“The smoking room crowd always started out with a small number, always the same people. The Whit Hofmans, the Julian Englishes, the Froggy Ogdens and so on. They were the spenders and drinkers and socially secure, who could thumb their noses and not have to answer to anyone except their own families. There were about twenty persons in this group, and your standing in the younger set of Gibbsville could be judged by the assurance with which you joined the nucleus of the smoking room crowd. By three o’clock everyone who wanted to had been in the smoking room; the figurative bars were let down at about one-thirty, which time coincided with the time at which the Hofmans and Englishes and so on had got drunk enough to welcome anyone, the less eligible the better.”

This quote illustrates the narrator’s meticulous description of class stratification in Gibbsville. The smoking room at the Lantenengo Country Club represents the crème de la crème of the local aristocracy. However, the narrator makes it clear that the lines dividing this elite group from the rest of the world are phony. Bored by their own culture of inbreeding, the members of the elite seek pleasure in the company of others who are considered less desirable.

“The Ammermanns had just that much money, and their position in Gibbsville was just that certain and insecure, that they had to give the best of everything.”

The narrator explains the system of hosting dinners at the Lantenengo Country Club. The dinner that...

(The entire section is 750 words.)