The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby Chapter 3 Quotes Page 1

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Quote 1

There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and he champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his motor-boats slid the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. And on Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener, toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before. (3.1)

Okay, so the parties sound fabulous. These people are definitely partying like it's 1999, or whatever. But what we're really into is that Nick actually notices the servants—the people who end up cleaning up the mess. Remember that Nick has to clean up after Daisy and Tom. Maybe he identifies a little bit with the servants.

Quote 2

[Jordan's] gray, sun-strained eyes stared straight ahead, but she had deliberately shifted our relations, and 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, and I knew that first I had to get myself definitely out of that tangle back home. I'd been writing letters once a week and signing them: "Love, Nick," and all I could think of was how, when that certain girl played tennis, a faint mustache of perspiration appeared on her upper lip. Nevertheless there was a vague understanding that had to be tactfully broken off before I was free. (3.169)

Nick takes things pretty seriously: he won't even flirt with Jordan before breaking things off with his girl in Chicago. We have serious beef with this, though, because Nick's major problem seems to be that his ladyfriend is, well, real: she sweats. Pro tip: it's a lot better to fall in love with a real woman, sweat and all, than some hard golden statue. Ahem, Jordan.

Quote 3

There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and he champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his motor-boats slid the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. (3.1)

All that wealth can't fill the hole in Gatsby's heart—but it probably makes it a little easier to bear. Also, notice the insect imagery? The men and girls like "moths"; the station wagon like a "brisk yellow bug"? What's up with that?

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