In The Great Gatsby, Chapter 3 is an important one since this is where the narrator, Nick Carraway, will finally meet his mysterious West Egg neighbor, Jay Gatsby.
Nick attends his first party at Gatsby’s house after receiving an official invitation.
In The Great Gatsby Chapter 3 quotes that we’ve compiled here, you’ll hear Gatsby for the first time in the whole novel.
Let’s look at the best quotes from every single character mentioned in Chapter 3 of the Great Gatsby.
Nick Carraway’s Best Quotes From Chapter 3
Nick starts off Chapter 3 by telling the reader that in the blue gardens, men and women come and go, with all the traffic he sees coming and going at Gatsby’s house next door.
He talks about the corps of caterers, the lights set up in the tree tops, and the orchestra playing yellow cocktail music, which is a full and complete orchestra, not merely a few horns and strings.
Nick Tells us that he actually received an invitation, delivered by a chauffeur in uniform. Impressed, Nick decides that he must attend.
Uncovering the True Identity of Nick Carraway
How Do Nick and Gatsby Meet for the First Time
While looking for his host, Nick notices Daisy’s friend Jordan Baker ( read more Jordan Quotes here ) is also there. Nick and Jordan shares a table with a man and a girl, and during a lull in the entertainment, the man asks Nick:
“Your face is familiar”, he said politely, “Weren’t you in the Third Division during the war?”
“Why yes, I was in the Ninth Machine-gun Battalion.”
“I was in the Seventh Infantry until June nineteen-eighteen. I knew I’d seen you somewhere before.”
Nick is enjoying making small talk with someone he doesn’t know, not realizing that he is actually speaking to Gatsby.
The man then mentions the hydroplane he had just bought and that he wants to try it out in the morning. He went on to invite Nick to go with him near the shore in the morning.
Nick mentions that he hasn’t even met the host, at which point Gatsby introduces himself.
- Related Topic: Best Great Gatsby Party Quotes
What Does Nick Think of Gatsby After Meeting Him for the First Time?
Nick is shocked by how young Gatsby is. Here’s how Nick describes his thoughts about Gatsby:
“He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life.
It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
Precisely at that point it vanished—and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care.”
Nick’s Quote Describing Jordan Baker
Nick also makes a casual observation about Jordan Baker.
“She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage and, given this unwillingness, I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard, jaunty body.
It made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply — I was casually sorry, and then I forgot.”
Perhaps Nick’s attraction for Jordan gets in the way of his sense of judgment about people.
Later, Nick goes with Jordan for a drive. Discovering that Jordan is a terrible driver, he tells her:
“You’re a rotten driver,” I protested. “Either you ought to be more careful, or you oughtn’t to drive at all.”
Jordan insists that it takes two to make an accident.
Nick’s Quote about Loneliness in New York
In Chapter 3, Nick talks about New York at night. He likes the racy and adventurous feel that he gets walking on Fifth Avenue, and he finds great enjoyment imagining relationships with the romantic women that he sees from the crowd without them knowing it.
Yet, he also feels the loneliness of the people toiling till late in the day, and quotes:
At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others — poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner — young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.
What Is Nick’s Famous Quote about Honest People?
Near the end of Chapter 3, Nick makes one of his most famous statements:
“Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.”
While this isn’t entirely true, Nick is one of the only characters in this novel who doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t.
Jay Gatsby’s Best Quotes from Chapter 3
Gatsby has a reason behind everything he does, including his invitation to Nick.
Gatsby desperately wants to make friends with Nick. After they meet, Gatsby tells Nick that he just bought a hydroplane.
“Want to go with me, old sport? Just near the shore along the Sound”
“Anytime that suits you best.”
You can see how badly Gatsby wants to become Nick’s friend so that he can ask him a favor.
Jay Gatsby of The Great Gatsby: A Composite Character Blending Reality and Imagination.
Not long after they talk about the hydroplane, Gatsby is called away for business.
“If you want anything, just ask for it, old sport,” he urged me. “Excuse me, I will rejoin you later.”
Near the end of the party, Nick finds Gatsby to apologize for not recognizing him earlier, but Gatsby reassured him, saying:
“Don’t mention it.”
Don’t give it another thought, old sport.”
“And don’t forget we’re going up in the hydroplane tomorrow at 9 o’clock.”
Nick may not have seen the ploy, but Gatsby was playing his hand quite carefully.
