My favorite line from the novel is this one from chapter 1:
"Civilization's going to pieces. I've gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things... It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things."
I chose this one because to me this is the point of the book, introduced for us in chapter 1. It is the idea that people are becoming more interested in pleasure than in morality. Whether you believe this or not, it is key to understanding Gatsby’s character.
Wow. Such a cool question, actually! I could never choose anything spoken by our boring narrator, Nick, ... even despite the graphic details of setting. I'm so very TORN! Here are the ones that I adore the most, ... and actually, I find it ironic that they are so very strange, ... and both from the famous "couple": Gatsby/Daisy.
"They're such beautiful shirts," she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. "It makes me sad because I've never seen such--such beautiful shirts before."
Spoken by Daisy, ... a ditsy broad overwhelmed by the emotion of lost love. And yes, this is the way she expresses it: a perfect expression of her character.
"You loved me too?" Spoken by Gatsby, ... at the realization that he was not the only man in Daisy's universe, ... at the realization that Daisy was not as obsessed with Gatsby as Gatsby was with Daisy.
My favorite line, one that gives me shivers literally every time I think of it, is "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
I really love this description of the poor part of town, where George and Myrtle live:
“This is a valley of ashes—a 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, with a transcendent effort, of ash-gray men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air….
I hate this book in general.
I am particularly fond of this passage, in which Nick is looking across the Long Island Sound from Gatsby's lawn:
"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 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 or desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity to wonder."