Nick Carraway describes the customs of Gatsby's weekly parties: the arrival
of crates of oranges and lemons, a corps of caterers and a large orchestra.
On the first night that Carraway visits Gatsby's house, he was one of the
few guests who had actually been invited. When he arrives, he is delighted
to see Jordan Baker, a familiar face. He had not seen her since meeting her
at his cousin's house. They struck up a conversation and she tells him that
she has recently lost a golf tournament. They then start to talk about Gatsby
and the ridiculous gossip that surrounds him; ï¿½ he supposedly killed a man,
or was a German spy.
Nick expresses a desire to meet his host so that he can thank him for the
invitation. They start to look for him and walk into the mansion. They reach
Gatsby's library and find another guest there, a man wearing very large eyeglasses.
At first Jordan thinks that the books are not real and is surprised to find
that they are. After looking into a few other rooms, they return to the garden.
Later that evening, a man who recognized Nick from the war talks to him ï¿½
Nick does not know that it is Gatsby. Suddenly, after he identifies himself,
Gatsby gets a phone call from Chicago. Afterwards, Gatsby asks to speak to
Jordan Baker alone. When she finishes talking to Gatsby, she tells Nick that
she heard the most amazing thing and will tell him about it at some later
Guests begin to leave the party. Some are too drunk to drive and a group
has a car wreck in Gatsby's driveway. One of the involved people happens to
be the man whom Nick saw in the library earlier that evening.
This was merely one event in a crowded summer. Carraway, who spent most of
his time working, began to like New York. For a while he lost sight of Jordan
Baker. He was not in love with her, but had some interest in her.
Even upon his introduction, Jay Gatsby remains a mystery. At his own parties
few of the guests know the host or are even invited at all. This chapter builds
on the idea that there is something not only mysterious but sinister about
Gatsby. All of the gossip relating to Gatsby is borderline monstrous; whether
committing murder or spying for the Germans during the war. When Nick finally
meets Gatsby, the man is unassuming and ordinary, easily mistaken for another
guest. Among the others he is isolated. He alone does not dance.
The sense of mystery that surrounds Gatsby is compounded by the long discussion that he has with Jordan Baker. There is some amazing news about Gatsby that Jordan will soon reveal to Nick.
Another contemporary touch that Fitzgerald adds to this chapter is the use
of cars. At the time of this book's publication, they were still novelty items,
and Fitzgerald presents them with a sense of luxurious danger. A car accident
disturbs the end of the party, when one of the guests drives drunk, and Carraway
realizes that Jordan is a terribly unsafe driver. Her near car accident serves
as a metaphor for the behavior of her contemporaries: Jordan is a careless
driver because she expects others to be careful and stay out of her way in
the event of an accident.