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Great Gatsby Essay Quotes by topic

Dreams and wishes

2 “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.”

37 “people disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away.”

43 “tore my gown…got a package…but it was too big in the bust and had to be altered.” Gatsby in a dream world where he views things as beautiful that aren’t particularly beautiful.

91 “He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes.”

95 “There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams…illusion…beyond her, beyond everything…

110 “secret place above the trees-he could climb to it…milk of wonder…forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.”

135 “thinning hair. But there was Jordan…too wise ever to carry well-forgotten dreams from age to age.

148 “he was clutching at some last hope and I couldn’t bear to shake him free.”

149 “but now he found that he had committed himself to the following of a grail.”

180 “I became aware of the old…green…made way for Gatsby’s house…human dreams…green light…blue lawn…dream must have seemed so close…already behind him…beyond the city…Green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then….and one fine morning… So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

 

The valley of ashes

23 “between West Egg and New York…fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally…ash-gray men…impenetrable cloud.”

24 “bounded on one side by a small foul river, and, when the drawbridge is up to let barges through…dismal scene.”

25 “spiritless man, anaemic, and faintly handsome…damp gleam of hope.”

26 “‘terrible place isn’t it.’ ‘Awful.’”

 

Houses

5 “The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard—it was a factual imitation of some hotel de ville…spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy…gatsby’s mansion…My own house was an eyesore…overlooked.

5 “white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water”

6 Tom house: “Their house was even more elaborate than I expected…lawn started at the beach and ran…burning gardens…glowing now with reflected gold.

20 “fifty feet away a figure had emerged from the shadow of my neighbor’s mansion and was standing with his hands in his pockets.” Gatsby stuck in the shadow of his mansion.

23 “between West Egg and New York…fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally…ash-gray men…impenetrable cloud.”

29 “the apartment was on the top floor—small…small…small…crowded…furniture entirely too large…move about was to stumble continually over scenes…gardens of Versailles.”

179 “Gatsby’s house was still empty when I left…”

 

NYC

35 “I wanted to get out and walk eastward…high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy…. And I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”

56 “I began to like New York, the racy…eye”

69

 

Time

36 “It was nine o’clock—almost immediately afterward I looked at my watch and foud it was ten”

37 “people disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away.”

53 “how long were we in there? Why, about an hour”

86

 

East/west

3 “Instead of being the warm center of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe”

13 “They knew that presently dinner would be over and a little later the evening, too, would be over and casually put away. It was sharply different from the West, where an evening was hurried from phase to phase toward its close, in a continually disappointed anticipation or else in sheer nervous dread of the moment itself.” Relate to Am Dr?

10 “Oh, I’ll stay in the East, don’t you worry…I’d be a God damned fool to live anywhere else… Absolutely!”

49 “Gatsby sprang… from the lower East Side of New York…drift coolly out of nowhere and buy a palace on long island sound.” V. James Gatz born in West.

94 “The rain was still falling, but the darkness had parted in the west, and there was a pink and golden billow of foamy clouds above the sea.”

176 “Even when the East excited me most…a quality of distortion.”

176 “After Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted…”

 

West Egg/East Egg

1-2 “whenever you feel…I’m inclined to reserve all judgments…admission that it has a limit”

5 “pair of enormous eggs, identical in contour and separated only by a courtesy bay…physical resemblance must be a source of perpetual confusion to the gulls that fly overhead. To the wingless a more arresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size.”

5 “West Egg, the—well, the less fashionable of the two…sinister contrast between them.”

5 “white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water”

11 “You live in West Egg, she remarked contemptuously

44 “Instead of rambling, this party had preserved a dignified homogeneity…staid nobility of the countryside—East Egg condescending to West Egg.”

64 “hadn’t reached west egg village before Gatsby began leaving his elegant sentences unfinished…”

107 “But the rest offended her—and inarguably, because it wasn’t a gesure but an emotion. She was appalled by West Egg…raw vigor…awful in the very simplicity she failed to understand.”

 

Flowers/garden

14 “You remind me of a—of a rose, an absolute rose…I am not even faintly like a rose…extemporizing.”

6 Tom house: “Their house was even more elaborate than I expected…lawn started at the beach and ran…burning gardens…glowing now with reflected gold.

19 “insisted Daisy, surprising me by opening up again in a flower-like way. We heard it from three people, so it must be tree”

20 “Something in his leisurely movements and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that it was Mr. Gatsby himself, come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens.” Gatsby securely rooted on lawn=garden=Garden of Eden=Dream Innocence.

23 “between West Egg and New York…fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally…ash-gray men…impenetrable cloud.”

29 “the apartment was on the top floor—small…small…small…crowded…furniture entirely too large…move about was to stumble continually over scenes…gardens of Versailles.”

42 “leaning a little backward and looking with contemptuous interest down into the garden.”

46 “dancing now…in the garden…eternal graceless circles…tortuously…stunts all over the garden, while happy…baby act…”

78 “the modesty of the demand shook me…so that he could ‘come over’ some afternoon to a stranger’s garden.”

109 “She doesn’t understand…down a desolate path of fruit rinds and discarded favors and crushed flowers.

11 “She blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.” Flowers whither and die.

151 “Faisy was young and her artificial world was redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful snobbery…rhythym of the year.”

180 “I became aware of the old…green…made way for Gatsby’s house…human dreams…green light…blue lawn…dream must have seemed so close…already behind him…beyond the city…Green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then….and one fine morning… So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

 

 

Father figures

171 “start him, I made him”

100-101 Dan Cody

167 Henry Gatz

 

Cars

39 “On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight.”

