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Stand Out Quotes for Gatsby

Stand Out Quotes for Gatsby – Character, setting and theme.
Gatsby’s Character
i) Gatsby is mysterious and isolated when we first meet him “Sometimes they came and went without having
met Gatsby at all”
ii)He is involved in dodgy dealings as this is how he has made his money “I found out what your drugstores
were…sold grain alcohol over the counter…I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him.” Tom
reveals who Gatsby really is and destroys his relationship with Daisy and therefore his whole world.
iii)He is a charming fake who is known for hosting amazing parties but little is known about him.
Gatsby is a naïve romantic. He seriously believes that an upper class woman like Daisy will run off with a man
who has made his money as a “bootlegger” because she is in love with him.
iv)A decent and noble man, despite his past. We know this because he is willing to take the blame for Daisy
killing Myrtle simply because he loves her. “Yes,” he said after a moment, but of course I’ll say I was.”
vi)Gatsby is single-minded but also callous in his pursuit of Daisy as he does not seem to care about Myrtle’s
gruesome death: “He spoke as if Daisy’s reaction was the only thing that mattered.”
v)Gatsby is deluded in that he refuses to accept the romance is over even though there is clearly no hope. He
stands guard outside her house whilst she patches things up with Tom “I’m just going to stand here and see if
he tries to bother her about the unpleasantness this afternoon.”
vii)"I ventured, ' You can't repeat the past.' 'Can't repeat the past?' he cried incredulously. 'Why of course
you can!" Gatsby is a naïve, noble dreamer and he does not realise that he could never be with an upper class
socialite like Daisy Buchanan. This makes him an easy target for Tom who can manipulate time and the past for
his own cynical ends.
ix." "I walked away and left him standing there in the moonlight - watching over nothing.” Up until he is
killed at the swimming pool, Gatsby cannot accept that it is over with Daisy and he somehow still believes their
relationship can be saved. His obsession with Daisy means he cannot get on with his life – he is effectively dead
before George Wilson shoots him.
x)"Nobody came." When Gatsby dies no one goes to his funeral except Nick, his father. This shows how
shallow and selfish people were. They only cared for Gatsby as long as the champagne was flowing.
xi)"They're a rotten crowd...You're worth the whole damn bunch put together." Nick has the last word. He is
tired of the whole society by the end of it and wants to leave New York. He sees more importance in Gatsby’s
naïve, romantic dreaming than in the cold, selfish but realistic attitude.
Daisy’s Character
1.She has been brought up with wealth to get whatever she wants and so she is not used to making decisions:
‘All right,’ said Daisy. ‘What’ll we plan?’ She turned to me helplessly: ‘What do people plan?’
2.She is reluctant to commit to Gatsby: When Gatsby is about to tell Tom that he loves her and wants to elope
with her she says “Please don’t,” she interrupted helplessly and “I never loved him,” she said with
perceptible reluctance”. This hints that she is confused about her feelings - torn between Gatsby’s passion and
Tom’s social acceptability.
3.She is easily swayed away from Gatsby once his criminal past comes to light: “With every word she was
drawing further and further into herself”. Daisy refuses to listen to Gatsby’s excuses and it is clear she has
fallen out of love with him.
4.She lacks emotion and empathy. We know this because she makes up with philanderer, Tom (“His hand had
fallen upon and covered her own”) and plays Gatsby, leaving him keeping vigil outside her house, even though
he has agreed to take the blame for killing Myrtle.
5.“Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. ‘They’re
such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never
seen such – such beautiful shirts before.’” Although Daisy has feelings for Gatsby she is still more impressed
by wealth and status.
Tom’s character
Tom is confirmed as an upper class snob when he dismisses Gatsby as only knowing Daisy
because “you brought the groceries to the back door”.
By forcing Daisy to reject Gatsby , Tom reveals himself to be a hypocrite. It is all right for him to
have affairs, but not her: “And what’s more I love Daisy too. Once in a while I go off on a spree
and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time.”
Tom is also shown to be a master manipulator in the way he emotionally blackmails Daisy about
their good times when she says she didn’t love him: “Not that day I carried you down from the
Punch Bowl to keep your shoes dry.”
