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Teaching The Great Gatsby
Quotations


Chapter 1

1. "I'm inclined to reserve all judgments."

2. "Reserving judgment is a matter of infinite hope."

6. "Now he was a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body--he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage--a cruel body."

7. "I'm p-paralyzed with happiness."

8. "Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered; Listened, a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour."

10. "This idea is that we're Nordics, I am, and you are, and you are, and--
And we've produced all the things that go to make civilation--oh, science and art, and all that."

13. "And I hope she'll be a fool; that's the best thing a
girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."

14. Sophisticated! God, I'm sophisticated!"

15. "Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory heart."

17. "But I didn't call to him, for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone; he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward, and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of a dock. When I look once more for Gatsbay he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness."


Chapter II

1. "This is a valley of ashes--a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hils and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke, and finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a lime of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight."
2. "But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eye Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic--their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forget them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground."

5. "You can't live forever,you can't live forever."


Chapter III

1. "It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five time 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. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believe in as would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey."


2. “He smiled –and suddenly there seemed to be a pleasant significance in having been among the last to go, as if he has desired it all the time.”

3.“At the enchanting metropolitan twilight I felt a haunted loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others—poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner—young clerks in the
dust, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.”

4. “I hate careless people. That’s why I like you. ”

5. “Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.”

Chapter IV

1. “He was balancing himself on the dash board of his car with that resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American—that comes, I suppose, with the absence of lifting work or rigid sitting in youth and, even more, with the formless grace of our nervous, sporadic games.

2. “Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.”

3. “But I knew I had discovered a man of fine breeding after I talked with him an hour. I said to myself: ‘there’s the kind of man you’d like to take home and introduce to your mother and sister.”

4. There are only the pursued, the pursuing the busy, and the tired.”

5. “As I went over to say good-by I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a
faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his
present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been
moments even after that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short
of his dreams—not through her own fault, but because of the
colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her,
beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it creative
passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every
bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or
freshness can challenge what a man will store up n his
ghostly heart
As I watch him he adjusted himself a little, visibly. His hands took hold of hers, and as she said something low in his ear he turned toward her with a rush of emotions. I think that voice held him most, with its fluctuating, feverish warmth, because it couldn’t be over-dreamed---that voice was a deathless song.
They had forgotten me, but Daisy glanced up and held out her hand; Gatsby didn’t know me now at all. I looked once more at them and they looked back at me, remotely, possessed by intense life. Then I went out of the room and down the marble steps into the rain, leaving them there together.”