How does Nick describe the guests at Gatsby's party? What do these descriptions tell us about how Nick feels about most of these people? What sense of the Jazz age do we get from this?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of my favorite descriptions in the entire book is this simile that describes Gatsby's guests in chapter 3:

In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.

So much is implied in this comparison. Gatsby's guests are attracted to his party like moths are attracted to a flame. They flutter toward his offerings of music and alcohol in similar patterns, behaving with uniform movements. Like moths, their behavior could lead them straight into danger, but they are solely focused on the thing which attracts them—free-flowing alcohol and a good time. Like moths, they emerge at night and present mysterious yet captivating movements.

Later, Nick makes this observation:

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.

This reveals several more qualities about the guests. First, they are...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 981 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team