The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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What kinds of people came to Gatsby's parties?

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Derick Forte eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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At the beginning of chapter 4, Nick Carraway gives a list of the different types of people who attend Gatsby's parties.  First, from East Egg, the more sophisticated village: 

  1. "Chester Beckers and the Leeches, and a man named Bunsen, whom I knew at Yale, and Doctor Webster Civet, who was drowned last summer up in Maine"--these people seem to known doctors (a leech was another name for a doctor), but there is still something suspicious about a man "who was drowned" indicating that there may have been foul play.
  2. "the Hornbeams and the Willie Voltaires, and a whole clan named Blackbuck, who always gathered in a corner and flipped up their noses like goats at whosoever came near"--these are people who seem very stuck up because they have money alone and a name, but nothing that makes them stick out.
  3. "the Ismays and the Chrysties (or rather Hubert Auerbach and Mr. Chrystie’s wife), and Edgar Beaver, whose hair, they say, turned cotton-white one winter afternoon for no good reason at all"--And while these people have names, there is something immoral or strange about them.
  4. "the Fishguards and the Ripley Snells. Snell was there three days before he went to the penitentiary, so drunk out on the gravel drive that Mrs. Ulysses Swett’s automobile ran over his right hand. The Dancies came, too, and S. B. Whitebait, who was well over sixty, and Maurice A. Flink, and the Hammerheads, and Beluga the tobacco importer, and Beluga’s girls"--these people have "fishy" names

From West Egg, the less fashionable village, came these guests:

  1. "the Poles and the Mulreadys and Cecil Roebuck and Cecil Schoen and Gulick the state senator and Newton Orchid, who controlled Films Par Excellence, and Eckhaust and Clyde Cohen and Don S. Schwartze (the son) and Arthur McCarty, all connected with the movies in one way or another"--While these guests have money, they are also labeled by their ethnicity, with the implication that the movie moguls are Jewish.
  2. "the Catlips," "James B. (“Rot-Gut.”) Ferret," and "George Duckweed"--these names suggest that some of the guests were "animals"; either party animals or unsophisticated
  3. "S. W. Belcher and the Smirkes"--These seem to be names that suggest rude behavior
  4. "Benny McClenahan arrived always with four girls"--He seems to be a pimp with escorts.

All together, the characters at Gatsby's parties are just that, characters.  It does not matter whether they came from East or West Egg; all of the people who attended the parties were there for a good time and did not seem to mind that they mingled with less desirable characters.  

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