The Great Gatsby
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
Study Guide by Ross David Kulberg at Michigan State University -
NOTE: This guide has been re-formatted for purposes of easy reading. The original has been completely preserved.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1896. He was a student of St. Paul Acadamy, the Newman School, and attended Princeton for a short while. In 1917 he joined the army and was posted in Montgomery, Alabama. This is where he would meet his future wife Zelda Sayre. Fitzgeralds first novel, This Side of Paradise was published and became a bestseller which gave him enough money to get married. He was published at the age of only twenty-three and was regarded as the "speaker for the Jazz Age." Pretty soon though things started to take a turn for the worse. Zelda's schizophrenia and Fitzgerald's drinking problem led Fitzgerald to rely mostly on his short stories for income. Slowly they started to lose their appeal as well. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald ended up dying in Hollywood on December 21, 1940.

Character Descriptions

Tom Buchanan

Tom is the antagonist in this novel. He was Nicks college acquaintance who attended Yale University and married Nicks cousin Daisy. Tom has an affair with Myrtle Wilson of which he makes no secret about. He has a very wealthy family and thinks material possessions are more important than anything. Tom was never grateful for what he had with Daisy, yet he had her wrapped around his finger. He was clearly in the way of Gatsby’s love for Daisy.

Daisy Buchanan

Daisy is the object of Jay Gatsby’s dreams. She is a beautiful woman with grace and the ability to make men go wild. Daisy was with Gatsby before he went of to war and Tom Buchanan bought her love with a three hundred thousand dollar pearl necklace. She focuses on outside appearances instead of what's inside because material possessions are most important to her.


Jordan was a woman golfer who connects Gatsby to Nick and consequently Gatsby to Daisy. Her role makes Nicks part more important because there was something going on with them in the story. Jordan and Nick helped to reunite Jay and Daisy which later proved to be a fatal mistake.


Myrtle is Tom's mistress and wife to a man named Wilson. Wilson is very loyal to Myrtle but she doesn't care because she too is after material possessions. She always regretted that she married Wilson because she could have done better than a gas attendant. Tom blinded Myrtle with the money and lifestyle that she always wanted.


George is Myrtle's hard working and devoted husband. He owns a gas station of which he lives above in the Valley of Ashes. That is the dirtiest place to live in New York. He had no idea that his wife was having an affair with Tom for most of the novel, but when he did find out he took his anger out on everyone else. Myrtle was eventually killed in a hit and run which was what sparked most of Wilson's anger.


Nick, the narrator of the story moved to New York to work in the bond business. Upon Arrival he is quickly swept into the love affairs, corruption, and even murder because everyone confides and places trust in him. Nick says that he is one of the few honest people he knows and that his character appears very pure amidst all of the corrupt people in the story. Nick is used by Gatsby to bring him closer to Daisy and he is probably one of the most important characters in the novel because he is almost always around when Gatsby and Daisy meet.


Gatsby is a rich guy devoted to getting back his lost love Daisy. Before Gatsby was sent to the army he and Daisy were together but Daisy did not stay with him because he did not have enough money. When Gatsby got back, through organized crime most likely Gatsby became rich and all he did was spend money to look good in front of Daisy. He thought that as long as he had wealth and fame he could win her back. His devotion to Daisy stays strong even during hard times. He had a one track mind set on recapturing his lost love from ages ago.

C H A P T E R   S U M M A R I E S

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

The original document can be found at