The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What are five key quotes by or about Jay Gatsby?

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,219 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

At the beginning of the story, Nick contemplates Jay Gatsby's life and praises his magnetic personality. Once Nick returned from the east, he says that he wanted the world to be uniform and desired "no more riotous excursions." He recognizes that Jay Gatsby was a genuine, sincere romantic who was taken advantage of by unscrupulous, selfish individuals. Nick elaborates on his thoughts about Gatsby by saying,

No—Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and shortwinded elations of men. (4)

When Nick attends one of Tom's parties in New York City, Myrtle's sister, Catherine, mentions Jay Gatsby and proceeds to share a common rumor about him. At this point in the story, Nick has yet to meet Gatsby and he is the subject of many intriguing, unflattering stories. Catherine tells Nick,

Well, they say he’s [Gatsby] a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm’s. That’s where all his money comes from. (36)

When Nick first meets Jay Gatsby at one of his magnificent summer parties, he does not know that he is speaking to his neighbor and host of the party. Jay Gatsby finally introduces himself to Nick, who describes Gatsby's magnetic, attractive smile by saying,

It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on YOU with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. (53)

After Tom and Daisy leave Gatsby's party, Gatsby laments about their relationship and cannot understand why Daisy will not leave Tom. Gatsby wishes to return to the days in Louisville with Daisy and Nick comments that he cannot repeat the past. However, Gatsby does not share Nick's thoughts and says,

Can’t repeat the past? ... Why of course you can! (118)

During Tom and Gatsby's final showdown, Tom attempts to end his wife's affair by exposing Gatsby as a bootlegger. Tom tells the truth about Gatsby's shady background and checkered past by saying,

He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drug stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him and I wasn’t far wrong. (143)

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial