The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Most of those reports were a nightmare – grotesque, circumstantial, eager, and untrue. When Michaelis's testimony at the inquest brought to light Wilson's suspicions of his wife I thought the whole tale would shortly be served up in racy pasquinade – but Catherine, who might have said anything, didn't say a word. She showed a surprising amount of character about it too – looked at the coroner with determined eyes under that corrected brow of hers, and swore that her sister had never seen Gatsby, that her sister was completely happy with her husband, that her sister had been into no mischief whatever. She convinced herself of it, and cried into her handkerchief, as if the very suggestion was more than she could endure. So Wilson was reduced to a man "deranged by grief," in order that the case might remain in its simplest form. And it rested there. (9.2)
The whole sordid story almost blows up in everyone's face, but Myrtle's sister saves it. George Wilson gets a kind of dignity in death that he didn't have in life: instead of a cuckold, he's a grieving husband.
We straggled down quickly through the rain to the cars. Owl-eyes spoke to me by the gate.
"I couldn't get to the house," he remarked.
"Neither could anybody else."
"Go on!" He started. "Why, my God! They used to go there by the hundreds." He took off his glasses and wiped them again, outside and in.
"The poor son-of-a-bitch," he said. (9.114-122)
Owl-eyes is the one person who seems to feel sorry for Gatsby, besides his father and Nick. Why? What does he see that everyone else doesn't?
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter – to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning –
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. (9.152-153)
The problem with chasing the future is that you just end up chasing your own death. Andrew Marvell even wrote a poem about it.