What are the most famous/important quotations from The Great Gatsby?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many passages in the novel stand out as being important, and many passages from the novel are often quoted. Here is one passage from the introduction to the novel that is especially significant:

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 short-winded elations of men.

This passage acts as a strong narrative hook, pulling the reader into the story. The words "preyed" and "foul dust" foreshadow conflict and drama to come.

Another quotable passage is the last line of the novel:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The theme clearly applies to Gatsby and the tragedy of his life, but it suggests a truth that surpasses Gatsby's experience and perhaps applies to our own lives.

I am including an eNotes link below that discusses ten additional significant and often quoted passages from the novel.

teachinator | Student

"In my younger more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I have been turning over in my mind ever since.  'Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,' he told me, 'just remember that all the people in this world have'nt had the advantages that you've had.'" 

-Nick, chapter 1.

First line of the novel and its a doozy!

teachinator | Student

"I hope she'll be a fool-- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."  -Daisy, chapter 1

shadesofhannah | Student

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

When I read the book in English, my teacher most emphasized the above quote.

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

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