"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chapter 2–3

April 10, 2013
Nick Carraway rents a summer house in Long Island where he befriends his mysterious neighbor Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who hides behind an extravagant and decadent lifestyle.

Here are links to all our word lists for the novel: Chapter 1, Chapters 2–3, Chapters 4–5, Chapters 6–7, Chapters 8–9
Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness or forgot them and moved away.
A reluctant elevator boy went for a box full of straw and some milk to which he added on his own initiative a tin of large hard dog biscuits—one of which decomposed apathetically in the saucer of milk all afternoon.
When I came back they had disappeared so I sat down discreetly in the living room and read a chapter of "Simon Called Peter"—either it was terrible stuff or the whiskey distorted things because it didn't make any sense to me.
Her eyebrows had been plucked and then drawn on again at a more
rakish angle but the efforts of nature toward the restoration of the
old alignment gave a blurred air to her face.
Although immoderately is used here to describe how Catherine laughs in response to Nick's question, it can describe how most of the guests conduct themselves at this party.
But when I asked her she laughed immoderately, repeated my question aloud and told me she lived with a girl friend at a hotel.
His wife was shrill, languid, handsome and horrible.
The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted into impressive hauteur.
"My dear," she told her sister in a high mincing shout, "most of these fellas will cheat you every time.
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.
Some time toward midnight Tom Buchanan and Mrs. Wilson stood face to face discussing in impassioned voices whether Mrs. Wilson had any right to mention Daisy's name.
Making a short deft movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.
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.
The last swimmers have come in from the beach now and are dressing upstairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep in the drive, and already the halls and salons and verandas are gaudy with primary colors and hair shorn in strange new ways and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile.
The bar is in full swing and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside until the air is alive with chatter and laughter and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names.
The bar is in full swing and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the
garden outside until the air is alive with chatter and laughter and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names.
The word prodigality typically relates to spending money, but here Fitzgerald uses it refer to the guests's extravagant laughter.
Laughter is easier, minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word.
Dressed up in white flannels I went over to his lawn a little after seven and wandered around rather ill-at-ease among swirls and eddies of people I didn't know—though here and there was a face I had noticed on the commuting train.
As soon as I arrived I made an attempt to find my host but the two or three people of whom I asked his whereabouts stared at me in such an amazed way and denied so vehemently any knowledge of his movements that I slunk off in the direction of the cocktail table—the only place in the garden where a single man could linger without looking purposeless and alone.
Welcome or not, I found it necessary to attach myself to someone before I should begin to address cordial remarks to the passers-by.
Instead of rambling this party had preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the countryside—East Egg condescending to West Egg, and carefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety.
There was dancing now on the canvas in the garden, old men pushing young girls backward in eternal graceless circles, superior couples holding each other tortuously, fashionably and keeping in the corners—and a great number of single girls dancing individualistically or relieving the orchestra for a moment of the burden of the banjo or the traps.
A celebrated tenor had sung in Italian and a notorious contralto had sung in jazz and between the numbers people were doing "stunts" all over the garden, while happy vacuous bursts of laughter rose toward the summer sky.
Evidently he lived in this vicinity for he told me that he had just bought a hydroplane and was going to try it out in the morning.
I had expected that Mr. Gatsby would be a florid and corpulent person in his middle years.
"Anyhow he gives large parties," said Jordan, changing the subject with an urbane distaste for the concrete.
There was the boom of a bass drum, and the voice of the orchestra leader
rang out suddenly above the echolalia of the garden.
When the "Jazz History of the World" was over girls were putting their heads on men's shoulders in a puppyish, convivial way, girls were swooning backward playfully into men's arms, even into groups knowing that some one would arrest their falls—but no one swooned backward on Gatsby and no French bob touched Gatsby's shoulder and no singing quartets were formed with Gatsby's head for one link.
I noticed that she wore her evening dress, all her dresses, like sports clothes—there was a jauntiness about her movements as if she had first learned to walk upon golf courses on clean, crisp mornings.
Even Jordan's party, the quartet from East Egg, were rent asunder by dissension.
Even Jordan's party, the quartet from East Egg, were rent asunder by dissension.
The hall was at present occupied by two deplorably sober men and their highly indignant wives.
"Don't mention it," he enjoined me eagerly.
Fifty feet from the door a dozen headlights illuminated a bizarre and tumultuous scene.
However, as they had left their cars blocking the road a harsh discordant din from those in the rear had been audible for some time and added to the already violent confusion of the scene.
The caterwauling horns had reached a crescendo and I turned away and cut across the lawn toward home.

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