What would a good quote from Chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby be?

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The quotations that we might choose from Chapter VII of The Great Gatsby will be determined by the themes that we want to discuss. This chapter is a climactic one in the novel and connects with many of the most salient themes of the text. Perhaps the most notable themes here are the cultivated boredom that characterizes Daisy, Jordan and Tom and the hopeful, almost a-moral romantic yearning that characterizes Gatsby. 

One quote that relates to the proud-but-above-it-all sophistication of Daisy and her ilk can be found in a bit of dialogue from Daisy. 

"What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon?" cried Daisy, "and the day after that, and for the next thirty years?"

This dialogue is suggestive of Daisy's sense that she (1) can really do as she pleases and (2) is an "affected" personality, often expressing her position of privilege in terms of boredom. The moral emptiness of her life relates to each of these ideas. Privilege, for Daisy, eventually equates with a kind of moral death. While this does not in itself mean that Daisy is a bad person or immoral person, it does indicate that she does not value work and takes opulent her lifestyle completely for granted. 

We cannot say that nothing matters to Daisy, but this particular quote does suggest that not much can penetrate her sense of insulation from the worries of the world. 

Later in this chapter, Gatsby identifies Daisy's central identifier - her voice - in a way that sums up her character, for him at least. 

"Her voice is full of money," he said suddenly.

Thus Daisy represents in the first quote the idea of ennui derived from privileged boredom and in the second quote represents the categorical American admiration of wealth that underscores so much of the novel. 

Finally, when Gatsby forces Daisy to undo the past by telling Tom that she has never loved him, Daisy reaches her limit. 

"Oh you want too much!" she cried to Gatsby. "I love you now - isn't that enough? I can't help what's in the past." 

This idea, of course, contradicts one of Gatsby's most famous lines from the novel about how it is possible to repeat the past. Gatsby's belief that the past can be re-written leads him to his affair with Daisy (an affair of infidelity and adultery) and which also allows him somehow to feel that he is not doing anything morally wrong. There is no right or wrong for Gatsby in his romantic vision. 

Daisy's essential lack of moral substance seems to come from an insulation produced by her lifelong possession of wealth. Gatsby's seems to come from his positive romantic vision, his dream of the ultimate and perfect success. These two modes of being are each a-moral in their way, but Daisy's ultimately is the more constrained, as the quote above shows.  

This quote directly connects with the idea that Gatsby is a novel about the pursuit of a re-written past or a romantic vision that ultimately fails. The other quotes point to themes of wealth as the foundation of (moral) values and categorical views of money as success as the core of an American romance

In comparing the first two quotes we might also identify the contrast between the "new money" Gatsby and the "old money" Daisy. Where one is excited and impassioned by his proximity to a great achievement (Gatsby), the other is largely unmoved and actually seems to desire to be that sense of neutrality as if it is proof of her superiority. We can term this thematic idea along the lines of how social status determines what can be taken for granted

For a more general look at some of the important themes and symbols in The Great Gatsby, check out this video:

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