While most readers will already figure out for themselves that Jay Gatsby is not entirely who he says he is or who people think he is, author F. Scott Fitzgerald deliberately misleads people about Gatsby’s life in Chapter 4.
In this simple study guide for Chapter 6, narrator Nick Carraway reveals everything about Gatsby’s past.
He will explain how Old Money people in East Egg take advantage of New Money people in West Egg, and what Daisy really thinks of West Egg when she and Tom attend one of Gatsby’s parties.
Some of the best and most important Gatsby quotes are in this chapter.
Nick Carraway’s Best Quotes from Chapter 6
A reporter shows up at Gatsby’s mansion and asks Gatsby what the truth is. Gatsby isn’t about to let on that he was a poor kid who learned about being a gentleman and launched his career from Dan Cody’s yacht. It is Nick who tells the reader all about Gatsby’s past, including his mentor Dan Cody and his real name, James Gatz.
After not seeing or hearing from Gatsby for several weeks, Nick goes over to his house only to find Tom Buchanan and two of his neighbors, a man named Sloane and an unnamed woman, riding on horses by Gatsby’s house.
Nick narrates quite a bit, describing the haughty Mr. Sloane and Tom, as well as describing Gatsby’s party that Tom and Daisy attend.
How Does Nick Feel about the Party in The Great Gatsby Chapter 6?
Nick has always enjoyed, or at least found interesting, Gatsby’s parties. However, he noticed something different about that particular party that Tom Buchanan attended. He describes his feeling this way:
Perhaps his presence gave the evening its peculiar quality of oppressiveness — it stands out in my memory from Gatsby’s other parties that summer. There were the same people, or at least the same sort of people, the same profusion of champagne, the same many-colored, many-keyed commotion, but I felt an unpleasantness in the air, a pervading harshness that hadn’t been there before.
He then tries to rationalize his thoughts and suggests another line of reasoning:
Or perhaps I had merely grown used to it, grown to accept West Egg as a world complete in itself, with its own standards and its own great figures, second to nothing because it had no consciousness of being so, and now I was looking at it again, through Daisy’s eyes. It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment.
- Related Topic: Gatsby Party Quotes
What Did Daisy and Gatsby Do at the Party According to Nick?
Daisy and Gatsby find some time to spend together even with Tom around. Nick narrates that:
Daisy and Gatsby danced. I remember being surprised by his graceful, conservative fox-trot — I had never seen him dance before. Then they sauntered over to my house and sat on the steps for half an hour, while at her request I remained watchfully in the garden. “In case there’s a fire or a flood,” she explained, “or any act of God.”
Why Does Nick Think that Daisy Disliked the Party in Chapter 6?
While Daisy enjoyed the time she spent with Gatsby at the party, Nick thinks she was appalled and offended by what she saw overall.
She was appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented “place” that Broadway had begotten upon a Long Island fishing village — appalled by its raw vigor that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the too obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short-cut from nothing to nothing. She saw something awful in the very simplicity she failed to understand.
Nick’s observation about Daisy’s reaction didn’t escape Gatsby either, as we’ll see below.
What Does Nick Say about Gatsby’s Emotional State after the Party?
After Daisy and Tom left, Gatsby was unhappy that Daisy didn’t have a good time at the party. Nick even describes Gatsby as being depressed:
He was silent and I guessed at his unutterable depression.
“I feel far away from her,” he said. “It’s hard to make her understand.”
What Does Nick Tell Gatsby about the Past in Chapter 6?
Nick thinks at first that Gatsby is talking about their interrupted dance at the party, but that isn’t it. After Gatsby explains, Nick tells him:
“I wouldn’t ask too much of her…”
“You can’t repeat the past.”
Nick’s descriptions about how Daisy became a part of Gatsby’s life, the party, and his past are so vivid that even if the reader hasn’t seen any of the movie versions, one can imagine everything clearly.
Jay Gatsby’s Best Quotes from Chapter 6
This chapter opens with a passage about an inquisitive reporter, who asks Gatsby for any statement or if he had anything to say. Gatsby throws him back the question:
“Anything to say about what?”
Gatsby seems both amused and pleased that people are talking about him but that no one knows the truth.
When Nick arrives to see Gatsby after not meeting with him for several weeks, he is annoyed that Tom brought neighbors to see Gatsby’s house, as if it were a circus.
Gatsby, however, is delighted that people from East Egg appeared to want to meet him, even offering them a cigar and something to drink.
Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby: A Character Based on Reality and Fantasy
He also addressed Tom by saying:
“I believe we’ve met somewhere before, Mr. Buchanan.”
“I know your wife.”
After the pleasantries, they all promised to join his next party, and to Tom’s annoyance, his lady neighbor even invited Gatsby to ride back with them to her dinner party.
Surprisingly, Gatsby accepted the invitation and said:
“I haven’t got a horse…”
“I used to ride in the army, but I’ve never bought a horse. I’ll have to follow you in my car. Excuse me for just a minute.”
Gatsby doesn’t realize that the invitation to dinner was simply a polite gesture in return for the hospitality he showed and that they didn’t really expect Gatsby to attend.
How Does Gatsby Introduce Tom at the Party?
Gatsby brought the couple from one group to another at the party, introducing them as:
“Mrs. Buchanan… and Mr. Buchanan ——” After an instant’s hesitation he added: “the polo player.”
Tom objected, saying “Oh no, not me”, but Gatsby continued to introduce him that way.
It probably pleased Gatsby that Tom disliked how Gatsby introduced Tom (the polo player), but it wouldn’t be good manners to say so.
What Does Gatsby Want to Happen Next?
After Daisy and Tom had left, Gatsby and Nick talk about repeating the past. It becomes clear that Gatsby wants Daisy to declare to Tom that she never loved him.
