* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Religion Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg.

The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic – their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground. (2.2)

The T. J. Eckleburg billboard certainly stands out. Later in the novel, Wilson remarks that his wife’s wrongdoings can’t escape the eyes of God, then looks at the two gigantic eyes on the billboard outside. Eckleburg’s constant gaze is definitely ominous, since so much immoral activity is constantly going on – especially in the Valley of Ashes. For more on Eckelburg, check out "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory."
Quote #5

We waited for her down the road and out of sight.

It was a few days before the Fourth of July, and a gray, scrawny Italian child was setting torpedoes in a row along the railroad track.

"Terrible place, isn't it," said Tom, exchanging a frown with Doctor Eckleburg.

"Awful."

"It does her good to get away."

"Doesn’t her husband object?"

"Wilson? He thinks she goes to see her sister in New York. He’s so dumb he doesn't know he’s alive."

So Tom Buchanan and his girl and I went up together to New York – or not quite together, for Mrs. Wilson sat discreetly in another car. Tom deferred that much to the sensibilities of those East Eggers who might be on the train. (2.22-28)

We think it’s interesting that Tom and Eckelburg exchange frowns. It’s like Tom is staring defiantly at a disapproving God, angry that anybody would dare judge him. You could interpret that as Tom being condescending even to God. Also, if that’s how you want to interpret those frowns, isn’t it ironic that Myrtle and Tom don’t share the same train to New York to avoid judgment of other East Eggers? It seems almost as if the judgments of other people are more important to them God’s.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement