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biography
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chapter one
chapter two
chapter three
chapter four
chapter five
chapter six
chapter seven
chapter eight
chapter nine

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The Great Gatsby Guide


chapter three


Gatsby’s chauffeur presents Nick with a handwritten note from Gatsby requesting his presence at a party. Gatsby often has parties at his house, yet the majority of the guests are usually uninvited. Most of the guests do not even meet Gatsby, making the parties seem ultimately meaningless and simply for show. In addition, the most widely used colors at the party are silver and gold, which may symbolize the wealth which is so important to his dream. His library is also simply for show. It is filled with unread books. His home and the party seem to be one big stage. We will learn later that Gatsby hosts these parties in the hope that Daisy might one day show up.

Nick goes to the party and sees Jordan there. Although Jordan arrived at the party with another man, she proceeds to spend the evening with Nick. Many people at the party are speculating as to the true nature of their host, who is nowhere to be seen. Someone mentions that they heard he had killed a man.

Nick and Jordan go through the mansion looking for Gatsby, but come across Owl-Eyes. Owl-Eyes, seemingly named after his owl-eyed spectacles, speaks to them about Gatsby's library. He is amazed that the books are real, and he also realizes that none of the books have actually been read. It seems that even though everything is for show, no expense was spared.

Nick meets a man at the party who claims to recognize him from the war. They make plans to meet in the morning, to try out the man’s new hydroplane. Nick is surprised when the man turns out to be Gatsby. Later, Jordan is summoned by a butler to speak with Gatsby in private. She emerges from his house an hour later excited by their talk. She does not explain the nature of the talk, but she urges Nick to come and see her soon. The party begins to break up. The excessive merriment of the party has given way to bickering couples as they leave the party. Nick says goodnight to Gatsby and goes home.

At the end of the party scene we see that Owl-Eyes and another guest have crashed their car into a ditch. The other guest is trying to get people to help him get the car back on the road so that he can drive it. He does not understand that one of the wheels has broken off, making the car undriveable. This scene shows the recklessness of the rich and their inability to understand the consequences of their actions. It also foreshadows the damage that will occur later in another car accident.

Nick goes on to tell us about his work as a bondsman. He explains that he had a short affair with a girl from New Jersey, he often ate dinner at the Yale club, and he studied in the evening. Nick spends more and more time with Jordan, and realizes that he must break off things with the girl back home.