The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby Marriage Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
I saw them in Santa Barbara when they came back, and I thought I'd never seen a girl so mad about her husband. If he left the room for a minute she'd look around uneasily, and say: "Where's Tom gone?" and wear the most abstracted expression until she saw him coming in the door. She used to sit on the sand with his head in her lap by the hour, rubbing her fingers over his eyes and looking at him with unfathomable delight. It was touching to see them together – it made you laugh in a hushed, fascinated way. That was in August. A week after I left Santa Barbara Tom ran into a wagon on the Ventura road one night, and ripped a front wheel off his car. The girl who was with him got into the papers, too, because her arm was broken – she was one of the chambermaids in the Santa Barbara Hotel. (4.143)
Girls who go with Tom seem to get in trouble, whether it's Daisy's bruised fingers, this girl's broken arm, or Myrtle's mutilated chest. Yeah, we'll be avoiding this guy.
He had discovered that Myrtle had some sort of life apart from him in another world, and the shock had made him physically sick. (7.160)
George Wilson can't deal with the fact that Myrtle has a lover. It's not the sex that seems to bother him so much, but the fact that she has some sort of independent existence. Marriage is supposed to be about joining your lives, and so having a separate life is a total betrayal.
"Self-control!" repeated Tom incredulously. "I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well, if that's the idea you can count me out […] Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next they'll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white."
Flushed with his impassioned gibberish, he saw himself standing alone on the last barrier of civilization. (7.222-230)
Uh-huh. Tom is definitely the last bulwark of family values. You know, values like abusing your wife, taking mistresses, and then callously ignoring their brutal deaths.
P.S. If ever a quote were going to date a book, this would be it. We just don't think this way anymore. And thank goodness for that.