How Well Do You Know the Classic Novel 'The Great Gatsby'?

Torrance Grey

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About This Quiz

This is the book that's always on short lists for the 'Great American Novel' -- and for good reason! This tale of wealth, lost love and death has captivated readers since its publication. How well do you remember this American classic? Find out now with our quiz!

Who wrote "The Great Gatsby"?

Fitzgerald is nearly as famous for his life (or lifestyle) as his work. He married the exuberant Southern belle Zelda Sayre and travelled the world, drinking and socializing with other famous writers, until his premature death at the age of 44.

What time period is "Gatsby" set in?

More than anyone else, F. Scott Fitzgerald was the chronicler of the 1920s. He is sometimes erroneously credited with coining the term, "flapper."

The 1920s were also known as "The _____ Age."

Jazz was the soundtrack of the 1920s. Little-known fact: "Jazz" started out as a slang term for "sex."

Who narrates the novel?

Carraway narrates the novel in the first person, meaning he frequently uses the pronouns "I," "me," and "my." This also means that we can't witness events for which Carraway isn't present -- so we have to fill in what happened, guided by Nick's own speculation.

What is the name of the fictitious town where Nick and Gatsby live?

Fitzgerald made up the towns of West Egg and East Egg, separated by the (real) Long Island Sound. They were supposedly named for rock formations.

What is Nick Carraway and Daisy Buchanan's relationship?

Nick and Daisy are second-cousins-once-removed. When Nick visits Daisy and her husband in the opening chapter, he says he's going to see "two old friends I scarcely knew at all."

Daisy's husband is ____ Buchanan.

Tom Buchanan went to Yale with Nick Carraway. He was a football star at Yale, and still throws his weight around quite a bit, often literally grabbing Nick and steering him where he wants him to go.

What is Daisy's maiden name?

Casual readers assume that the name "Fay" underlines Daisy's otherworldly, fairy-like quality. ("Fay" is "fairy" in early modern English). Perhaps that was part of it, but Fitzgerald was also strongly influenced by a priest named Father Sigourney Fay. The name "Sigourney" turns up elsewhere in the novel, as Sigourney Howard, Jordan Baker's aunt.

Which town in the "Middle West" is Nick from?

Many readers believe Carraway is from St. Paul, because that's where Fitzgerald was from, and Fitzgerald drew strongly on his own experiences. Others believe it's Chicago because Nick tells Daisy that Chicago "is in mourning" since she left. However, Nick and Daisy aren't close family members -- so there's no reason that they couldn't have grown up in different places.

How many children do Tom and Daisy have?

Tom and Daisy have one daughter, who is mostly behind the scenes with a nanny. But Daisy's line about what she said when her daughter was born -- "I hope she's a fool, a beautiful little fool" -- is famous, partly because Zelda said it about her own newborn daughter.

Who is Jordan Baker?

Jordan Baker serves an important function in the book. She knows the story of Daisy and Gatsby's early relationship, and tells it to Nick midway through the book.

What sport does Jordan Baker play?

Jordan is a golfer. Fitzgerald based her character on a real-life golfer of his day, Edith Cummings -- so he wrote in a letter to his literary agent.

Who is Doctor T.J. Eckleburg?

Dr. Eckleburg is a vision doctor whose billboard and face dominate the Valley of Ashes. It's a famous symbol from the book, but people are mistaken when they say it's Eckleburg's face on the famous cover illustration. It's not -- that loosely-suggested face is clearly female and wears no spectacles.

What is the name of Tom's mistress?

Myrtle Wilson is described as not beautiful, but as having a tremendous "vitality." She meets Tom on the train into the city, and it's implied they had sex that same day.

What does Myrtle's husband do for a living?

Myrtle's husband, George Wilson, runs a garage near the Valley of Ashes -- not exactly a garden spot. He's described as thin, blonde, and "spiritless."

What is Gatsby's nickname for men he likes?

Gatsby commonly calls Nick "old sport." As for "George," don't laugh -- Babe Ruth was said to use it generically with men whose names he didn't remember.

Where was Gatsby supposedly educated?

Gatsby says this in a hurried, offhand way that makes Carraway suspect he's lying. When Gatsby later admits that he went there only briefly as part of a program for American army officers after the war, his honesty restores Carraway's faith. Nick says, "I was all for him again."

Where do Gatsby and Daisy meet again after five years?

