I heard he killed a guy.
I heard he's a German spy.
No, he's not. He's a relative of the Kaiser.
Everyone knows he's a bootlegger.
He's an Oggsford man.
He's a great war hero.
These, of course, are not the actual quotes, but they are the rumors that float throughout the novel, like the "rumors" of America itself:
It's the land of opportunity.
Land of the brave.
Land where my fathers died
Land of the pilgrims' pride.
All these conceptions and misconceptions show the promise and false promise of Gatsby and the America Dream. In the end, they're all true--and false. They're both enigmatic, paradoxes.
Nick even asks Gatsby about his past: What midwestern city are you from? Gatsby answers, "San Francisco." Then, Gatsby:
"claims to have studied at Oxford and lived in all of the capitals of Europe; then he enlisted in the war effort, where he was rapidly promoted to major and decorated by every Allied government, including Montenegro. He pulls out a photograph of himself in Oxford cricket whites, as well as a medal awarded by the government of Montenegro, in order to corroborate his story."
One thing is for sure, Gatsby loves to wear white.