One of the most memorable aspects of The Great Gatsby is description of parties. These are mainly about how Gatsby throws wild parties at his mansion on Saturday nights, but there are also a few other parties involved in this novel.
The Top 20 Best Quotes about Parties in The Great Gatsby
We don’t hear anything about the parties that Gatsby throws until Chapter 3. Nick’s descriptions of the preparation, the guests, and what he sees is quite astounding and one of the main reasons Gatsby’s name is so well known in New York City.
1. Preparations for Gatsby’s Parties (Chapter 3)
Chapter 3 starts off with Nick’s descriptions of what he can see from his house and the preparations required during the week for the party planned for the following weekend.
There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens, men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.
At high tide in the afternoon, I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam.
On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city, between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains.
And on Mondays eight servants including an extra gardener toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before.
Gatsby even has his own Uber service it appears, so guests won’t be inconvenienced with taxis! Now that is a host extraordinaire!
- Related Topic: Gatsby Chapter 1 Quotes
2. Nick Gets Invited to Gatsby’s Parties
Nick receives an actual paper invitation to attend Gatsby’s party, and he appears to be the only guest to have one.
I had been actually invited. A chauffeur in a uniform of robin’s egg blue crossed my lawn early that Saturday morning with a surprisingly formal note from his employer—the honor would be entirely Gatsby’s, it said, if I would attend his “little party” that night. He had seen me several times and had intended to call on me long before, but a peculiar combination of circumstances had prevented it—signed Jay Gatsby in a majestic hand.
At the party, Nick is happy when he sees someone he knows- Jordan Baker.
3. How a Gatsby Party Typically Begins
The party starts in earnest when a female downs a drink and starts dancing.
Suddenly one of these gypsies in trembling opal, seizes a cocktail out of the air, dumps it down for courage and moving her hands like Frisco dances out alone on the canvas platform.
A momentary hush; the orchestra leader varies his rhythm obligingly for her, and there is a burst of chatter as the erroneous news goes around that she is Gilda Gray’s understudy from the “Follies.” The party has begun.
4. Jordan Baker’s Quote about Large Parties
One of Jordan Baker’s most famous quotes is from Chapter 3. While attending Gatsby’s party, she and Nick are looking for their host. They meet Owl Eyes in the library who tells the couple that he’s not sure who Gatsby really is.
Jordan Baker replies:
“Anyhow he gives large parties,” said Jordan, changing the subject with an urbane distaste for the concrete. “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
It’s interesting that for a woman who was a bit famous for being a golf pro, Jordan wants to remain anonymous at these parties.
Perhaps Jordan simply doesn’t want her behavior at parties repeated in gossip.
- Related Topic: The Great Gatsby Chapter 3 Quotes
5. How a Gatsby Party Typically Ends
While there were still several hundred guests leaving Gatsby’s house at 3AM, Nick notices that Gatsby himself doesn’t seem to be very involved in his own party.
Below he describes how the parties end and how Gatsby sees his guests off as they leave his mansion:
“The caterwauling horns had reached a crescendo and I turned away and cut across the lawn toward home. I glanced back once.
A wafer of a moon was shining over Gatsby’s house, making the night fine as before and surviving the laughter and the sound of his still glowing garden.
A sudden emptiness seemed to flow now from the windows and the great doors, endowing with complete isolation the figure of the host who stood on the porch, his hand up in a formal gesture of farewell.”
6. Gatsby’s Parties Are Casual Events for Nick
Nick, wanting to be sure that the reader did not think that all he did was attend parties, talked about how trivial the parties were to him.
Reading over what I have written so far, I see I have given the impression that the events of three nights several weeks apart were all that absorbed me.
On the contrary they were merely casual events in a crowded summer and, until much later, they absorbed me infinitely less than my personal affairs.
Interesting quote from a man who attended more than one of Gatsby’s wild parties.
7. People Attending Gatsby’s Parties (Chapter 4)
Nick goes on in the next chapter to tell us the names of prominent people he recognized at Gatsby’s parties.
While these names are lost on readers today, F. Scott Fitzgerald knew these people and perhaps even attended a few parties with them as well!
From East Egg, then, came the 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. And 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.
And 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.
Clarence Endive was from East Egg, as I remember. He came only once, in white knickerbockers, and had a fight with a bum named Etty in the garden.
From farther out on the Island came the Cheadles and the O. R. P. Schraeders and the Stonewall Jackson Abrams of Georgia and 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.
- Related Topic: The Great Gatsby Chapter 4 Quotes
8. Why Does Gatsby Throw Lavish Parties?
Nick meets Jordan for lunch, and she tells him all about how Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan met. She continues on past lunch, and the couple ride in a car as she relays the tale of Gatsby and Daisy’s past.