They (Daisy and Gatsby) could then start all over again and get married, as if the past five years never happened. However, Gatsby realizes that things are not the same, and he talks about Daisy, reflecting that:
“And she doesn’t understand…”
“She used to be able to understand. We’d sit for hours—”
What Does Gatsby Say about the Past?
When Nick advises Gatsby that he can’t repeat the past, Gatsby cries incredulously:
“Can’t repeat the past?”
“Why of course you can!”
He can’t accept what Nick just said, insisting that he’ll do everything.
“I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,” he said, nodding determinedly. “She’ll see.”
Tom Buchanan’s Best Quotes from The Great Gatsby Chapter 6
Tom is now interested in Gatsby and wants to know more about him. Not out of a true interest but in order to destroy him.
When he takes his neighbors over to Gatsby’s house on horseback, it’s almost as if he wanted to show his neighbors a side show or a freak show.
Tom was surprised that Gatsby didn’t understand that being invited to dinner wasn’t really an invitation but a common courtesy. He seemed annoyed that Gatsby was coming even when the woman insisted that there’s a lot of room and she’d love to have Gatsby as guest.
What Does Tom Say about Women in Chapter 6 of The Great Gatsby
Tom added one of his best quotes in the novel:
“I wonder where in the devil he met Daisy. By God, I may be old-fashioned in my ideas, but women run around too much these days to suit me. They meet all kinds of crazy fish.”
Quite a hypocritical thing to say considering that Tom has been seen by Nick at a hidden speakeasy, in a secret apartment with his mistress, and now out horseback riding minus his wife.
Tom is obviously affected that his wife “runs around” too much because he shows up with Daisy to one of Gatsby’s parties.
Gatsby tries showing Tom and Daisy all the celebrities and movie stars attending his party. Tom, at least, is not impressed. With arrogant eyes roaming the crowd, he declares:
“We don’t go around very much…”
“In fact I was just thinking I don’t know a soul here.”
Tom must have been at least somewhat impressed although he was loathe to show it. He decides that Gatsby’s reputation must be destroyed.
Tom’s Quote Generalizing All Newly Rich People as Bootleggers
While talking with Nick, Tom Buchanan suddenly sounds accusing and demands:
“Who is this Gatsby anyhow?”
“Some big bootlegger?”
When Nick asks him where he heard that, he gives a vague answer:
“I didn’t hear it. I imagined it. A lot of these newly rich people are just big bootleggers, you know.”
He also promises to expose Gatsby, saying:
“I’d like to know who he is and what he does…”
“And I think I’ll make a point of finding out.
It’s not clear if Tom wanted to expose Gatsby for his own sake, so he could feel superior, or so that Gatsby wouldn’t look quite as appealing in his wife’s eyes.
Daisy Buchanan’s Best Quotes from Chapter 6
Daisy and Gatsby have been having an affair in the afternoons for a while now. She knows Gatsby but has no clue about who he really is or how he earned his wealth.
When Daisy attends Gatsby’s party, she starts off playful enough-
“These things excite me so,” she whispered. “If you want to kiss me any time during the evening, Nick, just let me know and I’ll be glad to arrange it for you. Just mention my name. Or present a green card. I’m giving out green—
She doesn’t get to finish but the reader gets the idea that she is happy to be with Gatsby and interested in his world.
Daisy and Gatsby dance the foxtrot together before sitting down to dinner. Tom doesn’t want to sit with his wife, claiming that a gentleman at another table is making very funny jokes. Daisy knows the real reason and says it without being crass:
“Go ahead,” answered Daisy genially, “And if you want to take down any addresses here’s my little gold pencil…” She looked around after a moment and told me the girl was “common but pretty,” and I knew that except for the half hour she’d been alone with Gatsby she wasn’t having a good time.
As Nick, Tom, and Daisy wait for the car, Tom wonders what Gatsby does and where he came from. Tom makes it clear that most of the people in West Egg are bootleggers and that they have no class. Daisy wants to cut Tom’s arrogance in half and defend Gatsby, and says:
“At least they’re more interesting than the people we know.”
What Does Daisy Think about the People Going to Gatsby’s Party?
One reason Daisy didn’t like what she saw at the party was that people forced their way in and abused Gatsby’s hospitality and generosity.
“Lots of people come who haven’t been invited.”
“That girl hadn’t been invited. They simply force their way in and he’s too polite to object.”
What Does Daisy Know about Gatsby’s Business?
When Tom declares that he’ll find everything about what Gatsby does, Daisy volunteers this piece of information:
“I can tell you right now…”
“He owned some drug stores, a lot of drug stores. He built them up himself.”
It’s not clear where Daisy gets the idea that Gatsby owns drug stores. Perhaps Gatsby told her this during one of their afternoon trysts. Perhaps she heard it from someone at the party or maybe she made it up. Regardless, Daisy is moving farther away from Tom at this point in the novel, and closer to Jay Gatsby.
Daisy and Gatsby may not be on the same page, but Gatsby is in full swing at this stage.
Gatsby wants Daisy to tell Tom that she never loved him and for the two of them to start over, as if the five years and everything in between never happened.
The reader wonders if Gatsby has considered that Daisy is now a mother with a small child. Besides, there’s no way they can ever remove Daisy’s daughter from the equation.
If Daisy is told how Gatsby came to earn his wealth, would she reject him outright or would true love prevail?
Nick, however, is worried about Gatsby’s sentimentality since his efforts to win Daisy’s love has made Gatsby unreasonable. He is willing to sacrifice everything he has worked for. In Gatsby’s eyes, Daisy is no longer just a woman but an idol or perhaps even a goddess.
In chasing this impossible dream and in an attempt to recreate the past, Gatsby is losing himself.
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.