Gatsby’s parties played a pivotal role in establishing his high status and reputation in New York.
With hundreds of people indulging in drinks, gossip, and jazz music, these events represent the Jazz Age lifestyle.
Interestingly, the primary motive behind these extravagant gatherings was to attract Daisy’s attention, making her presence and approval the true measure of a party’s success.
Additionally, these parties and their materialistic grandeur highlighted society’s fixation on material values and the quest for higher social status, a recurring theme in Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”
The Great Gatsby Party Description
In “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the eloquent and descriptive passages detailing the opulent parties thrown by Jay Gatsby are some of the most iconic aspects of the narrative.
These parties, frequently held in Gatsby’s sumptuous blue gardens, were grand affairs where “men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars” (Chapter 3, Page 28).
Hosting these soirées was an extravagant endeavor. The festivities began in the morning and often continued well past midnight, with Gatsby’s Rolls-Royce acting as a complimentary shuttle for attendees (Nick Carraway, Chapter 3).
The attention to detail is impressive, with five crates of oranges and lemons imported from a New York fruiterer weekly and an entire crew of caterers arriving every two weeks.
The parties were filled with upbeat music that seemed to permeate the gardens, while laughter and conversation flowed as freely as the cocktails.
All this hustle and bustle made the routine of Gatsby’s parties an exercise in luxury and excess, a testament to his wealth and grandeur.
Quotes About Gatsby’s Parties With Page Numbers Chapter 2
“I was down there at a party about a month ago. At a man named Gatsby’s. Do you know him?”
“Well, they say he’s a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm’s. That’s where all his money comes from.”
“I’m scared of him. I’d hate to have him get anything on me.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Jay Gatsby (Character: Catherine to Nick Carraway), Chapter 2, Page 24
This quote is the second time Nick hears rumors of Jay Gatsby before he meets him. Catherine, Myrtle’s sister, tells him at a party at Tom’s apartment in the city.
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Gatsby’s parties (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 3, Page 28
In this quote, Nick Carraway describes the fleeting popularity of Gatsby’s parties and the attendees.
“I had been actually invited. A chauffeur in a uniform of robin’s egg blue crossed my lawn early that Saturday morning with a surprisingly formal note from his employer—the honor would be entirely Gatsby’s, it said, if I would attend his “little party” that night. He had seen me several times and had intended to call on me long before, but a peculiar combination of circumstances had prevented it—signed Jay Gatsby in a majestic hand.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Gatsby’s parties (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 3, Page 29
In this quote, Nick describes his formal invitation from Jay Gatsby to his “little party.” After all the Gatsby rumors, this must raise some red flags with Nick because Gatsby’s party are anything but formal or little.
What is the quote about Gatsby’s parties Chapter 3?
“There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. And on Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener, toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before.
Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York–every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb.
At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another.
By seven o’clock the orchestra has arrived, no thin five-piece affair, but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones and saxophones and viols and cornets and piccolos, and low and high drums. The last swimmers have come in from the beach now and are dressing up-stairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep in the drive, and already the halls and salons and verandas are gaudy with primary colors, and hair shorn in strange new ways, and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.
The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath; already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the centre of a group, and then, excited with triumph, glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light.
Suddenly one of the gypsies, in trembling opal, seizes a cocktail out of the air, dumps it down for courage and, moving her hands like Frisco, dances out alone on the canvas platform. A momentary hush; the orchestra leader varies his rhythm obligingly for her, and there is a burst of chatter as the erroneous news goes around that she is Gilda Gray’s understudy from the Follies. The party has begun.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Gatsby’s parties (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 3, Pages 28, 29
In this quote, Nick elaborates on the extravagant details of Gatsby’s parties. The parties represent the lifestyle of the rich in the roaring 1920’s. Being next door, the parties are impossible to ignore because of their size, the people, and the mystery around Gatsby.
“I like to come,” Lucille said. “I never care what I do, so I always have a good time. When I was here last I tore my gown on a chair, and he asked me my name and address — inside of a week I got a package from Croirier’s with a new evening gown in it.”
“Did you keep it?” asked Jordan.
“Sure I did. I was going to wear it to-night, but it was too big in the bust and had to be altered. It was gas blue with lavender beads. Two hundred and sixty-five dollars.”
“There’s something funny about a fellow that’ll do a thing like that,” said the other girl eagerly. “He doesn’t want any trouble with ANYbody.”
“Who doesn’t?” I inquired.
“Gatsby. Somebody told me ——”
The two girls and Jordan leaned together confidentially.
“Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once.”
A thrill passed over all of us. The three Mr. Mumbles bent forward and listened eagerly.
“I don’t think it’s so much THAT,” argued Lucille sceptically;
“it’s more that he was a German spy during the war.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Gatsby’s parties (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 3, Pages 30, 31
In this quote, Nick listens to more rumors about Gatsby before setting the stage for his introduction.
Gatsby believes his parties are the best way to get Daisy’s attention. But his parties are also the best way to spread rumors about how he made his money.
“I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited — they went there. They got into automobiles which bore them out to Long Island, and somehow they ended up at Gatsby’s door. Once there they were introduced by somebody who knew Gatsby, and after that they conducted themselves according to the rules of behavior associated with amusement parks. Sometimes they came and went without having met Gatsby at all, came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admission.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Gatsby’s parties (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 3, Pages 33
This quote shows that the party-goers were welcome, but they didn’t care why they were welcome. Gatsby used the guests to attract Daisy, and the guests used Gatsby’s parties for free food, alcohol, and fun.
“Anyhow he gives large parties,” said Jordan, changing the subject with an urbane distaste for the concrete. “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Gatsby’s parties (Character: Jordan Baker), Chapter 3, Page 34
Jordan Baker’s comments about large parties show that people in the 1920s feared being alone and were afraid of people’s judging eyes. Large parties allowed them to blend in with the crowd and only talk to whomever they wanted.
