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The Great Gatsby › Quotes

The Great Gatsby Quotes

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away.
And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.
I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.
And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
I wasn't actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.
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 eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as 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.
Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.
You see I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad things that happened to me.
There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.
Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.
Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.
Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!.
They’re a rotten crowd’, I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.
In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.
I couldn’t forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams -- not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.
It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard drinking people.
All I kept thinking about, over and over, was 'You can't live forever; you can't live forever.
So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.
I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others--young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.
His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.
He looked at her the way all women want to be looked at by a man.
Every one 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.
If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him.
Ah," she cried, "you look so cool." Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table. You always look so cool," she repeated. She had told him that she loved him, and Tom Buchanan saw.
There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind….
...and for a moment I thought I loved her. But I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires.
I’ve been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library.
Do you ever wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it!.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther ... And one fine morning ---.
If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about...like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window.
Her voice is full of money,.
If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay," said Gatsby. "You always have a green light that burns at the end of your dock." Daisy put her arm through his abruptly but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to him, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted things had diminished by one.
She was feeling the pressure of the world outside and she wanted to see him and feel his presence beside her and be reassured that she was doing the right thing after all.
The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain.
It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again.
The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.
I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.
Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened - then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret, like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.
Once in a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time.
Thirty--the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning brief-case of enthusiasm, thinning hair.
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.
Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed down upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For awhile these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing.
I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him. [- Nick Carroway].
A stirring warmth flowed from her, as if her heart was trying to come out to you concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words.
He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.
For a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment.
All the bright precious things fade so fast, and they don't come back.
So I walked away and left him standing there in the moonlight - watching over nothing.
Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply.
Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.
The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun.
I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor.
They had never been closer in their month of love, nor communicated more profoundly one with another, than when she brushed silent lips against his coat's shoulder or when he touched the end of her fingers, gently, as though she were asleep.
People disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away.
It occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well.
I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone's away. There's something very sensuous about it - overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands.
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry.
Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!" He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.
It's a great advantage not to drink among hard-drinking people. You can hold your tongue, and, moreover, you can time any little irregularity of your own so that everybody else is so blind that they don't see or care.
Then came the war, old sport. It was a great relief, and I tried very hard to die, but I seemed to bear an enchanted life.
He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed starlight to casual moths - so that he could 'come over' some afternoon to a stranger's garden.
You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver, didn't I? I mean it was careless of me to makes such a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person I thought it was your secret pride." "I'm thirty," I said. "I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor." She didn't answer. Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away.