The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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What do the Parties in The Great Gatsby symbolize?

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Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Gatsby's parties are full of exciting hijinks and predictable banality, intense conflict and superficial resolution, and beautiful men and women in beautiful clothes against a backdrop of grotesque wealth and excess. The symbolism in these juxtapositions represents the tension between imaginative escapist fantasy and the sad realities of normal life.

Nick 's experiences at these parties are complicated, and his experiences must be analyzed, as it is through his eyes that the reader experiences the parties. He observes the attractiveness of the experience with some detachment, as if he recognizes that he has fallen into the trap despite knowing it was set in the first place. Gatsby's parties are a performance, but they are a compelling performance, and one that feels magical to those able to participate in the show. No one can be blamed for wanting to be a part of something magical, but there is a slightly pathetic element to the whole situation. The parties symbolize this tension,...

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