The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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In what ways is Gatsby's behavior at his parties unlike the behavior of most of his guests?

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Though Gatsby hosts dozens of parties at his West Egg mansion, the astonishing fact is that many of his guests don't even know what he looks like. This is because Gatsby likes to keep out of the limelight and melt into the background while everyone else is having a great time. Whereas so many of his guests so desperately want to see and be seen, Gatsby is happy to remain an anonymous figure on the periphery of his own parties.

In fact, he's more like a recluse than a host. Far from being a party animal, Gatsby is almost a wallflower as he refrains from drinking, dancing, or mingling with his guests. Right throughout his parties, Gatsby remains aloof while the orgy of debauchery unfolds before his eyes.

Gatsby's behavior at his parties emphasizes his status as a man of mystery. As no one seems to know much about him, they make up all kinds of stories about him; some even say that he once killed a man, others, that he's a spy. Gatsby's physical separation from his guests is symbolic of his insecurity. Despite being fantastically wealthy, Gatsby is still an outsider; he feels that he doesn't truly belong in such a rarefied world of opulence and glamor. He's also worried that if he gives too much of himself away then people will find out the terrible truth about his sordid past.

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