Finally, Jordan explains why Gatsby, who didn’t seem to care for his own parties, threw such lavish ones:
“I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties, some night,” went on Jordan, “but she never did. Then he began asking people casually if they knew her, and I was the first one he found.
It was that night he sent for me at his dance, and you should have heard the elaborate way he worked up to it. Of course, I immediately suggested a luncheon in New York—and I thought he’d go mad.”
Let’s not forget that there was one other party that Nick attended before he met Gatsby.
9. Other Parties in The Great Gatsby (Chapter 2)
In Chapter 2, Nick meets Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan’s mistress. Tom keeps an apartment in New York where they can have their trysts.
Myrtle’s sister, Catherine, also lives in New York and makes for a great alibi for Myrtle. Nick, Tom, Myrtle, Catherine, and a couple from downstairs, the McKees, all join in for an unplanned party.
Mrs. Wilson had changed her costume some time before and was now attired in an elaborate afternoon dress of cream colored chiffon, which gave out a continual rustle as she swept about the room.
With the influence of the dress, her personality had also undergone a change. The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted into impressive hauteur.
Her laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment, and as she expanded the room grew smaller around her until she seemed to be revolving on a noisy, creaking pivot through the smoky air.
Myrtle throws a party as if she was a rich woman. The sad truth is she isn’t rich, and she only has access to whatever Tom gives her.
- Related Topic: The Great Gatsby Chapter 2 Quotes
10. Myrtle’s Sister Catherine Talks about Gatsby
Even Catherine has attended at least one of Gatsby’s parties. She sits beside Nick on the couch and tells him about the host of the party she attended:
“I was down there at a party about a month ago. At a man named Gatsby’s. Do you know him?”
“Well, they say he’s a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm’s. That’s where all his money comes from.”
“I’m scared of him. I’d hate to have him get anything on me.”
11. What Happens at Tom and Myrtle’s Party
Nick notes that a second bottle of whiskey is produced, and he gets roaring drunk.
The bottle of whiskey—a second one—was now in constant demand by all present, excepting Catherine who “felt just as good on nothing at all.”
Tom rang for the janitor and sent him for some celebrated sandwiches, which were a complete supper in themselves.
I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the park through the soft twilight, but each time I tried to go, I became entangled in some wild strident argument which pulled me back, as if with ropes, into my chair.
Yet high over the city, our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering.
I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.
Nick doesn’t seem to have a problem with his college buddy Tom cheating on his wife and throwing parties in apartments Daisy knows nothing about.
12. More Quotes about Parties (Chapter 5)
Nick comes home one night and believes that Gatsby must be throwing another party, but this isn’t the case. Gatsby is nervous about what Nick will say regarding Daisy.
When I came home to West Egg that night, I was afraid for a moment that my house was on fire. Two o’clock and the whole corner of the peninsula was blazing with light which fell unreal on the shrubbery and made thin elongating glints upon the roadside wires. Turning a corner I saw that it was Gatsby’s house, lit from tower to cellar.
At first I thought it was another party, a wild rout that had resolved itself into “hide-and-go-seek” or “sardines-in-the-box” with all the house thrown open to the game. But there wasn’t a sound. Only wind in the trees which blew the wires and made the lights go off and on again as if the house had winked into the darkness.
As my taxi groaned away, I saw Gatsby walking toward me across his lawn.
Gatsby and Daisy finally meet again after 5 long years. Although there was no one else at Gatsby’s mansion other than Nick, Jay, Daisy, and the border Klipspringer, Jay manages to make a little party out of the entire event.
- Related Topic: The Great Gatsby Chapter 5 Quotes
13. Gatsby Is Overwhelmed in a Private Party with Daisy and Nick
Nick, Daisy, and Gatsby party quietly in the music room, while Ewing Klipspringer plays the piano in the background.
Before Nick leaves for his cottage, he takes note of Gatsby’s happiness:
As I went over to say good-by I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness.
Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything.
He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.
However, things are about to take a huge turn in Gatsby’s life, including his infamous parties.
14. What Makes Gatsby’s Party in Chapter 6 Unpleasant?
Tom doesn’t want Daisy attending any parties without him, so he escorts her to one of Gatsby’s wild parties. Nick finds this particular event unpleasant and different from Gatsby’s other parties, and he blames Tom’s presence for that.
Here’s how Nick describes the party:
Tom was evidently perturbed at Daisy’s running around alone, for on the following Saturday night he came with her to Gatsby’s party. Perhaps his presence gave the evening its peculiar quality of oppressiveness—it stands out in my memory from Gatsby’s other parties that summer.
There were the same people, or at least the same sort of people, the same profusion of champagne, the same many-colored, many-keyed commotion, but I felt an unpleasantness in the air, a pervading harshness that hadn’t been there before.
Or perhaps I had merely grown used to it, grown to accept West Egg as a world complete in itself, with its own standards and its own great figures, second to nothing because it had no consciousness of being so, and now I was looking at it again, through Daisy’s eyes.
