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48 Famous The Great Gatsby Quotes About Jay Gatsby & By Jay Gatsby

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Get the most important and famous The Great Gatsby quotes about Jay Gatsby and by Jay Gatsby from this classic fiction book by F. Scott Fitzgerald about the unrequited love Jay has for Daisy Buchanan, and how unsuccessful his wealthy lifestyle feels.

the great gatsby

The Great Gatsby is the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel in which a Midwestern, optimistic outsider is thrust into the orbit of the incredibly wealthy, yet empty, life of East-coaster Jay Gatsby, as he attempts to rekindle love with a now-married former girlfriend named Daisy Buchanan.

Jay Gatsby is one of the most recognizable and memorable characters in all of literature, both aspirational and deeply flawed.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about Jay Gatsby followed by the best The Great Gatsby quotes about Jay Gatsby and by Jay Gatsby.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Jay Gatsby's famous line?

The most famous line of Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby is "Can't repeat the past? Why of course you can!" In the novel, Gatsby is obsessed with rekindling his past romance with Daisy Buchanan. This struggle is both personal and representative of the American Dream, in which Americans often grapple with transcending their past but are "borne back" into it, as quoted from the words that conclude the book.

How is Jay Gatsby described?

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is described as both very wealthy and somewhat mythical. The two quotes below are representative of how he is described in the book:

“The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s Business, the service of a vast, vulgar and meretricious beauty.”

"If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away."

The Great Gatsby Quotes About Jay Gatsby

Below are all the best The Great Gatsby quotes about Jay Gatsby:

“The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s Business, the service of a vast, vulgar and meretricious beauty.”

"If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away."

"I was looking at an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd."

"He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a handle."

"James Gatz – that was really, or at least legally, his name. He had changed it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career – when he saw Dan Cody’s yacht drop anchor over the most insidious flat on Lake Superior."

"Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once."

"Something in his leisurely movements and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that it was Mr. Gatsby himself, come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens."

"I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited – they went there."

"I suppose he’d had the name ready for a long time, even then. His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people – his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all."

"He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. 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. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you 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."

"He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions in a dazed way, as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real. Once he nearly toppled down a flight of stairs."

"He hurried the phrase “educated at Oxford,” or swallowed it, or choked on it, as though it had bothered him now. And with this doubt, his whole statement fell to pieces, and I wondered if there wasn’t something a little sinister about him, after all."

"He wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was."

"He had passed visibly through two states and was entering upon a third. After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy he was consumed with wonder at her presence. He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an over-wound clock."

"But it wasn’t a coincidence at all. [...] Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay."

"And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night."

"Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalk really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees – he could climb it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder."

"Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes."

"No phone message arrived…I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn‘t believe it would come, and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky…A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about…like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees."

"His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete."

"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 - to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther..."

"Gatsby and I in turn leaned down and took the small, reluctant hand. Afterward he kept looking at the child with surprise. I don’t think he had ever really believed in its existence before."

"I wanted to get somebody for him. I wanted to go into the room where he lay and reassure him: ‘I’ll get somebody for you, Gatsby. Don’t worry. Just trust me and I’ll get somebody for you."

“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”

"It was testimony to the romantic speculation [Gatsby] inspired that there were whispers about him from those who had found little that it was necessary to whisper about in this world."

"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 far away. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness."

"Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one."

"But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room."

"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."

"He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy."


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The Great Gatsby Quotes By Jay Gatsby

Below are all the best The Great Gatsby quotes by Jay Gatsby:

"If you're wondering, "What are some quotes from Jay Gatsby?" below are the best Jay Gatsby quotes from The Great Gatsby:

"Oh, hello, old sport!"

"If there's anything that you want, just ask for it, old sport."

"‘I did [inherit my money], old sport,’ he said automatically, ‘but I lost most of it in the big panic – the panic of the war. [...] I was in the drug business and then I was in the oil business. But I’m not in either one now.’"

"‘I’ll tell you God’s truth.’ His right hand suddenly ordered divine retribution to stand by. ‘I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition.’"

"Can't repeat the past? Why of course you can!"

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

“And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”

“I can’t describe to you how surprised I was to find out I loved her, old sport. I even hoped for a while that she’d throw me over, but she didn’t, because she was in love with me too... Well, there I was, way off my ambitions, getting deeper in love every minute, and all of a sudden I didn’t care. What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?” 

"I knew it was a great mistake for a man like me to fall in love."

“I keep [the house] always full of interesting people, night and day. People who do interesting things. Celebrated people.”

“'Oh, you want too much!' she cried to Gatsby. 'I love you now—isn’t that enough?'"

"What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?"

"I thought you ought to know something about my life. Ought to know something about me. I didn’t want you to think I was just some nobody."

"Just tell him the truth—that you never loved him—and it’s all wiped out forever."

"I’m only 32... I might still be a great man if I could only forget that I once lost Daisy."

"‘Your wife doesn’t love you,’ said Gatsby. ‘She’s never loved you. She loves me.’"

“'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 your dock.'”


Those are all the best The Great Gatsby quotes by Jay and about Jay.

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