What's the value of characters in chapter 3's party of The Great Gatsby?

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mrsenglish eNotes educator| Certified Educator

   This is the first party we witness at the Gatsby mansion.  The narrator, Nick, is invited because he is Gatsby's neighbor.  The only person with whom he is really familiar is Jordan Baker, so he attaches himself to her.  Although Jordan introduces Nick to other people and spends time with him at the party, she responds "absently" and holds his hand "impersonally." Jordan seems as though she is not living entirely in the moment.  There is a certain distance about her to which Nick is not accustomed.  She is not overly warm or genuine.

     Nick meets several women and all the men seem to be introduced as "Mr. Mumble."  This displays their value.  They are insignificant.  Their names do not matter.  The chatter is mindless; however, when Nick begins to drink, he feels differently.  He is also not accustomed to drinking.  When he does this, he feels as though everything changes into "something significant, elemental, and profound."  It is only the influence of alcohol which makes him feel this way.

   "Owl Eyes" is also introduced in this chapter.  He is another character who has been under the influence of alcohol.  He is in the library and is amazed that Gatsby's books are real.  He had suspected that it was all for show.  He is one of the many characters who comes to Gatsby's home and feels comfortable roaming around although the real Gatsby is only a mystery to them.

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The Great Gatsby

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