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Nick is pretty impressed with Gatsby. He never expected "The Gatsby" to be just around 30, tanned and very introverted. He thought if he met Gatsby, he'd be middle aged, very outgoing and pompous. Gatsby didn't even drink at his own parties and stayed away from the crowds. He was nothing like Nick's expectations. Because of that surprise, Nick develops a quick admiration of Gatsby. He even sets Gatsby above most people in the world.
"He smiled understandingly--much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiled with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life."
Interestingly, Jay Gatsby's personal attributes and idiosyncrasies are revealed not at once, nor in a continuum. Thus, there is a certain aura of mystery and allure that surrounds Gatsby. He stands on his "blue lawn" in the night and watches the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan's pier; he gives lavish parties, but no one is really invited, Gatsby himself is rarely seen, and rumors abound about his background and past.
When Nick is invited to one of Gatsby's parties by the chauffeur, he moves among the crowd, realizing that, perhaps, he is the only one who has actually been invited. When Nick turns to a new acquaintance, he remarks that the party is "unusual" for him as he does not even know the host, Gatsby.
"I'm Gatsby," he said suddenly.
"What!" I exclaimed. "Oh, I beg your pardon."
"I thought you knew, old sport. I'm afraid I'm not a very good host."
He smiled understandingly--much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it that you may come across four or five times in life.
Nick feels that Gatsby has focused entirely upon him and then feels favorably toward him, somehow understanding him, believing in him as he would like to believe in himself, assuring him that Gatsby has the impression of Nick that he wishes him to have. It is a sparkling moment, a moment when trumpets herald the arrival of someone important--then, just a quickly as a spark, this moment ends. And Nick is brought back to earth, finding Gatsby's "formality of speech just missed being absurd."
Curious now as to who Gatsby really is, Nick turns to Jordan and she expresses her doubts about him, saying he has told her he attended Oxford, but she does not think that Gatsby has gone there. Nick begins to realize that Gatsby has no one really knows who Gatsby is and, suddenly, Nick's curiosity is stimulated.
At first Nick is quite impressed by his more fashionable neighbor's extravagant wealth, parties, and mysterious nature. Nick admires him greatly but is also wary of him and grows to disapprove of his actions. For instance, Nick is not fond of Gatsby's scheme to woo and win back Daisy. Yet, at the same time he does nothing to stop him and even facilitates the process by having the couple have tea in his house. By the end of the novel, Nick becomes Gatsby's only true friend.
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