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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
Gatsby cannot stand quietly by and let his dream slip away. He tells Tom that Daisy has always loved him and never loved Tom. He claims Daisy only married Tom because as a soldier, he was too poor to support her in the style to which she was accustomed. Gatsby then turns to Daisy and insists that she tell her husband that she loves only him; he also insists that she say that she never loved Tom. Even though Daisy utters the words, it is apparent there is no truthfulness in them. When Tom brings up memories from the last four years of their married life, Daisy breaks down. She turns to Gatsby and says, "I love you now. Isn't that enough?" For Gatsby it is not enough; his dream insists that she blot out the years of separation. When she refuses to do so, Tom wins the battle, and his wife. Daisy is lost to Gatsby forever. Tom, knowing he has won, sends Daisy and Gatsby off together; he has nothing to fear.
Immediately after the hotel scene, Nick remembers that it is his thirtieth birthday. This is significant, for this day is a turning point in Nick's life, as well as Gatsby's life; and his thirtieth birthday marks his passage into full adulthood, when the carefree days of youth are behind forever. Appropriately, from this day forward Nick will judge the Buchanan's and Jordan as unworthy and vulgar, in spite of their wealth; subconsciously, he has already made the decision to leave the crazy shallowness of the East and return to the solid roots of the Midwest, where he grew up.
When Tom arrives at the accident scene, he stops his car to see what is going on. When he realizes that Myrtle has been killed, he is in a state of shock. When he learns that it is a new yellow car that has killed her, he is beside himself with rage, thinking that Gatsby is the murderer of his mistress and the lover of his wife. He openly states that he cannot believe that the son-of-a-bitch did not even stop. He then tries to convince Wilson that the yellow car he was driving earlier in the day does not belong to him. As always, both Tom and Daisy think only of themselves.
Nick is shaken by the events of the day. The scene in the hotel has had a deep impact on him. Now the sight of Myrtle's lifeless body and the sound of Wilson's wailing is almost more than he can bear. He instinctively knows that this day will make a difference in his life; therefore, he cannot understand how Jordan can be so unaffected by everything that has transpired. She casually asks him to take her out to dinner, reminding him it is only half past nine. Suddenly, Nick realizes that he could never spend the rest of his life with Jordan.
When Nick arrives at the Buchanan's, he is a changed man; he wants nothing more to do with these frivolous people. He even refuses to go inside the house, as if some of the sickness that resides there may rub off on him. When he walks down the driveway to wait for his taxi, he encounters Gatsby, who emerges from the bushes. When Nick questions him about the accident, he admits that Daisy was driving the car and refused to stop. This news only confirms what Nick has already decided; the Buchanan's and their world are simply too shallow, selfish, and careless for him. As if to prove his point, he goes up on the porch to see what is going on inside so that he can reassure Gatsby that Daisy is safe. Tom and his wife are in the kitchen. Two ales and a platter of cold chicken are before them. Neither happy or unhappy, it is obvious that they are conspiring together to cover up the truth of the accident. The scene literally makes Nick feel sick.
When he goes back to Gatsby to tell him that everything is calm inside, Nick asks him to come home with him. Gatsby refuses; he will keep his vigil until he is certain that Daisy is safely in bed. When Nick leaves, Gatsby is standing alone "watching over nothing." He has lost Daisy and his dream.