50+ The Great Gatsby Quotes on Life, Love, and the American Dream

Woman dressed in 20s outfit -Great Gatsby
06/08/2021

The timeless classic, The Great Gatsby is a widely embraced tale of love, money, and facades. Through generations, the story of a humble man seeking to build a worthy life and reputation for himself has connected with people in a heartfelt way.

F. Scott Fitzgerald has a way of showcasing both the beauty and the sadness in Gatsby. He is at once a noble character following his ideals and someone who relies on falsity and bravado to gain status.

This duality is what makes the story so compelling to listeners. It is also the reason that The Great Gatsby is so often quoted, on so many different subjects. Here we’ve gathered a list of some of our favourite quotes about everything from money and class, to life and love.

Quotes About Wealth, Class, and Society

Class struggles and social tiers form the foundations of the story in The Great Gatsby. There are so many quotes and passages that address this system is an interesting way. Here are some of our favourite Gatsby quotes about wealth, class, and society in general.

1.“I’ve been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

2.“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

3.“The rich get richer and the poor get—children.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

4.“It occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

5.“Daisy was young and her artificial world was redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful snobbery and orchestras which set the rhythm of the year, summing up the sadness and suggestiveness of life in new tunes.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

6.“And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

7.“You see I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad things that happened to me.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

8.“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

9.“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and . . . then retreated back into their money . . . and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

10.“‘You see I think everything’s terrible anyhow,’ she went on in a convinced way. ‘Everybody thinks so—the most advanced people. And I know. I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything . . . Sophisticated—God, I’m sophisticated!’” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

11.“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

12.“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. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

13.“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—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

14.“I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

15.“‘Her voice is full of money,’ he said suddenly. That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Quotes About Love

At the heart of The Great Gatsby, once the flash, money, and status are stripped away, it is a pure and simple love story. Though Gatsby himself is deeply flawed, it is his love for Daisy which drives and motivates the entirety of his actions throughout the story, and makes listeners sympathetic to him as a character. F. Scott Fitzgerald captures this desperate sense of love and longing in some wonderful quotes and passages, many of which are listed below.

16.“I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

17.“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 like a flower and the incarnation was complete.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

18.“No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

19.“He looked at her the way all women want to be looked at by a man.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

20.“For a moment I thought I loved her. But I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

21.“The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

22.“‘Oh, you want too much!’ she cried to Gatsby. ‘I love you now—isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past.’ She began to sob helplessly. ‘I did love him once—but I loved you too.’ – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

23.“‘They’re a rotten crowd,’ I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.’” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

24.“There must have been moments even 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 with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

25.“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.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

26.“‘Ah,’ she cried, ‘you look so cool.’ Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table. ‘You always look so cool,’ she repeated.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

27.“She was feeling the pressure of the world outside and she wanted to see him and feel his presence beside her and be reassured that she was doing the right thing after all.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

28.“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.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

29.“Look at that,' she whispered, and then after a moment: 'I'd like to just get one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you around.’” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Quotes About Life

In many ways, The Great Gatsby is a commentary on America and the American Dream. But even for Canadians, there are resonating truths about life that shine forth in Fitzgerald's work. Whether it is cautionary or inspiring, the story of Gatsby reflects on human nature, love, and life at large. Here are some of our favourite Gatsby quotes about life.

30.“I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

31.“He had 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.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

32.“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

33.“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

34.“Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

35.“I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others—young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

36.“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

37.“All I kept thinking about, over and over, was ‘You can’t live forever; you can’t live forever.’” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

38.“It takes two to make an accident.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

39.“If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

40.“Every one 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.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

41.“There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

42.“Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

43.“It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard drinking people.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

44.“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 through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. 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.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

45.“‘What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon?’ cried Daisy, ‘and the day after that, and the next thirty years?’” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

46.“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.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

47.“Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed down upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For awhile these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

48.“Human sympathy has its limits.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

49.“Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

50.“So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


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