The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby Chapter 1 Quotes
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Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Why they came East I don't know. They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together. (1. 17)
Okay, hilarious. Isn't playing polo basically the definition of "being rich together"?
His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked—and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts. (1.20)
Wealth makes Tom "paternal," as though it gives him the right to tell the entire world how to behave. But remember—he didn't earn the wealth. He's literally done nothing to deserve it. So why does he get to be mean-dad to everyone?
"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." He didn't say any more, but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I'm inclined to reserve all judgments […]. (1.2)
Really, Nick? Because this entire book seems like one big judgment. But maybe that's okay, because he's only judging them after the fact. Either way, it sets us up to be particularly attentive to Nick's trustworthiness.