The Great Gatsby Chapter 3

The Great Gatsby Chapter 3

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Rhiannon Edwards C6AP
Chapter Three
Nick receives an invitation to one of Gatsby's famous parties and visits his neighbour's
mansion for the first time
Nick spends the evening with Jordan Baker trying to find the host of the party, Jay Gatsby,
but they just hear a lot of wild gossip and rumours. When Nick finally meets Gatsby he's
nothing like what he expected.
Gatsby speaks to Jordan about a private matter but Jordan refuses to tell Nick what Gatsby
After the party, Nick gives a brief description of his life in New York and his developing
relationship with Jordan.
1) Nick meets a "stout, middle-aged man, with enormous owl-eyed spectacles" in Gatsby's
library. This man, later known as `Owl Eyes', is amazed that Gatsby's books are real, and sees
it through an alcoholic gaze. Fitzgerald uses Owl Eyes to highlight the tension between
appearance and reality in Gatsby's life. The books are real but have never been read -
they're props.
2) The Gothic style of Gatsby's library harks back to European models, but this Old World Echo
was very much in vogue in America at that time.
3) Owl Eyes emphasises the importance of appearance in the Egg Community. He praises
Gatsby's attention to detail in maintaining the illusion that he's a well-read gentleman. He
compares Gatsby to David Belasco, a Broadway producer known for his realistic sets, as if
Gatsby's an entertainer or illusionist.
4) Owl Eyes himself could be a symbolic presence in the library. Owls are traditionally seen as
symbols of wisdom and Owl Eyes is the only guest to see through Gatsby's persona.
However, owls are also seen as bad omens.
5) Owl Eyes mutters to himself that "if one brick was removed the whole library was liable to
collapse". Fitzgerald is using Owl Eyes to emphasis the point that if one part of Gatsby's
outward image was to falter, the entire illusion would be shattered. This foreshadows the
way that Gatsby's life will fall apart.
6) Owl Eyes is involved in a car crash as he leaves the party. He's mistakenly thought to be the
driver - "You don't understand... I wasn't driving". This foreshadows Gatsby's involvement in
Myrtle's death.
1) The rumours surrounding Gatsby continue - Gatsby is said to have "killed a man" and to have
been a "German spy".
2) Jordan says he "was an Oxford man" and Nick says that she doesn't believe it, the mystery
starts building again. All that Jordan really knows is that "he gives large parties".
3) When Nick meets Gatsby, he pays close attention to Gatsby's smile which has "a quality of
eternal reassurance". Nick describes the smile using words like "believe", "impression" and
"convey" and comments on Gatsby's affected "formality of speech" - this gives an early hint
that Gatsby's smile and speech are part of a deliberately crafted persona.

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Rhiannon Edwards C6AP
4) Gatsby's lifestyle is an obvious example of `conspicuous consumption'. This extends to both
of his cars, which stand out from the majority of vehicles on the streets.
5) Henry Ford pioneered motor manufacture in the USA, and promoted his automobiles as
symbols of democracy. Ford cars were cheaply produced - most Americans could afford one.…read more

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Rhiannon Edwards C6AP
2) The party scene seems to increase in pace as the evening progresses, and Nick's perspective
changes as well - initially Nick sees everything from far away and it seems romantic and
poetic: "floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with
chatter and laughter".…read more

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Rhiannon Edwards C6AP
16) In New York Nick suffers from a "haunting loneliness". He imagines entering the lives of
"romantic women" but never acts on his desires. There's a contrast between Nick's dinner,
the "gloomiest event" of his day, and the "gaiety" and "intimate excitement" of others - Nick
wants to be involved but remains an outsider.
17) The `chasms' in the artificial landscape of Manhattan are not gorges made by rivers but the
spaces between white skyscrapers.…read more


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