Best Quotes from Jordan Baker from Chapter 3
Jordan Baker, the aloof and somewhat cold gossiper, loves parties and appears to be on the lookout for a husband so she can quit losing at golf.
After Nick finds Jordan at Gatsby’s party, the pair listen to some gossip about Gatsby from other guests. After half an hour, Jordan whispers to Nick:
“Let’s get out, this is much too polite for me.”
The pair decides to look for their host, the mysterious Mr. Gatsby. After they find him and Gatsby must excuse himself to take a phone call, Nick turns to Jordan, demanding to know who Gatsby is, where he’s from and what he does.
Here are Jordan’s answers:
“He’s just a man named Gatsby.”
“Now YOU’RE started on the subject,” she answered with a wan smile.
“Well, he told me once he was an Oxford man. However, I don’t believe it.”
When asked why, she insists that she just thinks Gatsby didn’t go to Oxford. Whether Jordan knows that Gatsby only attended Oxford for a few months or she is simply guessing is only for the author to know.
However, Jordan does make her penchant for large parties quite clear.
“Anyhow, he gives large parties,” said Jordan, changing the subject with an urban distaste for the concrete. “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties, there isn’t any privacy.”
Gatsby asks to speak with Jordan privately. When she returns, she is heading out the door but has one last thing to say to Nick:
“I’ve just heard the most amazing thing,” she whispered. “How long were we in there?” “Why, about an hour.” “It was simply amazing,” she repeated abstractedly.
“But I swore I wouldn’t tell it and here I am tantalizing you.” She yawned gracefully in my face.
“Please come and see me… phone book… under the name of Mrs. Sigourney Howard… my aunt…”
Then she was off and out of the door.
It turns out that Gatsby told Jordan about his past with Daisy, and Jordan simply can’t resist teasing Nick with her newly acquired information.
Jordan Baker: The Complicated Companion of The Great Gatsby
Best Quotes from Owl Eyes from Chapter 3
Owl Eyes, who is never named in the novel, plays a small but important part in the novel.
We meet this character in Chapter 3. He is described as a stout, middle-aged man with enormous owl-eyed spectacles, hence his nickname.
Jordan and Nick find him in the library while looking for Mr. Gatsby. Owl Eyes is quite drunk, but he speaks in utter disbelief to Jordan and Nick about the books in Gatsby’s library.
“About that. As a matter of fact, you needn’t bother to ascertain. I ascertained. They’re real.”
“Absolutely real. Have pages and everything. I thought they’d be a nice durable cardboard. Matter of fact, they’re absolutely real. Pages and- Here! Lemme show you.”
He then rushes to the bookcases, returning with Volume One of the Stoddard Lectures, and cries triumphantly:
“It’s a bonafide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella’s a regular Belasco. It’s a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop, too – didn’t cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?”
Owl Eyes is truly impressed with the library, and he had a good right to be. During this era, many bootleggers owned mansions ( read more on famous bootleggers from the 1920s ) and had libraries in an attempt to show that they were educated, but the books were not real, merely cardboard book backs with titles and the “books” themselves were nothing but blank pages.
Gatsby, on the other hand, had very real books, making him a most impressive man in the mind of Owl Eyes.
At the end of the party, we hear from Owl Eyes one last time. As Nick is leaving, he comes across what appears to be a car crash. One car has lost a wheel and is now in a ditch. Owl Eyes comes out from the car and stares at it, explaining:
“It went in the ditch.”
When asked about what happened, his reply was almost comical except that no one was laughing:
“I know nothing whatsoever about mechanics.”
Pressed further whether he ran into the wall, he says:
“Don’t ask me.”
“I know very little about driving – next to nothing. It happened, and that’s all I know.”
It turns out that someone else was driving and poor Owl Eyes is getting the blame.
We won’t hear from Owl Eyes again until after Gatsby’s death.
Smaller characters, many without names, spread rumors at Gatsby’s parties, and F. Scott Fitzgerald goes into quite a bit of detail regarding not only the people at the party but the music and “enchanted metropolitan twilight.”
Chapter 3 has some of the most important quotes from The Great Gatsby, not to mention some of the most memorable. While Owl Eyes and Jordan Baker are described in quite negative terms (both are poor drivers it seems), Gatsby’s reputation is left in limbo. At this point, the reader knows nothing other than the rumors a few guests were spreading.
The truth will begin to unfold as the novel continues.
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.