Gatsby bought the mansion in hopes that Daisy would eventually come to one of his fabulous parties. When that didn't happen, he asked Jordan to ask Nick to have Daisy over, so he could then drop by. A lot of work to meet up with a lost love!

What item(s) in Gatsby's house move(s) Daisy to tears?

Oddly, Daisy begins to cry while looking at Gatsby's many expensive shirts. It's possible that she's simply overwrought from the experience of seeing him again -- though some critics point to this scene as an example of the way material goods stand in for people in "Gatsby."

What musical instrument does Klipspringer play?

Ewing Klipspringer (what a name!) plays the piano. Gatsby rousts him from a nap to play for Daisy, Nick and him on the afternoon when he reconciles with Daisy.

Who was Dan Cody?

Dan Cody was a wealthy man who made his money in prospecting and mining. Gatsby rowed out to his sailboat to warn him of a coming storm, and was rewarded by Cody taking him under his wing for several years.

What was Gatsby's original name?

Carraway tells us that Gatsby was almost entirely self-invented. His family "were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people," and Jimmy Gatz knew he was meant for better things.

How is Gatsby implied to have made his money?

Rumors abound about Gatsby. But the one that keeps sticking is that he sold liquor through drugstores that acted as a blind. Gatsby seems to confirm this in an argument with Tom Buchanan, saying that one of Tom's friends wasn't too ethical to invest in the business.

What does Meyer Wolfsheim wear for cuff links?

This leads Carraway to ask Gatsby, discreetly, if Wolfsheim is a dentist. But Wolfsheim (sometimes written "Wolfshiem," Fitzgerald's original spelling) is a professional gambler. The suggestion is the teeth came from an unfortunate debtor who couldn't pay.

What is Meyer Wolfsheim accused of "fixing"?

Gatsby is very unruffled about this. "He just saw the opportunity," Gatsby tells Carraway about Wolfsheim, who is apparently a business associate.

In what city did Daisy live when Gatsby met her?

Daisy is from Kentucky. Gatsby was one of the young Army officers stationed near Louisville who vied for her attention -- more successfully than most.

Where does the climactic argument between Tom and Gatsby take place?

On the hottest day of the year, the party of five -- Tom, Daisy, Gatsby, Nick and Jordan -- inexplicably leave the airy Buchanan mansion to drive into the city. There, they check into a hotel suite to get out of the heat -- but tensions between Gatsby and Tom boil over.

What color is Gatsby's car?

Early on, Carraway refers to Gatsby's car as "a rich cream color." But by the end of the book, it's yellow -- and the color of the car is, of course, very important.

What color is Daisy's coupe?

The color of cars is important, of course, because of the hit-and-run accident that kills someone near the end of the book. Police will soon be looking for what the papers call "the death car."

Who is killed in the hit-and-run?

Myrtle thought the big yellow car belonged to Tom, because he drove it into the city. That's why she throws herself into its path as it returns toward East Egg. She is trying to get Tom's attention.

Who was driving Gatsby's car when Myrtle was hit?

Only Gatsby and Daisy are in his car. Daisy was driving because Gatsby thought it would calm her nerves after the fight with Tom. Nick assumes Gatsby was driving his own car, until he guesses that Gatsby is protecting Daisy.

Who shoots and kills Gatsby?

The weak-willed George finds his spine just in time to shoot the wrong person. Gatsby wasn't responsible for Myrtle's death -- but Tom told him who owned the yellow car, without telling him the entire truth of that night.

Where is Gatsby's body found?

When one of Gatsby's servants wants to drain the pool, Gatsby tells him to hold off: "You know, I've never used that pool all summer." (Now is a bad time to start, Jay!)

Is Daisy Buchanan believed to be solely based on Zelda Fitzgerald?

Some aspects of the Daisy-Gatsby romance mirror Scott and Zelda's -- for example, meeting in a Southern city where Fitzgerald was serving in the Army, preparing to go to Europe in WWI. But Fitzgerald scholars also see the influence of Ginevra King, the debutante who was Fitzgerald's first love while he was in college.

Was "Gatsby" Fitzgerald's first novel?

"The Great Gatsby" was Fitzgerald's third novel. He broke through at just 23 years old with "This Side of Paradise," and followed that with "The Beautiful and Damned" before writing "Gatsby" at the still-young age of 26.

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