Chapter 3-5: The End of the Night
Aim: In this 30-minute lesson, you will go over the part 3-5 of the book. Go over comprehension questions after each paragraph, and practice using new expressions.
After saying hello, read the following part of the book out loud with the tutor.
The large room was full of people. One of the girls in yellow was playing the piano and beside her stood a tall, red haired young lady from a famous chorus, engaged in song. She had drunk a quantity of champagne and during the course of her song she had decided ineptly that everything was very very sad–she was not only singing, she was weeping too. Whenever there was a pause in the song she filled it with gasping broken sobs and then took up the lyric again in a quavering soprano. The tears coursed down her cheeks–not freely, however, for when they came into contact with her heavily beaded eyelashes they assumed an inky color, and pursued the rest of their way in slow black rivulets. A humorous suggestion was made that she sing the notes on her face whereupon she threw up her hands, sank into a chair and went off into a deep vinous sleep.
“She had a fight with a man who says he’s her husband,” explained a girl at my elbow.
I looked around. Most of the remaining women were now having fights with men said to be their husbands. Even Jordan’s party, the quartet from East Egg, were rent asunder by dissension. One of the men was talking with curious intensity to a young actress, and his wife after attempting to laugh at the situation in a dignified and indifferent way broke down entirely and resorted to flank attacks–at intervals she appeared suddenly at his side like an angry diamond, and hissed “You promised!” into his ear.
Compare the end of the night to the beginning of the party.
The reluctance to go home was not confined to wayward men. The hall was at present occupied by two deplorably sober men and their highly indignant wives. The wives were sympathizing with each other in slightly raised voices.
“Whenever he sees I’m having a good time he wants to go home.”
“Never heard anything so selfish in my life.”
“We’re always the first ones to leave.”
“So are we.”
“Well, we’re almost the last tonight,” said one of the men sheepishly.
“The orchestra left half an hour ago.”
In spite of the wives’ agreement that such malevolence was beyond credibility, the dispute ended in a short struggle, and both wives were lifted kicking into the night.
Why are people reluctant to leave the party and return home?
As I waited for my hat in the hall the door of the library opened and Jordan Baker and Gatsby came out together. He was saying some last word to her but the eagerness in his manner tightened abruptly into formality as several people approached him to say goodbye.
Jordan’s party were calling impatiently to her from the porch but she lingered for a moment to shake hands.
“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. . . .” She was hurrying off as she talked–her brown hand waved a jaunty salute as she melted into her party at the door.
Rather ashamed that on my first appearance I had stayed so late, I joined the last of Gatsby’s guests who were clustered around him. I wanted to explain that I’d hunted for him early in the evening and to apologize for not having known him in the garden.
“Don’t mention it,” he enjoined me eagerly. “Don’t give it another thought, old sport.” The familiar expression held no more familiarity than the hand which reassuringly brushed my shoulder. “And don’t forget we’re going up in the hydroplane tomorrow morning at nine o’clock.”
What do you think Jordan and Gatsby talked about?
Then the butler, behind his shoulder:
“All right, in a minute. Tell them I’ll be right there. . . . good night.”
“Good night.” He smiled–and suddenly there seemed to be a pleasant significance in having been among the last to go, as if he had desired it all the time. “Good night, old sport. . . . Good night.”
But as I walked down the steps I saw that the evening was not quite over. Fifty feet from the door a dozen headlights illuminated a bizarre and tumultuous scene. In the ditch beside the road, right side up but violently shorn of one wheel, rested a new coup which had left Gatsby’s drive not two minutes before. The sharp jut of a wall accounted for the detachment of the wheel which was now getting considerable attention from half a dozen curious chauffeurs. 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.
- Describe the end of the night in comparison to its beginning. Despite violence, adultery, and broken promises, why do you think people want to stay at the party longer?
- How does Nick feel about the two-folded nature of lavish, flamboyant lifestyle in 1920’s? What do you think? Do you find similar contradictions in today/s society? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!
Do you understand the following words and expressions? Practice using the new words or expressions with the Cambly tutor.