It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment.
- Related Topic: The Great Gatsby Chapter 6 Quotes
15. How Gatsby Introduces Tom to His Guests
Gatsby tries to impress Daisy with the celebrities who show up at his parties by naming names.
Perhaps you know that lady.” Gatsby indicated a gorgeous, scarcely human orchid of a woman who sat in state under a white plum tree. Tom and Daisy stared, with that peculiarly unreal feeling that accompanies the recognition of a hitherto ghostly celebrity of the movies.
He took them ceremoniously from group to group:
“Mrs. Buchanan… and Mr. Buchanan—” After an instant’s hesitation he added: “the polo player.”
Tom objected to the way Gatsby introduced him, but his protests fell on deaf ears. You could say that Gatsby took pleasure in annoying Tom by introducing him that way to all his guests.
16. Daisy and Gatsby Dancing at Gatsby’s Party
At Gatsby’s party, Daisy and Jay Gatsby are able to dance in public. With her husband in tow, she is free from gossip.
Daisy and Gatsby danced. I remember being surprised by his graceful, conservative fox-trot—I had never seen him dance before.
Then they sauntered over to my house and sat on the steps for half an hour, while at her request I remained watchfully in the garden. “In case there’s a fire or a flood,” she explained, “or any act of God.”
18. Does Daisy Like Gatsby’s Parties?
No, Daisy doesn’t like Gatsby’s parties, and both Nick and Gatsby think so.
I knew that except for the half hour she’d been alone with Gatsby she wasn’t having a good time.
Gatsby also notices it:
“She didn’t like it,” he insisted. “She didn’t have a good time.”
He was silent and I guessed at his unutterable depression.
“I feel far away from her,” he said. “It’s hard to make her understand.”
Poor Gatsby! He’s the one who doesn’t seem to understand that Daisy comes from the old-money class, with different standards for affluence. Besides, the girl he fell in love with five years ago is now a married woman and a mother!
18. Why Do Gatsby’s Parties Suddenly Stop (Chapter 7)
As suddenly as Gatsby had appeared in West Egg and began throwing parties, he stopped.
It was when curiosity about Gatsby was at its highest that the lights in his house failed to go on one Saturday night—and, as obscurely as it had begun, his career as Trimalchio was over.
Only gradually did I become aware that the automobiles which turned expectantly into his drive stayed for just a minute and then drove sulkily away. Wondering if he were sick, I went over to find out—an unfamiliar butler with a villainous face squinted at me suspiciously from the door.
Gatsby wanted to keep Daisy clear of any gossip. Since Gatsby had thrown these parties to lure Daisy to his mansion, now that he had her, there was no need for any party.
- Related Topic: The Great Gatsby Chapter 7 Quotes
19. Daisy, Tom, Gatsby, Nick and Jordan Party at a Hotel
It’s the hottest day of the year, but it looks as though Daisy is ready to party and invites Nick and Gatsby for lunch at her house.
It was a very hot day, so Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Nick, and Jordan decide to go to town and “party” at a hotel.
Here’s how Nick describes this afternoon as being oppressively hot, both referring to the weather and the row that’s about to explode between Gatsby and Tom.
And we all took the less explicable step of engaging the parlor of a suite in the Plaza Hotel. The prolonged and tumultuous argument that ended by herding us into that room eludes me, though I have a sharp physical memory that, in the course of it, my underwear kept climbing like a damp snake around my legs and intermittent beads of sweat raced cool across my back.
Tom brings a bottle of whiskey, but after his showdown with Gatsby, no one seems interested in a party or in the whiskey.
- Related Topic: The Great Gatsby Chapter 8 Quotes
20. Quotes about Nick’s Birthday Party
After a moment Tom got up and began wrapping the unopened bottle of whiskey in the towel. He asked Jordan and Nick if they wanted a drink. Nick answered absentmindedly:
“No… I just remembered that today’s my birthday.”
I was thirty. Before me stretched the portentous, menacing road of a new decade.
There will be no birthday party for Nick. In fact, his birthday will be forever marked as the day that Myrtle Wilson is hit and killed by Gatsby’s car.
- Related Topic: The Great Gatsby Chapter 9 Quotes
Final Summary Gatsby Party Quotes
Jay Gatsby initially throws parties that he assumes Daisy will at least hear about in hopes that she would come and check them out.
While it doesn’t really happen that way, it was a good plan.
Gatsby is generous and allows anyone who wants to attend to come and stay as long as they like, even if it’s long past midnight.
Tom Buchanan, on the other hand, doesn’t throw parties and only seems to be generous to his mistress.
This is an interesting comparison of two wealthy men and how they view life. Gatsby is willing to share with anyone, while Tom comes across as a skinflint.
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.