In the final chapter of The Great Gatsby, Nick will tell us everything that he remembers about his final days in New York even though two years have gone by.
Just when the reader thinks they’ve learned all about Gatsby, some small truths are about to be revealed.
We will also learn some truths about other people and how society in general reacts when a young man passes away unexpectedly.
And the icing on the cake will be what we learn about Tom and Daisy Buchanan.
If you would like to find other important Gatsby quotes, you can find them here.
Nick Carraway’s Best Quotes from Chapter 9
In Chapter 9, Nick starts talking about the huge number of police, reporters, and photographers who show up at Gatsby’s mansion, but surprisingly, no friends or mourners of any kind.
Most of the reports about Gatsby’s death, and his “affair” with Myrtle Wilson ( read more on who killed Myrtle Wilson ) are untrue and far too descriptive to be true.
Myrtle’s sister could have spilled the beans about Myrtle’s affair with Tom, but she remained silent on that matter. She did deny that her sister was having an affair with Gatsby, but no one believed her.
Within an hour of finding Gatsby’s body, Nick attempts to tell Daisy, but all he gets is the butler telling him that the couple has left town.
“I called up Daisy half an hour after we found him, called her instinctively and without hesitation. But she and Tom had gone away early that afternoon, and taken baggage with them.
They left no address, and the butler had no idea how to reach them.
Gatsby’s Death Quotes from Nick
Nick continues to try to find Gatsby’s family and friends and feels as if he should find someone to mourn Gatsby. This chapter is filled with Nick’s quotes about Gatsby’s death.
I wanted to get somebody for him. I wanted to go into the room where he lay and reassure him: “I’ll get somebody for you, Gatsby. Don’t worry. Just trust me and I’ll get somebody for you—”
Nick tries to call Meyer Wolfsheim but can’t reach him. Nick is haunted by Gatsby lying alone in the parlor.
I went back to the drawing room and thought for an instant that they were chance visitors, all these official people who suddenly filled it. But as they drew back the sheet and looked at Gatsby with unmoved eyes, his protest continued in my brain.
“Look here, old sport, you’ve got to get somebody for me. You’ve got to try hard. I can’t go through this alone.”
Nick is certain that once the news of Gatsby’s murder hits the papers, Daisy would call and/or Meyer Wolfsheim would come or send a wire. Neither happens.
Wolfsheim does send a letter saying that he is shocked, but that he is tied up with business and can’t come.
Who Came to Mourn Gatsby?
Only after 3 days does Nick find someone to mourn Gatsby – Jay Gatsby’s father. Mr. Henry Gatz learned about his son’s death from the Chicago newspaper and immediately left for Gatsby’s house in the stated address. Nick narrates:
“I took him into the drawing-room, where his son lay, and left him there.”
Nick learns a bit more about Jay Gatsby (real name James Gatz) and his past from his father.
What Are Some Quotes from Mr. Henry Gatz?
When Nick asked if he wanted to take Gatsby’s body west, he shook his head, saying:
“Jimmy always liked it better down East. He rose up to his position in the East.”
“He had a big future before him, you know. He was only a young man, but he had a lot of brain power here.”
“If he’d of lived, he’d of been a great man. A man like James J. Hill. He’d of helped build up the country.”
Gatsby’s father shows Nick a paperback novel where, as a boy, Jay wrote out a list of self-improvement plans and tells Nick that he knew his boy had been bound for better things.
Quotes from Meyer Wolfsheim in Chapter 9
Finally, Nick goes to New York to confront Meyer Wolfsheim directly. Wolfsheim receives Nick in his office and remarks that it was a sad moment, referring to Jay Gatsby’s death. He gives a very vivid description of Gatsby when they first met:
“My memory goes back to when I first met him.”
“A young major just out of the army and covered over with medals he got in the war. He was so hard up he had to keep on wearing his uniform because he couldn’t buy some regular clothes.
First time I saw him was when he come into Winebrenner’s poolroom at Forty-third Street and asked for a job. He hadn’t eat anything for a couple of days. ‘Come on have some lunch with me,’ I sid. He ate more than four dollars’ worth of food in half an hour.”
When Nick asks if it was him who started Gatsby in his business, Wolfsheim proudly exclaims:
“Start him! I made him.”
“I raised him up out of nothing, right out of the gutter. I saw right away he was a fine appearing, gentlemanly young man, and when he told me he was an Oggsford I knew I could use him good. I got him to join up in the American Legion and he used to stand high there. Right off he did some work for a client of mine up to Albany. We were so thick like that in everything—always together.”
Does Wolfsheim Attend Gatsby’s Funeral?
Nick has many questions about Gatsby and Wolfsheim’s partnership, but he keeps them to himself. Instead, he brings Wolfsheim to the here and now, and invites him to the funeral that afternoon.
However, Wolfsheim declines, saying he can’t get involved.
“When a man gets killed I never like to get mixed up in it in any way. I keep out. When I was a young man it was different—if a friend of mine died, no matter how, I stuck with them to the end. You may think that’s sentimental but I mean it—to the bitter end.”
Nick saw that the man has decided not to come, so he stood up to leave. Wolfsheim’s parting words were:
“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”
“After that my own rule is to let everything alone.”
Who Came to Attend Gatsby’s Funeral?
On the day of the funeral, there are only three cars containing the post man, a few servants, Gatsby’s father, Nick, and, surprisingly, Owl Eyes.
