The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby Nick Carraway Quotes
About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes -- a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. (2.1)
West Egg is connected to New York by a road and a set of train tracks. It's not isolated: in fact, the things that happen in the city end up having effects back at West Egg. Trains and other technology like automobiles seemed to decrease isolation throughout the nineteenth century—but did they? Or, like Facebook, do they just give the appearance of togetherness while making us all more and more isolated?
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. (3.4)
Talk about isolation. These parties are full of people who instantly forget each other, or never even knew each other to begin with. Trying to meet someone at one of Gatsby's parties would be like trying to have a meaningful conversation at a rave: no one's there to make connections. Well, not the meaningful kind, anyway.
As soon as I arrived I made an attempt to find my host, but the two or three people of whom I asked his whereabouts stared at me in such an amazed way, and denied so vehemently any knowledge of his movements, that I slunk off in the direction of the cocktail table – the only place in the garden where a single man could linger without looking purposeless and alone. (3.10)
Actually, this is good advice: if you head to a party without knowing anyone, head for the snacks.