In The Great Gatsby, what sorts of people attend Gatsby's parties? What do you  notice about their names?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nick's list of Gatsby's party guests appears in Chapter IV. Through this catalog, Fitzgerald develops an interesting and insightful social profile of East Egg and West Egg. The guests from East Egg have conservative, traditional Anglo-Saxon names that suggest these are people who have lived in the country for many generations; their money is "old." The East Egg list includes such names as the Chester Beckers, Doctor Webster Civet, Edgar Beaver, and a "whole clan named Blackbuck." Also in attendance from East Egg were the Stonewall Jackson Abrams of Georgia, as well someone named Bunsen who went to Yale with Nick. 

The catalog of names of the West Eggers is distinctively different. These names are ethnic, suggesting a more recent immigrant arrival in the country; these guests are also wealthy, but their money is "new." From West Egg came the Mulreadys, Cecil Schoen, Clyde Cohen, Don S. Schwartze, Arthur McCarty, Horace O'Donavan, C. Earl Muldoon, Da Fontano, and James B. ("Rot-gut") Ferret. The names go on. Also, many of those from West Egg are bootleggers, movie producers, and show people whose money is very new indeed.

luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the noted party guests who is also a house guest of Gatsby's is Klipspringer.  Take apart his name and you have "klip" meaning something that attaches like a paperclip, and "springer" meaning something that leaps, or springs.  Klipspringer, referred to as "the boarder", we find out, goes from one rich host to another, like a parasite, taking whatever hospitality he can before moving on.  He hangs on, then leaps to the next person when he can no longer hang on.  The implication is that when Klipspringer gets in the way or no longer sees his host as helpful to his cause of free-loading, he moves on to another household. In chapter 4, we learn the names of some of Gatsby's other party guests, among them are the Leeches - a name that doesn't need much explanation because so many of the people have already been shown to be leeches in that they take what they can from Gatsby and give nothing in return, like a leech sucks blood from its host.

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The Great Gatsby

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