The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby Jay Gatsby Quotes
"I thought you inherited your money."
"I did, old sport," he said automatically, "but I lost most of it in the big panic – the panic of the war."
I think he hardly knew what he was saying, for when I asked him what business he was in he answered, "That's my affair," before he realized that it wasn't the appropriate reply.
"Oh, I've been in several things," he corrected himself. "I was in the drug business and then I was in the oil business. But I'm not in either one now." (5.97-103)
Gatsby may lie a lot, but he's not very good at it—and that, in Nick's eyes, makes him more honest than half the fakers who come to his parties.
"I don't think she ever loved him." Gatsby turned around from a window and looked at me challengingly. "You must remember, old sport, she was very excited this afternoon. He told her those things in a way that frightened her – that made it look as if I was some kind of cheap sharper. And the result was she hardly knew what she was saying." (8.22)
Gatsby actually rewrites the past to make it look like his version of events. This is—we hate to say it—basically the equivalent of saying that "no" means "yes." In fact, for Daisy, no really does mean no this time.
"Yes," he said after a moment, "but of course I'll say I was. You see, when we left New York she was very nervous and she thought it would steady her to drive – and this woman rushed out at us just as we were passing a car coming the other way. It all happened in a minute, but it seemed to me that she wanted to speak to us, thought we were somebody she knew. Well, first Daisy turned away from the woman toward the other car, and then she lost her nerve and turned back. The second my hand reached the wheel I felt the shock – it must have killed her instantly." (7.396-398)
Gatsby immediately says that he'll take the blame. This is chivalry at work—great, right? Well, maybe, until you realize that it means women never having to take responsibility for their actions, and never having to grow up. Personally, we'll take the responsibility.