The Great Gatsby: Conversation Between Nick and Jordan
One of the reasons that Gatsby has become so famous around New York is that he throws elaborate parties every weekend at his mansion, lavish spectacles to which people long to be invited. I made the short walk to Gatsby’s house and joined the festivities, feeling somewhat out of place amid the crowd of ecstatic strangers. Gatsby’s party is almost unbelievably luxurious: guests marvel over his Rolls-Royce, his swimming pool, his beach, crates of fresh oranges and lemons, buffet tents in the gardens overflowing with a feast, and a live orchestra playing under the stars.
Liquor flows freely, and the crowd grows rowdier and louder as more and more guests get drunk. In this atmosphere of opulence and revelry, Jordan and I, curious to see this “Mr Gatsby” set out to find him. At midnight, Jordan and I went outside to watch the entertainment. We sat at a table when a very well dressed man said that I looked very familiar to him and explain that we served in the same division during the war.
He then man introduced himself as none other than Jay Gatsby.
His speech was so elaborate and formal, and he had a habit of calling everyone “old sport.” As the party went on , I felt myself being increasingly fascinated with Gatsby but Jordan was always there on the back of my mind. The more time I spent in the company of Jordan Baker , the stronger I was drawn to her. It might have been the alluring way her slender figure snaked itself In and out of the scandals of Tom and Myrtle as well as Daisy and Gatsby , or her cool manner of simmering down daisy when things got heated between tom and daisy and they were bickering over something trivial. Nick was never a man to let a girl know how he felt about her , so he simply watched from a comfortable perch as Jordon sauntered around gatsby’s mansion , encountering old girlfriends , previous competitors and former lovers. Her dress was a simple style , pressed tightly against her , and her golf club was always secured at her side. Nick felt something brush against his shoulder. Fairly accustomed to drunken partygoers , he ignored it. “It’s all quite marvellous , isnt’t it ?” a voice prompted him.
Jordan had found her way back to him , apparently bored of all the glitter and intrigue. “But it’s quite ridiculous as well” she rolled her eyes draggin her club across the staircase railing. Nick felt an overwhelming desire to remain silent and allow jordan’s dominant personality to steer the conversation whenever she intented it to go.However , her kohl-enhanced eyes widened in expectation. “Quite marvellous indeed” nick piped up, fiddling with the cuffs of his suit sleeves. “I received an invitation , you know.From mr.gatsby himself” Nick attemped small talk , but was unaware that dabbling in gossip would ensure jordan’s commitment to the conversation.
“I hear he killed a man “ Jordan arched her brows with a smirk, “but then again , they probablu say the same thing about me.” “why ever would yo think such a thing?” nick shuffled uncomfortably Jordans eyes danced with laughter and she stood back to survey nick with amusement “a women with a flawless golf record and a string of pearls?” she gave him a sceptical glance, “Now nothing good can come out of that” Nick pursed his lips , not quite sure how to respond. “Well you seem quite content with your lifestyle,” he pointed out gingerly. Jordan chuckled under her breath. It was as though she found nick’s innocence endearing. “Of course I do , Mr. Carraway . I love to golf , but you see , I love to party as well” she gestured to the grand party around her, “and this frightens most men….. and women” she sighed dramatically.
To Nick, seeing a woman like Jordan, one who drinks and gambles, he wouldn’t assume that she was too. “Although , you don’t seem too afraid” Jordan noticed, “maybe you’ve benn spending too much time in New York , Mr . Carraway.” “well I – ,” nick fumbled on his words , “ I … I do believe my cousin daisy enjoys your company.” “Yes Daisy and I were inseperable in our youth . but now she thinks I’m a fool.” “Well , personally I think – “ but nick was interrupted. A man had leaned In toward Jordan to mumur “ Mr Gtasby requests your presence , Ms Baker.” “Me?’ Jordan was dually incredulous and fascinated.
“Well , a girl must go where she’s wanted, “ she laughed and winked at Nick , as though they now shared a special Secret. Watching Jordan walk away Nick felt a special attraction to Jordan but brushed it off as though to say he would just be another fling to her.
One of the reasons that Gatsby has become so famous around New York is that he throws elaborate parties every weekend at his mansion, lavish spectacles to which people long to be invited. One day, Gatsby’s chauffeur brings Nick an invitation to one of these parties. At the appointed time, Nick makes the short walk to Gatsby’s house and joins the festivities, feeling somewhat out of place amid the throng of jubilant strangers. Guests mill around exchanging rumors about their host—no one seems to know the truth about Gatsby’s wealth or personal history. Nick runs into Jordan Baker, whose friend, Lucille, speculates that Gatsby was a German spy during the war. Nick also hears that Gatsby is a graduate of Oxford and that he once killed a man in cold blood. Gatsby’s party is almost unbelievably luxurious: guests marvel over his Rolls-Royce, his swimming pool, his beach, crates of fresh oranges and lemons, buffet tents in the gardens overflowing with a feast, and a live orchestra playing under the stars.
Liquor flows freely, and the crowd grows rowdier and louder as more and more guests get drunk. In this atmosphere of opulence and revelry, Nick and Jordan, curious about their host, set out to find Gatsby. Instead, they run into a middle-aged man with huge, owl-eyed spectacles (whom Nick dubs Owl Eyes) who sits poring over the unread books in Gatsby’s library. At midnight, Nick and Jordan go outside to watch the entertainment. They sit at a table with a handsome young man who says that Nick looks familiar to him; they realize 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 calling everyone “old sport.” As the party progresses, Nick becomes increasingly fascinated with Gatsby. He notices that Gatsby does not drink and that he keeps himself separate from the party, standing alone on the marble steps, watching his guests in silence.
