The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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What are examples of quotes about honesty from The Great Gatsby?

The Great Gatsby's most famous honesty quote is, "Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known." However, Nick's own confession in the previous paragraph that he is being less than honest with a "girl" in Chicago calls his self-awareness into question.

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The most famous honesty quote in The Great Gatsby is the following:

Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.

Nick Carraway is speaking of himself in this utterance, which occurs at the end of chapter 3. This quote should immediately throw up red flags in the reader's mind. First, people are notoriously poor judges of their own virtues, cardinal or otherwise. Further, first-person narrators in literature tend to be unreliable. Therefore, when a first-person narrator declares himself "honest," we are being warned to be on the alert.

In fact, Nick has already condemned himself in the paragraph right above this one as not cardinally honest. He is ruminating on his relationship with Jordan Baker, projecting his own dishonesty onto her, then moving to his concern about his relationship with a woman back in Chicago. This is the person who Daisy and Tom have heard from friends that Nick is engaged to. Nick dispels that gossip, but the gossip indicates that his relationship with the woman is more involved than he wants to admit.

Now, as he thinks about Jordan, he becomes uncomfortable about how he has been leading on the "girl" back home. As he puts it,

I had to get myself definitely out of that tangle back home. I’d been writing letters once a week and signing them: "Love, Nick," and all I could think of was how, when that certain girl played tennis, a faint mustache of perspiration appeared on her upper lip. Nevertheless there was a vague understanding that had to be tactfully broken off before I was free.

One might wonder what that so-called "vague understanding" was and why Nick would sign "love" to letters to a woman he finds distasteful: "all I could think of was how, when that certain girl played tennis, a faint mustache of perspiration appeared on her upper lip."

From the evidence Nick himself gives us, we might conclude that he deludes himself as to his level of honesty.

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