The Great Gatsby
Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Gatsby and I in turn leaned down and took the small, reluctant hand. Afterward he kept looking at the child with surprise. I don't think he had ever really believed in its existence before. (7.53)
There's nothing like meeting your former lover's child to remind you that she's really moved on. While Gatsby was busy living in the past, Daisy was engaged in the ultimate form of future-building: having a child.
"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.
No telephone message arrived, but the butler went without his sleep and waited for it until four o'clock – until long after there was any one to give it to if it came. I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn't believe it would come, and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. (8.111)
In the end, Gatsby does pay a high price for living too long with a single dream: death. Now, we're not saying that you'll end up dead if you don't give up your dream of have made Homecoming Court or a 2400 on the SAT—but we are saying that, at some point, you're probably going to have to move on.