Nick sadly notes that Daisy hadn’t even sent a message or a flower, but his thoughts are interrupted by someone saying, “Blessed are the dead that the rain falls on,” to which Owl Eyes replies, “Amen to that.”
Nick talks about how the East coast was now haunted for him and that he sold everything he owned, including his car, to return home to Minnesota.
How Does Gatsby’s Funeral Affect Nick?
It goes without saying that Gatsby’s death affected Nick so much, but it was his funeral that disillusioned him to the point of depression.
In his narration, he frequently goes in deep thought analyzing events and people, and the endless reasons why people do what they do.
In this passage, he drifts back to his childhood memory of the West, connecting it with the distortions of the East and how West Egg and Gatsby’s death still haunt him at present. He then states why he decides to return home to the West:
“I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house in a city where dwellings are still called through decades by a family’s name.”
“I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all… perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.”
“Even when the East excited me most, even when I was most keenly aware of its superiority to the bored, sprawling, swollen towns beyond the Ohio, with their interminable inquisitions which spared only the children and the very old — even then it had always for me a quality of distortion.”
“West Egg, especially, still figures in my more fantastic dreams. I see it as a night scene by El Greco: a hundred houses, at once conventional and grotesque, crouching under a sullen, overhanging sky and a lustreless moon.
In the foreground four solemn men in dress suits are walking along the sidewalk with a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in a white evening dress. Her hand, which dangles over the side, sparkles cold with jewels. Gravely the men turn in at a house — the wrong house. But no one knows the woman’s name, and no one cares.”
Nick Decides to Go Back West After Gatsby’s Death
“After Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eyes’ power of correction. So when the blue smoke of brittle leaves was in the air and the wind blew the wet laundry stiff on the line I decided to come back home.”
This part of the novel does seem to suggest how three deaths in a row has affected Nick psychologically. The novel doesn’t mention about Nick seeking professional help for his anxiety, alcoholism, insomnia, among other things, but the movie pulls it off quite smoothly by showing Nick in a sanitarium, where he writes his experiences possibly as part of his therapy.
Tom Buchanan’s Best Quotes from Chapter 9
Nick is surprised to see Tom Buchanan walking down 5th Avenue in New York City in late October. He walked towards Nick and held out his hand.
“What’s the matter, Nick? Do you object to shaking hands with me?”
Nick said yes, and Tom quipped:
“You’re crazy, Nick.”
“Crazy as hell. I don’t know what’s the matter with you.”
When Nick asked what Tom told George Wilson, Tom had this to say:
“I told him the truth.”
“He came to the door while we were getting ready to leave, and when I sent down word that we weren’t in he tried to force his way upstairs. He was crazy enough to kill me if I hadn’t told him who owned the car. His hand was on a revolver in his pocket every minute he was in the house—”
“What if I did tell him? That fellow had it coming to him. He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy’s, but he was a tough one. He ran over Myrtle like you’d run over a dog and never even stopped his car.”
Tom was remorseless, and all Nick could think of was how careless people they were. “Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness…”
Tom claims to be upset by Myrtle’s death, but it didn’t stop him from telling George exactly where to find Gatsby. Despite knowing fully well that George was armed, he didn’t warn Gatsby or call the police.
It’s fairly obvious what Tom had in mind all along.
Jordan Baker’s Best Quotes from Chapter 9
While many readers believe that the earlier phone call from Jordan was the end of the relationship, Nick felt that he had a duty to officially end it.
Nick goes to see her in person for a formal closure to their relationship because, as Nick puts it, he wants to “put things in order”. Jordan listens then tells Nick that she was engaged to another man.
She also acknowledges that her relationship with Nick was something new to her and that somehow it hurt her.
“Nevertheless you did throw me over.”
“You threw me over on the telephone. I don’t give a damn about you now but it was a new experience for me and I felt a little dizzy for a while.”
She recalls one conversation they had:
“You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver, didn’t I?
I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride.”
Nick leaves her his famous line about being thirty, saying “I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor”, and then they parted ways.
The Best Passages from Chapter 9 of The Great Gatsby
While the following can’t be considered a quote, the phrases are so well-known and they deserve proper recognition.
Poor Nick is traumatized by what he has seen and starts staying away from his rented cottage next door to Gatsby’s mansion.
“I spent my Saturday nights in New York because those gleaming, dazzling parties of his were with me so vividly that I could still hear the music and the laughter faint and incessant from his garden and the cars going up and down his drive.
One night I did hear a material car there and saw its lights stop at his front steps. But I didn’t investigate. Probably it was some final guest who had been away at the ends of the earth and didn’t know that the party was over.”
When he can no longer stand being in the city, Nick decides to return home.
“On the last night, with my trunk packed and my car sold to the grocer, I went over and looked at that huge incoherent failure of a house once more.
On the white steps an obscene word, scrawled by some boy with a piece of brick, stood out clearly in the moonlight and I erased it, drawing my shoe raspingly along the stone. Then I wandered down to the beach and sprawled out on the sand.”
The final words of this novel are perhaps the most famous:
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—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
This sad chapter gives the reader an excellent summary of time.
For Gatsby, he was consumed by the past, quite literally, sacrificing his life for a woman from his past who obviously didn’t feel the same depth of emotion that Gatsby had.
For Nick, he is worried about the future. He believes he should find a good job, get married, have children, but at 30, he is no closer to that ideal than he was at 25.
Gatsby believed that he could recreate the past by sheer will.
Nick is now haunted by the past and sees the future with a great sense of foreboding.
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.