The Great Gatsby is one of the most popular pieces of American literature written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1925. The novel takes place during the roaring twenties, which was a time of great economic prosperity and decadence in America. The story is about Nick Carraway who moves to New York after graduating college. He rents a small house on Long Island next to a millionaire named Jay Gatsby. The plot largely details the consequences of living a lie, and how those lies can come back to haunt you.
The novel’s true hero is Nick Carraway who doesn’t live a lie and is honest with himself and others, but he still struggles with finding purpose in life despite his open mind and clear head. The Great Gatsby is a must-read for those who appreciate the art of storytelling, as it combines an intriguing plot with multidimensional characters to create a memorable tale that will stick with you long after you finish reading. The Great Gatsby has been made into a movie three times, most recently in 2013 directed by Baz Luhrmann starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan.
The novel was turned into a Broadway musical in 2013 starring Doug Hodge as Jay Gatsby and Cristin Milioti as Daisy. The main character Jordan Baker first appears to Nick Carraway on his way back from New York City into West Egg where he lives. The first thing Carraway notices about Baker is her general apathy towards everyone and everything around her such as the weather, which she says is ‘as perfect as an orchid’. The point Nick Carraway wants to make about Jordan Baker after he first meets her is that she’s a type of person who doesn’t care about how others perceive her.
She also has a cynical take on life and unlike other characters in The Great Gatsby does not lie or live under false pretenses to create a more desirable version of herself for those around her. The first time we really get to see what Jordan Baker is all about comes when Tom Buchanan invites Nick along with Daisy Buchanan and Jordan to going. The foursome drives to New York City in Tom’s car. The two couples are affluent members of The Social Register, which was a list of names approved by high society to be part of their circle.
The evening begins fairly normally with some light conversation amongst the foursome, but eventually the conversation gets derailed when Daisy questions how Jordan got her nickname ‘Barker. ‘ The name is meant to sound similar to “Gray Goose”, which was one of Jordan’s previous surnames that she used for professional purposes as an aviator. The nickname came about due to all her speed records she set while flying planes throughout Europe and South America. When pressed about her last name Jordan responds with saying ‘she had done everything’ she wanted before deciding she needed a husband who would support her, so she “beckoned” one over.
The conversation ends with Daisy saying that Jordan is ‘incurably dishonest’ to which Jordan replies by asking Tom if he would drive her home after the night air gets to be too much for her. The two wives go inside leaving Nick and Tom outside so they can have a private chat about The Great Gatsby. The evening represents how detached people are from one another in The Jazz Age due to being so absorbed in their individual lives where everyone is out for themselves.
The other main character who interacts with Jordan Baker is Nick Carraway who has more of an honest relationship with his neighbor than others do, likely because he’s the only one who doesn’t try to get something from her. The two have a conversation that represents the general theme of The Great Gatsby where Jordan says, “You’re a regular detective. Do you know what I hate about all these new people? They’re so darned honest… No good can come from them and presently everybody will be just like them.
The characters in The Great Gatsby are aware that they are living in The Jazz Age which is marked by an age of excess and indulgence, but Nick Carraway remains true to himself for the most part throughout the novel. This puts him in contrast with many other characters who become consumed with their pursuit of pleasure, wealth, power, or fulfillment. The final time Jordan Baker interacts with any important character aside from Nick comes when Mr. McKee takes Nick Carraway and Jordan on a picnic near The Valley of Ashes.
The final scene begins with Mr. McKee telling everyone to look up at the blue sky and marvel at the technology that made it possible for him to fly down from New York City into The Valley of Ashes without any problems. The conversation then goes onto how wonderful The Great Gatsby is, which makes everyone feel happy inside. This serves as a contrast for earlier in the novel when Mr. McKee had encouraged Jordan not to settle for life as a professional golfer but to marry someone who would be able to take care of her every need so she wouldn’t have to work ever again.
The irony comes from the fact that she was already married at the time to someone who did that for her anyway, but had chosen not to follow that path. The conversation then moves into how The Great Gatsby is just like The Washington Post in the sense of both being an American institution. The irony comes when Jordan tells Mr. McKee “If you don’t want it I’ll take it,” in regards to the book. This serves as foreshadowing because later in the novel when Nick Carraway has found out about everything between Daisy and Gatsby he hands over The Great Gatsby to Jordan with instructions on where she needs to drop it off at.
The final line of dialogue in this scene comes from Mr. McKee telling Jordan, “I’d like to give something extra special to The Washington Post,” in reference to Jordan’s comment about The Great Gatsby being special and how The Washington Post is an American institution. This sets up The Valley of Ashes scene later on where Jordan has her final conversation with Gatsby and it’s the last time The Great Gatsby makes an appearance in The Great Gatsby until the end when Daisy finally throws the book out after losing all interest in reading.
The first time we see Jordan Baker interact with The Great Gatsby is when she says, “That was a great remark of Daisy’s,” referring to when Daisy said that men sometimes call you ‘crazy’ just because they’re “afraid to disagree with [you], afraid to admit that maybe [you’re] right. ” The point in the novel when this is said makes it one of the more ironic lines because Jordan was just about to disagree with Daisy in regards to her claim that The Great Gatsby “really knows women,” which Jordan doesn’t believe is true.
The fact that The Great Gatsby has always been praised for its insights into human relationships makes it ironic when Jordan says, “I think The Great Gatsby is an absolutely terrible book,” when they find out Gatsby’s dead. This represents how honest she is with herself and others even though she does not fit the criteria of someone who should be so honest since she had chosen to live a life where no one can trust her due to choosing wealth over honesty.