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The Great Gatsby Quotes

39 of the best book quotes from The Great Gatsby
  1. #1
    “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and . . . then retreated back into their money . . . and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
  2. #2
    “Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window.”
  3. #3
    “I’ve been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library.”
  4. #4
    “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!”
  5. #5
    “Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.”
  6. #6
    “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
  7. #7
    “There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.”
  8. #8
    “You see I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad things that happened to me.”
  9. #9
    “Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”
  10. #10
    “I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.”
  11. #11
    “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
  12. #12
    “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.”
  13. #13
    “Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away.”
  14. #14
    “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 then one fine morning—So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
  15. #15
    “He had 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 external 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.”
  16. #16
    “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.’”
  17. #17
    “The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain.”
  18. #18
    “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.”
  19. #19
    “It takes two to make an accident.”
  20. #20
    “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
  21. #21
    “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.”
  22. #22
    “So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.”
  23. #23
    “All I kept thinking about, over and over, was ‘You can’t live forever; you can’t live forever.”
  24. #24
    “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.”
  25. #25
    “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.”
  26. #26
    “Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!”
  27. #27
    “...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”
  28. #28
    “There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind…”
  29. #29
    “If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him.”
  30. #30
    “I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.”
  31. #31
    “I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
  32. #32
    “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.”
  33. #33
    “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
  34. #34
    “That’s my Middle West . . . the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark. . . . I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.”
  35. #35
    “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
  36. #36
    “The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.”
  37. #37
    “‘You make me feel uncivilized, Daisy,’ I confessed on my second glass of corky but rather impressive claret. ‘Can’t you talk about crops or something?’”
  38. #38
    “You see I think everything’s terrible anyhow, she went on . . . Everybody thinks so—the most advanced people. And I know. I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything . . . Sophisticated—God, I’m sophisticated!”
  39. #39
    “He looked at her the way all women want to be looked at by a man.”
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