The Great Gatsby
Isolation Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
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. (1.16-17)
Daisy and Tom's crowd may be "rich together," but this sounds an awful lot like loneliness to us.
"It'll show you how I've gotten to feel about – things. Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. 'All right,' I said, 'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool – that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.'" (1.116-118)
Daisy gives birth to her child alone—the nurse is there, but her husband is nowhere to be found. Apparently, he's not even pacing the hall with a cigar, the way dads were supposed to back in the 1920s. And that poor little girl, born alone into a lonely world. It's enough to make us reach for the tissues.
About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes -- a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. (2.1)
West Egg is connected to New York by a road and a set of train tracks. It's not isolated: in fact, the things that happen in the city end up having effects back at West Egg. Trains and other technology like automobiles seemed to decrease isolation throughout the nineteenth century—but did they? Or, like Facebook, do they just give the appearance of togetherness while making us all more and more isolated?