In The Great Gatsby, what is Gatsby's reply when Nick says you can't repeat the past, and why is that his reply?

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To Nick's statement that "you can't repeat the past" Gatsby replies incredulously, "Can't repeat the past? Why of course you can!" Gatsby is confident that he will be able to repeat the past of when he and Daisy first met now that he has the money to attract her attention. His view is very simplistic and naive. 


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Lenny Wiza eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the late night hours following what will be Gatsby's final party, he is disappointed that Daisy was not impressed by the extravagant entertainment he provided. Nick tries to both comfort Gatsby and deliver a reality check by telling him that he shouldn't expect too much of Daisy and that he "can't repeat the past." Gatsby is incredulous when he replies "Can't repeat the past? Why of course you can!"

Gatsby is suffering from the delusion that he can somehow erase Daisy's marriage to Tom Buchanan , despite the fact that they have a daughter together. Gatsby's development is arrested; he fell in love...

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Wiggin42 | Student

He says "Can't repeat the past? Why, of course you can!"

This iconic line reveals Gatsby's obsession with the past. He wants to have this old life with Daisy. He wants things to return to the way they were before the war. Gatsby is so fixated on the past that he fails to see the present and anticipate the future. 

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amyflamey | Student

Gatsby says "'Can't repeat the past?' he cried incredulously. 'Why of course you can!'" pg 111 of the penguin edition this is because he wants to recreate his relationship with daisy and so says this as he doesnt like this idea or dream (remember american dream is a key theme) being challenged

hope that helps

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