Furthermore Tom is shown to be ruthless in the way he uses Gatsby’s criminal past in order to
destroy his relationship with Daisy: “I found out what your drugstores were…sold grain alcohol
over the counter…I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him.”
East Egg - The place where the "old money" lives: “ Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of
fashionable East Egg glittered along the water”. East Egg residents see West Egg residents as "new
money", tacky and beneath them. They are the aristocrats of American society. Tom and Daisy are
West Egg residents – they live in ” a cheerful red and white Georgian Colonial mansion”. They are
the established aristocracy.
West Egg - The West Egg residents are representative of the "new money" that the East Egg
residents resent. They are viewed within the novel as lower and middle class people who have found
themselves with outrageous amounts of money and as a result spend it in an outrageous manner.
West Egg represents "new money". Gatsby's home is "a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in
Normandy". A fake like himself.
The excitement and hysteria of the 1920s - The decadence and extravagance of Gatsby's parties. “In
his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and he
champagne and the stars”. The fact that at that at Gatsby's parties people conduct themselves in a
manner normally associated with "amusement parks". The decadence of homes and the wonderful
splendour of motor cars. “On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to
and from the city between nine in the morning.”
New York represents the idea that anything is possible in America – you can go from rags to riches
and a pauper can be president: “Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this
bridge…anything at all”.
Theme of the death of the American dream
“Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!” Gatsby’s future is an
attempt at restoring a golden moment from his past rather than something new. Historically, early
American settlers felt that the New World offered them the opportunity to return to the Garden of
Gatsby is a symbol for America in the 1920’s. The American Dream, has, in the pursuit of happiness,
degenerated into a quest for mere wealth. Gatsby’s powerful dream of happiness with Daisy has
become the motivation for lavish excess and criminal activities.
Nick, in his reflections on Gatsby's life, suggests that Gatsby's great mistake was in loving Daisy: he
thus chose an inferior object upon which to focus his almost mystical capacity for dreaming. Just as
the American Dream itself has degenerated into the crass pursuit of material wealth, Gatsby, too,
strives only for wealth once he has fallen in love with Daisy, whose trivial, limited imagination can
conceive of nothing greater. It is significant that Gatsby is not murdered for his criminal connections,
but rather for his unswerving devotion to Daisy; it blinds him to all else, even to his own safety. As
Nick writes, Gatsby thus "[pays] a high price for living too long with a single dream."
Theme of the shallowness of the American Upper classes
Tom shows the shallowness and selfishness . He offers to buy George Wilson’s garage, the man’s
livelihood, to turn it into a stable for his horses. “I’ve heard of making a garage out of a stable,’
Tom was saying to Gatsby, ‘ but I’m the first man who ever made a stable out of a garage.”
Tom is also shown to be shallow in the way he cares little for Myrtle. He hits Myrtle across the
face, breaking her nose when she dares to talk about Daisy because to him she should not
imagine they are on the same level and they could really be together. Myrtle keeps saying the
name "Daisy" over and over.
“We ought to plan something”, yawned Miss Baker, sitting down at the table as if she were
getting into bed.” And “All right,’ said Daisy. ‘What’ll we plan?’ She turned to me helplessly:
‘What do people plan?’. Both examples suggest that the lives of rich Americans are lacking in
purpose and direction.
“their impersonal eyes” - suggesting that their eyes are deadened by wealth and “the absence
of all desire” - suggest that they have all they need and everything that they could possibly want
so all they have are wasteful parties and spending sprees to look forward to.
“Mr Sloane didn’t enter into the conversation, but lounged back haughtily in his chair...” They
treat Gatsby with contempt because he has the money but lacks their superior social qualities (in
their minds). Even among the very rich there are class distinctions based on status and not
“What I called up about was a pair of shoes I left there.” This shows lack of morals and the
shallowness of the upper classes. Klipspringer was Gatsby’s lodger but would rather attend a
picnic than his funeral. He is not even phoning up to offer commiserations but to enquire about a
pair of shoes.
“Nobody came”. This illustrates the upper class shallowness because they attended his parties
and abused his hospitality but have deserted him when he is no longer of any use.
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