Study Guide

The Great Gatsby Chapter 3

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Chapter 3


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  • Nick describes the elaborate parties (orchestra and everything) that Jay Gatsby throws most nights throughout the summer. Hordes of people arrive to get their collective grooves on.
  • Many of them never meet Gatsby, and most were not invited.
  • But Nick is invited--via Gatsby's chauffer.
  • He meets Jordan at the party, we're reminded she is a golfer, and everybody gossips about the mysterious Gatsby and how he might be a murderer or in the CIA or something.
  • (Well, probably not the CIA, founded in 1947. But you get the point.)
  • Nick wanders into the library (you can tell he's not a big party aficionado) and meets a man with owl-eyed spectacles who is in awe that all these books are real – pages and everything!
  • Owl-eyed man also utters one of the famous Fitzgerald lines: "I've been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library."
  • Back outside, Nick meets an unknown man who gives him the old "you look familiar" line. They chat about having both been in the war (WWI).
  • Turns out, the mysterious man is the mysterious Gatsby. Who'd have thought? Certainly not Nick, who expected Gatsby to be older than him. (Nick's about 30.)
  • Gatsby leaves to take a phone call, and later sends his butler to get Jordan for a private chat.
  • Inside the house, Nick watches a woman with red hair singing along to a piano and weeping black mascara tears.
  • Everyone is fighting with his or her spouse. The men are mad because they're not being allowed to talk to the hot young things, and the women are mad because their husbands are trying to talk to the hot young things.
  • Presumably the hot young things are enjoying themselves just fine.
  • Jordan comes back from the chat with Gatsby; she taunts Nick (and us) about the "tantalizing" news without revealing any of it. She then tells Nick to come and visit her at her aunt's house.
  • Gatsby says goodnight to Nick with his signature "old sport" usage. They have plans to go up in his "hydroplane" tomorrow.
  • BUT the excitement isn't over yet. Nick sees that a coupe leaving the driveway has hit a wall and lost a wheel.
  • The driver? None other than the owl-eyed man himself.
  • No, wait – moments after that we find out he was not, in fact, the driver. There was someone else in the car. We suggest you dog-ear this page for later reference.
  • That's it for the night of the party.
  • Nick falls into his work-eat-sleep routine and Jordan doesn't pop up again until mid-summer, when they start hanging out together.
  • Nick tells us it isn't love, but that it's curiosity.
  • Sure, dude. Whatever you need to tell yourself.
  • When Jordan lies about leaving the top down in a borrowed convertible, it jogs Nick's memory about that "story" he had been trying to remember regarding Jordan: she may have cheated in a professional golf tournament once.
  • Yet another classic Fitzgerald line: "Dishonesty in a woman is something you never blame deeply." Ha.
  • She's also a horrible driver, but we're not making any women jokes about that—especially since it's not true.
  • Nick tells her to be careful, but Jordan says no, it's fine, as long as other people are careful drivers. She says she hopes that she never meets a person as careless as herself. "I hate careless people," she tells Nick. "That's why I like you."
  • Nick is sold. He realizes he needs to break things off with a certain girl back in Chicago, and then congratulates himself on being one of the few honest people he has ever known.

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