F. Scott Fitzgerald Questions and Answers

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In The Great Gatsby, where does the quote "He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: 'I never loved you'" occur, and who is the "he" in this passage?

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As Nick Carraway tells us, this is what Gatsby wants of Daisy. Nick stops, in the middle of recording an actual conversation he was having with Gatsby to summarize some of what Gatsby says to him on this subject:

He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: "I never loved you." After she had obliterated three years with that sentence they could decide upon the more practical measures to be taken.

These "practical" measures include going back to Daisy's house in Louisville to be married as soon as she is divorced, as if the five years she and Gatsby have been apart never happened. This is an ironic utterance, as going to such lengths to recreate the past is anything but practical.

Nick hears Gatsby becoming carried away with the idea of turning back the clock and starting over, and in one of the most famous passages in the novel, Nick tells him he can't repeat the past. Gatsby is utterly aghast at this idea and says "Why of course you can!"

What Gatsby wants is impossible, as Nick understands. Daisy is never going to be able to erase Tom or the last five years from her life, if only because she has a child from her marriage. Nick sees that Gatsby's dream has taken on unrealistic proportions.

As Nick also summarizes, Gatsby insists on talking about restoring the past time with Daisy—as if by doing so he could restore some "idea" of what he once was.

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