The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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In Ch. 6 of The Great Gatsby, Nick tells Gatsby that he (Gatsby) can't recreate the past. Gatsby replies that of course he can. How is Gatsby trying to recreate the past?

Gatsby is trying to recreate his past by reclaiming Daisy and the love they once shared before Gatsby left to fight in the war. It is also, in a related way, a chance for him to reclaim something of himself that may have been lost from the war by reconnecting with Daisy.

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When Nick tells Gatsby he “can’t repeat the past,” he is referring to Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy and the dreams they had when they were young. They are not words Gatsby wanted to hear.

“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 hands.

At the same time, Gatsby is wanting to reclaim a part of his identity—an identity he had essentially given away to focus on his yearning for a life that never...

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