Important Quotations: Chapter 7 “’Her voice is full of money," he said suddenly. That was it. I'd never understood before. It was full of money – that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it… high in a white palace the king's daughter, the golden girl…” (120) The way that Gatsby and Nick describe Daisy’s voice helps to highlight the novel’s theme about class differences. Wealthy people and their money cannot be separated. It is so much a part of who they are that it is almost literally a part of them. Gatsby is unlike the other characters because his money has not always been a part of who he is.
Important Quotations: Chapter 7 "Oh, you want too much!" she cried to Gatsby. "I love you now – isn't that enough? I can't help what's past." She began to sob helplessly. "I did love him once – but I loved you too.“ (132) Daisy’s admission of her feelings for Tom proves what everyone but Gatsby knows to be true: You can’t repeat the past.
Important Quotations: Chapter 8 “’Well, there I was, ‘way off my ambitions, getting deeper in love every minute, and all of a sudden I didn’t care. What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?’” (150) When Gatsby tells Nick how he fell in love with Daisy, he is inadvertently telling him (and the reader) how she changed his dream.
Important Quotations: Chapter 8 "They're a rotten crowd," I shouted across the lawn. "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together.“ (154) Nick’s compliment to Gatsby is Chapter 8 is important because it once again separates Gatsby from the rest of the characters in the novel. The play on the word “worth” is important. Tom and Daisy are worth a lot of money, but Gatsby’s worth is far greater than theirs.
Important Quotations: Chapter 8 “…I said ‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!’ Standing behind him, Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, which had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night.”(159-60) According to George Wilson, the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg are a symbol of God, as they see sin the way that God does. This quote is important because it shows how people place abstract ideas on actual things (symbolism). It is ironic, however, that the rims of the glasses on the billboard are yellow, a symbol of corruption in the novel. George is the only character who views the eyes as a sign of God’s presence, so the fact that they “witness” Myrtle’s death after he discovers evidence of her adultery helps to further support Nick’s idea about meaningless symbols at the end of Chapter 9.
Important Quotations: Chapter 9 “’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 make a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride.’” (177) Jordan’s comparison of Nick to a “bad driver” is significant because it highlights the importance of cars and driving in the novel. Throughout the novel, Jordan and driving are closely related. Even her name (Jordan Baker) comes from the names of two popular car brands in the 1920s – the Jordan Motor Car Company and the Baker Motor Vehicle.
Important Quotations: Chapter 9 “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and people 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…” (179) Nick’s description of Tom and Daisy at the end of the novel shows exactly how hollow the upper class is in the novel. This quote also shows that despite their unhappiness, they are very much alike, which relates to the novel’s theme regarding different social classes.
Important Quotations: Chapter 9 “Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes – a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; 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.” (180)
Here, Nick’s description of the Dutch sailors’ first view of America compares the American dream to Gatsby’s dream. The vision of possibility that they see in a new land is very similar to Gatsby’s vision of possibility when he sees the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. All of the possibilities that Gatsby once saw, however, are no longer possible.
Important Quotations: Chapter 9 “And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, 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 blue 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, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. 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 find morning— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (180)
At the end of the novel, Fitzgerald returns to theme of the past and how it affects the future, particularly when it comes to dreams. Nick states that, like Gatsby, people are unable to leave their pasts behind them. They create future goals based on their ideas about the past (like Gatsby with Daisy). Like Gatsby, people will work hard to achieve their dreams (“run faster, stretch out our arms farther”), but use all of their energy attempting to achieve goals that moves further and further away from them. Nick’s thoughts here relate to both Gatsby’s dream and the American dream.