First published in 1925, The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book and is widely considered the paragon of his career. Its exploration of the lavish wealthy lifestyle of the 1920s causes it to be hailed as the archetypal Jazz Age novel. The reasons behind Gatsby’s place among the greatest twentieth-century classics can be seen in Fitzgerald’s masterful word crafting.
Today, we've collected ten inspiring Great Gatsby quotes for you to enjoy. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post to read more about F. Scott Fitzgerald.
1. “I hope she'll be a fool -- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
2. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
3. “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.’”
4. “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
5. “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
6. “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 eternal 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.”
7. “I wasn't actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.”
8. “Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”
9. “I couldn’t forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
10. “So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.”
Interested in reading more about F. Scott Fitzgerald? See below!
Chief expositor of the "Jazz Age," F. Scott Fitzgerald's name has become synonymous with the 1910s, '20s, and '30s. No other literary figure proffers the pictures of that generation like Fitzgerald does through his four novels and numerous short stories. Born in 1896, the experience of his characters in the first few decades of the twentieth century is largely contemporaneous with his own. Even outside of This Side of Paradise, explicitly described by the author as semi-autobiographical, rarely can we find a story of Fitzgerald's not permeated with similar autobiography: in fact, we often times see very obvious correlations between Fitzgerald's character's lives and his own. Here are five interesting facts about F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Becoming "The Rich Boy"
After flunking out of Princeton and joining the army, Fitzgerald began writing his first novel, This Side of Paradise, for fear that he would be killed in the Great War (for which he was never deployed). He struggled to produce anything anybody was interested in publishing; however, while stationed outside of Montgomery, Alabama, Fitzgerald fell in love with Zelda Sayre, the daughter of a state supreme court judge. Fitzgerald's financial situation was, to put it frankly, quite poor, and after a short engagement Sayre discontinued their relationship. Dismayed, yet newly motivated to win back his engagement to Zelda, Fitzgerald quit his job as an adman in New York City, moved back to his parent's house and began to continuously revise The Romantic Egoist into This Side of Paradise. After two years, Scribner agreed to publish it. 3,000 copies were released on March 26, 1920. By March 29, all 3,000 had sold out. On March 30, Fitzgerald wired for Zelda to come to New York and marry him that weekend. On April 3, they were hitched.
Sound familiar? Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchannan's relationship draws obvious parallels. Gatsby, like Fitzgerald, is rejected by his partner because of his financial situation. While Fitzgerald's success allowed him to marry Zelda, the power of that money present in Fitzgerald's life proves futile for Gatsby. The end of The Great Gatsby's protagonist, his lost love and eventual death, represents a marked departure from the Victorian sentiments of the generation before, for whom money and tact were apt solutions to most high-social problems.
This contrast between early Fitzgerald's optimism about money and his later pessimism, is never more evident than in the interplay between This Side of Paradise and his later short stories like "The Rich Boy." Read more >>