Today in class there was some discussion about the detail with which Fitzgerald reports on the guests at Gatsby's parties. A taste:
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
This sort of exposition conveys the
zeitgeist and culture that permeates a particular community and set of social
rituals. The names that Fitzgerald chose (and the descriptions & back stories) create
a sense of reality while simultaneously commenting on it.
is a contemporary twist: