The Great Gatsby was published back in 1925. This is a book written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and is widely known as the pinnacle of his literary career. Even though the novel was unsuccessful when it launched, it gained a lot of traction over time, to the point where it was adapted into a movie in 2013.
One of the best things about this literary work by F. Scott Fitzgerald is the text itself. The author has used some beautiful and powerful language to give life to his characters and that is why this is a novel often prescribed to students in college. Reading some The Great Gatsby essays on Papersowl, you can see just how many students analyze this book for their classes. Other than its language, it also has a lot to teach which makes it even better for young students.
While reading such essays, or perhaps when you have to write your own, it is important to focus on the various sayings in the text. These can be quite powerful at times, with some becoming very popular among fans of the story. Let’s talk about some of the most famous and powerful sayings you can find in this novel.
7 Iconic Sayings From The Great Gatsby
1. “I hope she’ll be a fool”
These words can be found in Chapter 1 of The Great Gatsby and are said by Daisy about her infant daughter. She goes on to say that a “beautiful little fool” is the best thing a girl can be. This speaks volumes about both Daisy’s character as well as the society the novel is set in. This is a society where intelligence in women is not appreciated or sought after. Like some of The Great Gatsby racism quotes, this remark about sexism at the time paints a clear picture of the culture. This is just one of the examples of how F. Scott Fitzgerald has used dialogue to add depth to the novel’s setting as a whole.
2. “He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it”
In Chapter 3, Nick closely examines Jay Gatsby’s appearance and persona. He goes on to explain in great detail how Gatsby’s smile could make a person feel irresistible prejudice in their favor because it would seem like Gatsby had chosen that person out of the entire world to look at.
3. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us”
The light being talked about here refers to the dreams of the future. There is great symbolism associated with this light but in these words, the author talks about how humans cannot move beyond their past and are thus unable to make their future dreams come true. People remain optimistic about reaching their goals but end up spending all their energy on something that moves further from their grip. All of this relates not only to Gatsby himself but to humans in general too.
4. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy”
This is one of the great sayings that lay out the character of Daisy Buchanan and Tom. Nick talks about how both of these characters don’t care about their actions. Over the course of the novel, they “smash up” a lot of things like Gatsby’s heart, his car, and his life. This saying, on a larger scale, talks about how the wealthy can do whatever they please because they are rich.
5. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone… just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”
This is some great advice given to Nick by his father is one of the most relatable sayings from The Great Gatsby. It talks about Nick’s wealth and that the others who may not be as successful as he didn’t have the kind of wealthy upbringing that he did. This saying about economic inequality is as relevant today as it was at the time this novel was written. Money, unfortunately, still decides what kind of opportunities someone can have and this is something that should be understood by those who are born rich.
6. “That’s my Middle West … the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark”
One of the important The Great Gatsby quotes is this one by Nick. It talks about the geography in which the novel is set. Throughout the story, we see different themes and ideas associated with different places. The West is showcased as a place with more traditional values while the East is fast-paced, where moral values are slowly crumbling. At this point of the story, Nick realizes in his mind that his acquaintances’ western character has been the source of all the tensions in the story since the story itself is set on the East Coast. He felt strongly about this and made the decision to go back to Minnesota.
7. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”
The last line of The Great Gatsby is one of the most popular in literature today. It doesn’t talk about love or friendship, but rather about the human condition as a whole. Like many life-related sayings, this is a line that can be read in different ways. In a broad sense, however, it talks about how we keep trying to peddle our boats against the current, trying to get away from our past. It is a great last line that is very fitting in this story.
The Great Gatsby is a novel that has stood the test of time. Talking about issues that can easily be translated into modern times, this novel has a lot for any avid reader to unpack. Fitzgerald wrote it beautifully, using text to build eccentric characters and settings while also making the readers think about the themes being talked about. These Great Gatsby sayings are just some of the many you’ll come across when reading this novel but they should be enough to give you an idea of the kind of depth you can expect.