At the onset of this book, the reader is introduced to the narrator, Nick Carraway, who relates the past happenings that construct the story of Jay Gatsby and Nick during the summer of 1922. After fighting in World War I, or the Great War as Nick called it, Nick left his prominent family in the West of America for the North where he intended to learn the bond business. Nick was originally supposed to share a house in West Egg near New York City with an associate of his, but the man backed out and so Nick lived with only a Finnish cook. Right next door, Gatsby lived in a glorious mansion with expansive gardens and a marble swimming pool, among other luxuries. Yet Nick did not even hear about Gatsby until he went to visit his distant family at East Egg next to West Egg.
Daisy was Nick’s second cousin once removed, and Tom Buchanan was Daisy’s hulking brute of a husband and classmate of Nick’s from college. Jordan Baker, a prominent tennis player of the time, was staying with Daisy and Tom. As they sat down and chatted, it was Jordan who mentioned Gatsby, saying that she had been to one of his extravagant parties that he held every weekend. The four sat down to dinner when Tom received a phone call, which Daisy suspected to be from Tom’s mistress. Afterwards, Daisy and Nick talked and Jordan and Tom went out to walk about the grounds. Daisy talked about her little daughter and how when she was born Tom was not even there and she had wished out loud that she would be a fool, for that was the only way she could ever be happy. The four met again at the house and then Jordan went to bed and Nick went home.
In the next chapter, the reader is introduced the bleak stretch of land between New York City and West Egg. It was there that Nick first met Tom’s mistress. Nick and Tom were taking the train into New York City one Saturday when Tom signaled to Nick that they were going to get off the train halfway to their destination in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere. Tom walked into an auto garage where he talked with a man named George Wilson, who asked about a car Tom was supposed to sell him. Wilson’s wife, Myrtle, emerged from the upstairs of the garage. When Wilson went off to his office for a moment, Tom quickly told Myrtle that he wanted to see her and to take the next train into New York. They arranged where they would meet quickly and moved away from each other before Wilson returned. Myrtle told Wilson that she was going to go visit her sister in New York and boarded the same train as Tom and Nick, but in a different car. They met again in New York and took a taxi to the apartment that Tom had purchased for the two of them. Myrtle called her sister Catherine and the McKees that she and Tom were friends with on the phone and the six of them sat around in the apartment and got exceptionally drunk once they arrived. During this time, Nick learned about Tom and Myrtle, as well as the fact that neither of them could stand their spouse....