Great Gatsby?
It’s unlikely that Jordan had the time or opportunity to cheat on Nick, but it’s not really clear that the pair were considered an “item”.
Jordan is living with Daisy in East Egg. The Buchanan’s mansion and property are so large, so it’s not as farfetched for Jordan to see or meet anyone. Being a modern woman who drives, she obviously goes to New York, but there’s no mention in the novel about whom she sees and where she goes.
If Jordan did find time to date someone else, one would have to ask why she didn’t bring this person to Gatsby’s party. Instead, Jordan is walking and dancing with Nick, as well as holding his hand as they stroll through the mansion.
At the end of the novel, Jordan tells Nick that she had accepted a marriage proposal from another man. However, she appears to be upset that Nick hadn’t paid her enough attention, leaving the reader to wonder if she lied to Nick to save face.
Fitzgerald’s focus isn’t on Jordan and Nick, so a great deal of what happens between them or in Jordan’s life is left to the reader’s imagination.
Isn’t Nick Cheating on His Girlfriend By Dating Jordan?
Very likely, yes.
It’s interesting to note that in the very first chapter, Nick tells the reader that he is one of the few honest people that he knows. Later in the novel when he becomes attracted to Jordan Baker, he considers writing to the girl he was seeing in his hometown and “ending” it with her.
Nick’s “girl” back home is only mentioned in one passage in Chapter 3 ( see the Best Great Gatsby Quotes from Chapter 3 ). Nick mentions that he has a “tangle back home” that he has been writing to weekly, signing the letters “love Nick”.
He also talks about feeling “trapped” by this relationship back home.
‘I liked to walk up Fifth Avenue and pick out romantic women from the crowd and imagine that in a few minutes I was going to enter into their lives, and no one would ever know or disapprove.’
It could be that Nick was simply having the traditional “cold feet” many men experience before marrying, and they imagine all the “opportunities” that would pass them by should they marry (and stay monogamous).
He doesn’t mention this other woman to Jordan, but if Jordan is seeing this mysterious “someone else” who proposed to her soon after Gatsby’s death, then both of them are lying to each other, which is not a good way to start a relationship.
Was Jordan in Love with Nick?
These two characters appear to be attracted to one another, but neither of them seems to be in love.
Jordan might be in love with the idea of being married to Nick. While she can see that Daisy is unhappy in her marriage, she might believe that Nick is different from Tom and wouldn’t cheat on her.
However, while Nick comes from money, Fitzgerald doesn’t explain if Nick is wealthy enough to marry an obviously old-money girl like Jordan.
It could be that Jordan likes Nick and thinks about what married life with him might be like, but she isn’t serious about him because he isn’t wealthy enough for her tastes.
Nick is physically attracted to Jordan, to be sure, but his feelings about her seem to shift as the novel goes on.
The turning point is when Jordan becomes more upset with Nick not giving her a sufficient amount of attention than over the death of Myrtle Wilson ( learn who killed Myrtle ) or Jay Gatsby. Nick realizes that he is revolted by her behavior and decides to cut all ties with Jordan.
Who Is More Dishonest, Jordan Baker or Nick Carraway?
Without knowing more details about this pair, this question is difficult to answer.
Jordan is clearly a liar who cheats at her golf game and is possibly cheating on Nick or the undergrad who took her to Gatsby’s party.
Nick is cheating on the girl he has back home, but at least he tries to be honest with his feelings, admitting that he should break up with the girl if he’s serious about Jordan.
While Jordan represents the modern woman who doesn’t “need” a husband, Nick represents the quiet Midwesterner who seems lost in the modern big city of New York.
It’s said that “opposites attract”, and if that is true, then that explains the relationship between Jordan and Nick.
However, both of these characters are not being honest with each other. Nick doesn’t tell Jordan he has a girl back home. He could explain this to Jordan and tell her that he’s going to break up with her since he’s in love with Jordan, but he doesn’t do or say any of these things.
Jordan could also be honest with Nick about who she is seeing, if anyone, or if she’s got a lot of feelings for Nick. She doesn’t say anything either.
It’s hard to say who is more dishonest when clearly both of these individuals are not being honest, at least about this relationship.
Does Jordan Die in The Great Gatsby?
No, she doesn’t.
In Chapter 8, Jordan is one of the many who does not attend Gatsby’s funeral. It’s not clear why this is and why Nick didn’t ask her to.
The two have a phone conversation where it appears that Nick, disgusted with everyone’s behavior, tries to break up with Jordan, even though it’s unclear whether they were a couple.
After the funeral, Nick has another phone conversation where Jordan sounds clearly hurt and tells Nick that she was very upset. She recounts that Nick had been neglecting her and that breaking up with her on the phone had really shocked her.
Jordan then tells Nick that she had accepted a marriage proposal from someone else so this was goodbye. Nick is sad, but he realizes that Jordan is no better than any of the other wealthy socialites he has met on the East Coast.
Jordan Baker doesn’t die but merely ends whatever relationship she had with Nick, and the two go their separate ways.
Final Thoughts on Jordan Baker
Jordan Baker plays an important part in the Great Gatsby and has lots of memorable lines. You can find more of her quotes here.
One thing that Jordan says remains true. “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
Nick ends up returning to his hometown in the early fall, where he will sort out the events of the summer and hopefully, return to a new and happier life.
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.