At two o’clock in the morning, as husbands and wives argue over whether to leave, a butler tells Jordan that Gatsby would like to see her. Jordan emerges from her meeting with Gatsby saying that she has just heard something extraordinary. Nick says goodbye to Gatsby, who goes inside to take a phone call from Philadelphia. Nick starts to walk home. On his way, he sees Owl Eyes struggling to get his car out of a ditch. Owl Eyes and another man climb out of the wrecked automobile, and Owl Eyes drunkenly declares that he washes his hands of the whole business. Nick then proceeds to describe his everyday life, to prove that he does more with his time than simply attend parties. He works in New York City, through which he also takes long walks, and he meets women.
After a brief relationship with a girl from Jersey City, Nick follows the advice of Daisy and Tom and begins seeing Jordan Baker. Nick says that Jordan is fundamentally a dishonest person; he even knows that she cheated in her first golf tournament. Nick feels attracted to her despite her dishonesty, even though he himself claims to be one of the few honest people he has ever known. He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. (See Important Quotations Explained)
At the beginning of this chapter, Gatsby’s party brings 1920s wealth and glamour into full focus, showing the upper class at its most lavishly opulent. The rich, both socialites from East Egg and their coarser counterparts from West Egg, cavort without restraint. As his depiction of the differences between East Egg and West Egg evidences, Fitzgerald is fascinated with the social hierarchy and mood of America in the 1920s, when a large group of industrialists, speculators, and businessmen with brand-new fortunes joined the old, aristocratic families at the top of the economic ladder. The “new rich” lack the refinement, manners, and taste of the “old rich” but long to break into the polite society of the East Eggers. In this scenario, Gatsby is again an enigma—though he lives in a garishly ostentatious West Egg mansion, East Eggers freely attend his parties.
Despite the tensions between the two groups, the blend of East and West Egg creates a distinctly American mood. While the Americans at the party possess a rough vitality, the Englishmen there are set off dramatically, seeming desperate and predatory, hoping to make connections that will make them rich. Fitzgerald has delayed the introduction of the novel’s most important figure—Gatsby himself—until the beginning of Chapter 3. The reader has seen Gatsby from a distance, heard other characters talk about him, and listened to Nick’s thoughts about him, but has not actually met him (nor has Nick). Chapter 3 is devoted to the introduction of Gatsby and the lavish, showy world he inhabits. Fitzgerald gives Gatsby a suitably grand entrance as the aloof host of a spectacularly decadent party. Despite this introduction, this chapter continues to heighten the sense of mystery and enigma that surrounds Gatsby, as the low profile he maintains seems curiously out of place with his lavish expenditures.
Just as he stood alone on his lawn in Chapter 1, he now stands outside the throng of pleasure-seekers. In his first direct contact with Gatsby, Nick notices his extraordinary smile—“one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it.” Nick’s impression of Gatsby emphasizes his optimism and vitality—something about him seems remarkably hopeful, and this belief in the brilliance of the future impresses Nick, even before he knows what future Gatsby envisions. Many aspects of Gatsby’s world are intriguing because they are slightly amiss—for instance, he seems to throw parties at which he knows none of his guests. His accent seems affected, and his habit of calling people “old sport” is hard to place. One of his guests, Owl Eyes, is surprised to find that his books are real and not just empty covers designed to create the appearance of a great library.
The tone of Nick’s narration suggests that many of the inhabitants of East Egg and West Egg use an outward show of opulence to cover up their inner corruption and moral decay, but Gatsby seems to use his opulence to mask something entirely different and perhaps more profound. From this chapter forward, the mystery of Jay Gatsby becomes the motivating question of the book, and the unraveling of Gatsby’s character becomes one of its central mechanisms. One early clue to Gatsby’s character in this chapter is his mysterious conversation with Jordan Baker. Though Nick does not know what Gatsby says to her, the fact that Jordan now knows something “remarkable” about Gatsby means that a part of the solution to the enigma of Gatsby is now loose among Nick’s circle of acquaintances. Chapter 3 also focuses on the gap between perception and reality.
At the party, as he looks through Gatsby’s books, Owl Eyes states that Gatsby has captured the effect of theater, a kind of mingling of honesty and dishonesty that characterizes Gatsby’s approach to this dimension of his life. The party itself is a kind of elaborate theatrical presentation, and Owl Eyes suggests that Gatsby’s whole life is merely a show, believing that even his books might not be real. The novel’s title itself—The Great Gatsby—is suggestive of the sort of vaudeville billing for a performer 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 likewise calls attention to the difference between substance and appearance, as it emphasizes both the colorful allure of the city and its dangerous lack of balance: he says that the city has an “adventurous feel,” but he also calls it “racy,” a word with negative moral connotations. Nick feels similarly conflicted about Jordan. He realizes that she is dishonest, selfish, and cynical, but he is attracted to her vitality nevertheless. Their budding relationship emphasizes the extent to which Nick becomes acclimated to life in the East, abandoning his Midwestern values and concerns in order to take advantage of the excitement of his new surroundings.
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