“The caterwauling horns had reached a crescendo and I turned away and cut across the lawn toward home. I glanced back once.
A wafer of a moon was shining over Gatsby’s house, making the night fine as before and surviving the laughter and the sound of his still glowing garden.
A sudden emptiness seemed to flow now from the windows and the great doors, endowing with complete isolation the figure of the host who stood on the porch, his hand up in a formal gesture of farewell.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Gatsby’s parties (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 3, Pages 37, 38
“Reading over what I have written so far, I see I have given the impression that the events of three nights several weeks apart were all that absorbed me.
On the contrary they were merely casual events in a crowded summer and, until much later, they absorbed me infinitely less than my personal affairs.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Gatsby’s parties (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 3, Page 38
In this quote, Nick tries to downplay Gatsby’s parties’ effect on him. This usually means it’s more important to them than the person wants people to believe.
“From East Egg, then, came the Chester Beckers and the Leeches and a man named Bunsen whom I knew at Yale and Doctor Webster Civet who was drowned last summer up in Maine. And the Hornbeams and the Willie Voltaires and a whole clan named Blackbuck who always gathered in a corner and flipped up their noses like goats at whosoever came near.
And the Ismays and the Chrysties (or rather Hubert Auerbach and Mr. Chrystie’s wife) and Edgar Beaver, whose hair they say turned cotton-white one winter afternoon for no good reason at all.
Clarence Endive was from East Egg, as I remember. He came only once, in white knickerbockers, and had a fight with a bum named Etty in the garden.
From farther out on the Island came the Cheadles and the O. R. P. Schraeders and the Stonewall Jackson Abrams of Georgia and the Fishguards and the Ripley Snells. Snell was there three days before he went to the penitentiary, so drunk out on the gravel drive that Mrs. Ulysses Swett’s automobile ran over his right hand.
The Dancies came too and S. B. Whitebait, who was well over sixty, and Maurice A. Flink and the Hammerheads and Beluga the tobacco importer and Beluga’s girls.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Gatsby’s parties (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 4, Pages 40, 41
“I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties, some night,” went on Jordan, “but she never did. Then he began asking people casually if they knew her, and I was the first one he found.
It was that night he sent for me at his dance, and you should have heard the elaborate way he worked up to it. Of course, I immediately suggested a luncheon in New York—and I thought he’d go mad.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 4, Page 50
“When I came home to West Egg that night, I was afraid for a moment that my house was on fire. Two o’clock and the whole corner of the peninsula was blazing with light which fell unreal on the shrubbery and made thin elongating glints upon the roadside wires. Turning a corner I saw that it was Gatsby’s house, lit from tower to cellar.
At first I thought it was another party, a wild rout that had resolved itself into “hide-and-go-seek” or “sardines-in-the-box” with all the house thrown open to the game. But there wasn’t a sound. Only wind in the trees which blew the wires and made the lights go off and on again as if the house had winked into the darkness.
As my taxi groaned away, I saw Gatsby walking toward me across his lawn.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Gatsby’s parties (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 5, Page 52
“Tom was evidently perturbed at Daisy’s running around alone, for on the following Saturday night he came with her to Gatsby’s party. Perhaps his presence gave the evening its peculiar quality of oppressiveness—it stands out in my memory from Gatsby’s other parties that summer.
There were the same people, or at least the same sort of people, the same profusion of champagne, the same many-colored, many-keyed commotion, but I felt an unpleasantness in the air, a pervading harshness that hadn’t been there before.
Or perhaps I had merely grown used to it, grown to accept West Egg as a world complete in itself, with its own standards and its own great figures, second to nothing because it had no consciousness of being so, and now I was looking at it again, through Daisy’s eyes.
It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Tom Buchanan and Daisy Buchanan (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 6, Page 66
“Daisy and Gatsby danced. I remember being surprised by his graceful, conservative fox-trot—I had never seen him dance before.
Then they sauntered over to my house and sat on the steps for half an hour, while at her request I remained watchfully in the garden. “In case there’s a fire or a flood,” she explained, “or any act of God.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 6, Page 67
“I knew that except for the half hour she’d been alone with Gatsby she wasn’t having a good time.
Gatsby also notices it:
“She didn’t like it,” he insisted. “She didn’t have a good time.”
He was silent and I guessed at his unutterable depression.
“I feel far away from her,” he said. “It’s hard to make her understand.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 6, Page 69
“It was when curiosity about Gatsby was at its highest that the lights in his house failed to go on one Saturday night—and, as obscurely as it had begun, his career as Trimalchio was over.
Only gradually did I become aware that the automobiles which turned expectantly into his drive stayed for just a minute and then drove sulkily away. Wondering if he were sick, I went over to find out—an unfamiliar butler with a villainous face squinted at me suspiciously from the door.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Jay Gatsby (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 6, Page 71
What was the quote about Gatsby’s parties being for Daisy?
“I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties, some night,” went on Jordan, “but she never did. Then he began asking people casually if they knew her, and I was the first one he found.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, about Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan (Character: Nick Carraway as the narrator), Chapter 4, Page 50
What do Gatsby’s parties symbolize?
Gatsby’s parties symbolize the Jazz Age’s opulent indulgence and reckless hedonism. They highlight the era’s extreme materialism and loose morals.
They are a metaphor for Gatsby’s desperate and ostentatious attempt to gain validation and acceptance from the upper social class, particularly to attract Daisy’s attention.
The extravagance of these parties contrasts sharply with Gatsby’s unfulfilled emotional needs and loneliness, further intensifying the sense of disillusionment that permeates the novel.