What are some notable quotes from Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby?

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F. Scott Fitzgerald has Nick carefully select dialogue involving Gatsby to create particular impressions. Some pertains to his family history and some to his ostensible studies at Oxford. The obvious lies disturb Nick.

“I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West. . . . I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford.”

“What part of the Middle West?” I inquired casually.

“San Francisco.”

Because Nick is at first mystified about such obvious lies and errors, he plays special attention to Jay’s elaborations and contradictions as the novel advances. In one late scene, the highly skeptical Tom confronts Jay about Oxford, asking him when he went there.

“It was in nineteen-nineteen. I only stayed five months. That’s why I really can’t call myself an Oxford man. . . . It was an opportunity they gave to some of the officers after the Armistice.”

Daisy responds not to Jay directly, but to her husband. Offering him a drink, she says that by drinking it, he “won’t seem so stupid to [him]self.”

One place Gatsby’s response is especially significant comes rather late, as things are not progressing smoothly. After acting as the intermediary between Jay and Daisy, Nick comes to realize how impossible Jay’s dream truly is. Nick understands, as Jay refuses to understand, that Jay is seeing himself and Daisy as they used to be, which is making his success with Daisy impossible. Nick tells him,

“You can’t repeat the past.”

“Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!”

Gatsby grows rich not just because he wants money and lovely things; he romantically believes that wealth has a purity that will rub off on him and grant him the impunity by which rich people operate. It shocks him to realize that he has projected all of this onto Daisy.

“Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly.

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One conversation (toward the end of Chapter 5), shows Gatsby''s infatuation for the Daisy as well as his perception that he will never attain her. "If it wasn't for the mist we could see your home across the bay," said Gatsby. "You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of the dock."

The mist equates Daisy with something that is intangible. The green light ("Go") is an important image that occurs repeatedly, simultaneously attracting Gatsby and pushing him away.

In a more general way, you might think about how often Gatsby calls the narrator and all other men "old sport." It is his rather tired attempt at affectation. Most people remain dazzled by Jay Gatsby's wealth and power and this appellation fits right into their image of the man.

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

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.

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What are five key quotes by or about Jay Gatsby?

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)

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