The Great Gatsby Chapter 3 Summary and Analysis | SparkNotes (2023)

Summary

One of the reasons Gatsby has become so famous in New York is that he throws lavish parties at his mansion every weekend, lavish extravaganzas that people want to be invited to. One day Gatsby's driver bringsuseran invitation to one of these parties. At the appointed time, Nick imitates the short walk.GatsbyHe gets married and attends the celebrations, feeling a little out of place among the crowd of cheering strangers. The guests trade rumors about their host; no one seems to know the truth about Gatsby's wealth or personal history. Nick is comingjordan baker, whose girlfriend Lucille speculates that Gatsby was a German spy during the war. Nick also learns that Gatsby graduated from Oxford and once killed a man in cold blood.

Gatsby's party is incredibly lavish: guests marvel at his Rolls-Royce, his pool, his beach, boxes of fresh oranges and lemons, buffet tents in the gardens filled with treats, and a live orchestra playing under the stars. The liquor flows freely and the crowd gets louder as more guests get drunk. In this opulent and exuberant environment, Nick and Jordan, curious about their host, go in search of Gatsby. Instead, they find a middle-aged man with giant owl-like glasses (whom Nick calls Owl Eyes) hunched over the unread books in Gatsby's library.

At midnight, Nick and Jordan leave to watch the conversation. They are sitting at a table with a handsome young man who says that Nick looks familiar to him; They point out that they served in the same division during the war. The man introduces himself as none other than Jay Gatsby. Gatsby's speech is elaborate and formal, and he has a habit of referring to everyone as an "older guy". As the party progresses, Gatsby intrigues Nick more and more. He points out that Gatsby doesn't drink and stays away from the party, standing alone on the marble steps and silently watching his guests.

At two in the morning, as the husbands and wives argue over whether or not to leave, a butler tells Jordan that Gatsby would like to see her. Jordan leaves his date with Gatsby and says that he just heard something extraordinary. Nick says goodbye to Gatsby, who gets a call from Philadelphia. Nick goes home. On the way, he sees Owl Eyes struggling to get his car out of a ditch. Owl Eyes and another man get out of the wrecked car, and Owl Eyes drunkenly explains that he is washing his hands.

Nick then describes his day-to-day life to show that he's doing more with his time than just having fun. He works in New York City, where he also takes long walks and meets women. After a brief relationship with a Jersey City girl, Nick takes her advice.margaritamiTomásand starts seeing Jordan Baker. Nick says that Jordan is fundamentally a dishonest person; he even knows that she cheated in her first golf tournament. Nick is attracted to her despite her dishonesty, although he claims to be one of the few honest people he has ever known about her.

He had one of those rare smiles, with a quality of eternal confidence that you come across four or five times in a lifetime.

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Analyze

Opening this chapter, Gatsby's Party focuses on the wealth and glamor of the 1920s, representing the upper class at its most luxurious. The wealthy, both East Egg socialites and their grittier West Egg counterparts, gamble without restraint. As his description of the differences between East Egg and West Egg shows, Fitzgerald is fascinated by the social hierarchy and humor of America in the 1920s, when a large group of industrialists, speculators, and entrepreneurs with new fortunes joined the old aristocratic families at the top of the economic ladder. The "nouveau riche" lack the sophistication, manners, and good taste of the "old rich," but they want to join the polite society of the Osteggers. In this environment, Gatsby is once again an enigma; although he lives in an extravagantly elegant mansion in West Egg, East Eggers speak openly at his parties. Despite the tensions between the two groups, the mix of East and West Egg creates a distinctly American vibe. While the Americans have strong party vigor, the British move in dramatically, looking desperate and predatory, hoping to forge connections that will make them rich.

Read an essay on Gatsby and the jazz age.

Fitzgerald delayed the introduction of the novel's most important character, Gatsby himself, until the beginning of Chapter 3. The reader has seen Gatsby from afar, heard other characters talk about him, and heard Nick's thoughts about him. but she hasn't actually met him (or Nick). Chapter 3 is dedicated to introducing Gatsby and the luxurious and luxurious world in which he inhabits. Fitzgerald gives Gatsby a fitting grand entrance as the aloof host of a spectacularly decadent party. Despite this introduction, this chapter continues to reinforce the sense of mystery and mystery that surrounds Gatsby, as the restraint he maintains with his lavish spending seems strangely out of place. Just as he was alone on his lawn in Chapter 1, he is now out of the crowd of pleasure seekers. In his first direct contact with Gatsby, Nick notes his extraordinary smile—"one of those rare smiles with a quality of timeless certainty." Nick's impression of Gatsby underscores his optimism and vitality: something about him seems extraordinarily hopeful, and this belief in a bright future impresses Nick even before he knows what future Gatsby envisions.

Read more about how Nick Carraway met Jay Gatsby.

Many aspects of Gatsby's world are fascinating because they are just a bit off; for example, he seems to throw parties where he doesn't know any of the guests. His accent is forced and his habit of calling people "old sport" is hard to pin down. One of his guests, Owl Eyes, is surprised to discover that his books are real and not just blank covers meant to give the impression of a large library. The tone of Nick's narration suggests that many of the residents of East Egg and West Egg display external opulence to cover up their internal corruption and moral decay, but Gatsby seems to be using his opulence to do something very different and perhaps deeper for himself. mask. From this chapter on, the mystery of Jay Gatsby becomes the motivating question of the book, and the revelation of Gatsby's character becomes one of its central mechanisms. One of the first references to Gatsby's character in this chapter is his mysterious conversation with Jordan Baker. While Nick doesn't know what Gatsby is telling him, the fact that Jordan now knows something "remarkable" about Gatsby means that part of the solution to the Gatsby mystery is now loose in Nick's circle of acquaintances.

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Chapter 3 also addresses the gap between perception and reality. At the party, while flipping through Gatsby's books, Owl Eyes says Gatsby caught the effect of theatrics, a kind of mix of honesty and dishonesty that characterizes Gatsby's approach to this dimension of his life. The party itself is something of an elaborate theatrical performance, and Owl Eyes suggests that Gatsby's whole life is just a show, believing that even his books may not be real. The title of the novel itself, The Great Gatsby, suggests the kind of vaudeville for an actor or magician like The Great Houdini, subtly emphasizing the theatrical and perhaps illusory quality of Gatsby's life.

Nick's description of his life in New York also draws attention to the difference between substance and appearance, emphasizing both the city's colorful allure and its dangerous imbalance: he says the city has an "adventurous feel" but also he calls her "naughty". a word with negative moral connotations. Nick also feels conflicted with Jordan. He sees her as dishonest, selfish and cynical, but is drawn to her vitality. Her early relationship underscores the extent to which Nick has adjusted to life in the East, abandoning his Midwestern values ​​and concerns to enjoy the excitement of her new surroundings.

Read more about the empty upper class as a topic.

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