58 “You’re a rotten driver…it takes two to make an accident…I like you”

53/54/55 car crash

136 “So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight”

 

 

 

The past

109, 49, 65, 98, and 132

6 “Tom would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable footballgame.”

37 “people disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away.”

132 “Oh you want too much…I can’t help what’s past.”

110 “You can’t repeat the past…why of course you can…fix everything just the way it was before”

180 “I became aware of the old…green…made way for Gatsby’s house…human dreams…green light…blue lawn…dream must have seemed so close…already behind him…beyond the city…Green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then….and one fine morning… So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

 

 

$

3, 5, 6, 63, 82, 90, 95, 99,

42 “I was sure that they were selling something…agonizingly aware of the easy money in the vicinity and convinced that it was theirs for a few words in the right key.”

120 “her voice is full of money”

 

 

 

Jordan

8 “chin raised a little, as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall.”

9 “object she was balancing had obviously tottered a little and given her something of a fright.”

10 “for she yawned”

11 “ yawned Miss Baker.”

11 “You live in West Egg, she remarked contemptuously

42 “leaning a little backward and looking with contemptuous interest down into the garden.”

 

The Buchanan’s (Tom + Daisy)

179 “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy…they had made.”

Tom:

6 “one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anticlimax…enormously wealthy

6 “Tom would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable footballgame.”

7 “supercilious…arrogant…dominance…aggressively forward…capable of enormous leverage—a cruel body.”

19 “demanded Tom suddenly”

16 “she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where”

24 “Taking hold of my elbow, literally forced me from the car…insisted…determination…bordered on violence…The supercilious…to do.”

Daisy:

“voice that the ear follows up and down…face was sad and lovely…passionate mouth…exctement in her voice.”

15”I’ve had a very bad time, Nick, and I’m pretty cynical about everything.”

17 “Sophisticated—God, I’m sophisticated!”

 

 

Parties

41“sometimes they came and went without having met Gatsby at all, came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admission.”

39“Every Friday give crates of oranges and lemons…every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door… pulpless halves”

49 “I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”

 

 

American Dream

69 “Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge…anything at all…even Gatsby could happen, without any particular wonder.”

180 “I became aware of the old…green…made way for Gatsby’s house…human dreams…green light…blue lawn…dream must have seemed so close…already behind him…beyond the city…Green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then….and one fine morning… So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

3

99

 

 

Smile

89

100

48 “smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly…quality of eternal reassurance…whole external world for an instant…irresistible prejudice in your favor…just as far as you wanted to be understood…like to believe in yourself…impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”

66 “with his smile. The smile comprehended Montenegro’s troubled history and sympathized with the brave struggle…appreciated fully.”

 

Relationships

20 “It seemed to me that the thing for Faisy to do was to rush out of the house, child in arms—but apparently there were no such intentions in her head.”

34 “Mrs. Mckee… ‘I almost made a mistake too…married a little kike…knew he was below me.”

37 “people disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away.”

 

 

Facades

98, 99

3 “tradition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather’s brother, who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on to-day”

30 “Catherine…worldly…eyebrows had been plucked and then drawn on again…nature toward the restoration of the old alignment gave a blurred air to her face.”

30 “Mrs. Wilson had changed her costume some time before…afternoon dress…influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change. The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted into impressive hauteur…gestures, her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment…expanded the room grew smaller around her.”

41 “signed Jay Gatsby, in a majestic hand.”

43 “You’ve dyed your hair since then”

44 “It was testimony to the romantic speculation he inspired…necessary to whisper about in this world.”

46 “What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop, too—didn’t cut the pages.

57 “the bored haughty face that she turned to the world concealed something—most affectations conceal something eventually, even though they don’t in the beginning—and one day I found what it was.

58 “She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage and, given this… dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard, jaunty body.”

65 “And with this doubt, his whole statement fell to pieces, and I wondered if there wasn’t something a little sinister about him, after all…San Francisco…”

64 “He was balancing himself on the dashboard…American…continually breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness.”

64 “hadn’t reached west egg village before Gatsby began leaving his elegant sentences unfinished…”

114 “so the whole caravansary had fallen in like a card house at the disapproval in her eyes”

149 “He had certainly taken her under false pretenses…given Daisy a sense of security.”

 

The cover

80 “I had no girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs…”

41 “amusement park”

23 “eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg”

 

Seasons

3 “It was a warm season, and I had just left a country of wide lawns and friendly trees.”

4 “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.

75 “By the next autumn she was gay again, gay as ever…In June she married Tom…”

151 “Through this twilight universe Daisy began to move again with the season… dying orchids on the floor beside her bed.”

 

118 “Don’t be morbid… life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

17 28 153 175 125 127 150

 

West/Midwest

175 “the real snow…That’s my Middle West”

176 “I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all…deficiency.”

176 “Even when the East excited me most…a quality of distortion.”

 

Sex

131 “do you know why we left Chicago? I’m surprised that they didn’t treat you to the story of that little spree.”

149 “one still October night, took her because he had no real right to touch her hand”

130

 

Disillusionment

17 “I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

104 “it is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at thins upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment.”

124 “I just got wised up to something funny in the last two days” makes him sick.

155 “I  couldn’t have talked to her across a tea-table that day if I never talked to her again in this world.”

161 “If that was true he must have felt that 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.”

 

 

Green

20-21 “he stretched out his arms…I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock…unique darkness.”

180 “I became aware of the old…green…made way for Gatsby’s house…human dreams…green light…blue lawn…dream must have seemed so close…already behind him…beyond the city…Green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then….and one fine morning… So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

93 “Daisy put her arm through his abruptly…colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever…it had seemed as close as a star to the moon…green light on the dock.”

 

Nick

59 “Everyone suspects himself… I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known”

1

176