Jordan Baker - "I Like Large Parties..."

Jordan Baker Quotation

A poster from Etsy.com displaying Jordan Baker's quote. As in The Great Gatsby itself, this quotation has become so deeply engrained in our popular culture that it now serves not only literary purposes but decorative purposes.

With this infamous quote from The Great Gatsby, Jordan Baker is making a very astute observation about anonymity. In modernism, placing oneself in a large crowd provides an opportunity like no other. When surrounded by such a multitude of people, one gets the opportunity to become anonymous, if only for a moment. This feeling is seemingly yearned for because of the freedom it provides: the freedom to find the truth in a situation. When in large groups, one does not have to be physically and/or emotionally present for others, you can just be. The aspect of anonymity touched on here is the idea of being unnoticed. In this moment, Nick and Jordan exist, are named, and are known by each other. But the surrounding crowd is oblivious to their existence. This opens the door to simply observe and take in everything around them, for no one is looking to them for anything. As a result, this sense of anonymity gives them the space to come to a full, and perhaps critical, understanding of the world around them.

gatsby party 1

A scene from Baz Lurhmann's 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

It is interesting, because it is in this moment that Nick is trying to piece together information about Gatsby. This moment in a large party becomes a sort of opportunity for Nick. With the “intimacy” that Jordan describes, Nick now has the occasion to learn the truth about Gatsby, who is still an incredibly elusive figure. It is in this anonymous state that Nick is free to push Jordan for the truth, rather than rely on the numerous rumors about Gatsby. Moreover, this statement by Jordan also begins to question Gatsby's understanding of anonymity. In giving these large parties, Gatsby himself is providing this opportunity for "intimacy". Perhaps Gatsby is not simply focused on throwing parties, but wants those who come to the parties to leave with a greater understanding of the world around him. In a way, Jordan is figuring in Gatsby's parties as a way to critique the decadent world of 1922.

When looking at how Jordan couples large parties with privacy, we see how anonymity within a group can be craved by all, not simply those existing in the world of The Great Gatsby. The opportunity for privacy is significant, for it allows you to look objectively at someone or something without fear of being judged. Moreover, privacy allows for true connections and trust, something especially lacking in the changing modernist world.

Jordan Baker - "I Like Large Parties..."