How does Nick get to go to his first Gatsby party, and why is this unusual?  

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Great Gatsbyby F Scott Fitzgerald, the title character, Jay Gatsby, throws notoriously lavish parties. His neighbor, Nick Carraway describes these parties in almost poetic detail in chapter three. 

From caterers to buffet tables of expensive and exotic foods, five piece orchestras, and plenty of alcohol, Gatsby parties spare no expense. There are, however, two ironies surrounding these infamous affairs. First, the host, Gatsby himself, is typically no where to be found. Second, most people who attend the parties do not even know Gatsby, nor were they directly invited.

I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited — they went there (chapter 3).

Nick describes the behavior at the scene as like that of an amusement park. People come and go without ever laying eyes on Gatsby, never mind meeting him. On the other hand, Nick notes:

I had been actually invited. A chauffeur in a uniform of robin’s-egg blue crossed my lawn early that Saturday morning with a surprisingly formal note from his employer: the honor would be entirely Gatsby’s, it said, if I would attend his “little party” that night. He had seen me several times, and had intended to call on me long before, but a peculiar combination of circumstances had prevented it — signed Jay Gatsby, in a majestic hand.

It is unusual that Nick receives an invitation. It is also unusual that Gatsby seems personally interested in meeting and getting to know Nick.

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The Great Gatsby

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