The Great Gatsby
How we cite our quotes:
"Have you got a church you go to sometimes, George? Maybe even if you haven’t been there for a long time? Maybe I could call up the church and get a priest to come over and he could talk to you, see?
"Don’t belong to any."
"You ought to have a church, George, for times like this. You must have gone to church once. Didn’t you get married in a church? Listen, George, listen to me. Didn’t you get married in a church?"
"That was a long time ago." (8.74-76)
Even the most religious character in the text, George, has little use for institutionalized religion.
"I spoke to her," he muttered, after a long silence. "I told her she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God. I took her to the window" – with an effort he got up and walked to the rear window and leaned with his face pressed against it – "and I said ‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!’"
Standing behind him, Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, which had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night.
"God sees everything," repeated Wilson.
"That’s an advertisement," Michaelis assured him. Something made him turn away from the window and look back into the room. But Wilson stood there a long time, his face close to the window pane, nodding into the twilight. (8.103-106)
Wilson believes that the one being that has the right to judge is God – even while he judges his own wife. This is an interesting notion to compare to Nick’s opening lines: that one should not criticize (another form of judging). Seen in this light, Nick’s father’s advice takes on a religious tone.
"You see," cried Catherine triumphantly. She lowered her voice again. "It’s really his wife that's keeping them apart. She's a Catholic, and they don't believe in divorce." Daisy was not a Catholic, and I was a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie.
"When they do get married," continued Catherine, "they're going West to live for a while until it blows over." (2.97-99)
When we read this, it hit us that religion is pretty much absent from all the characters’ lives. Here it only serves as an excuse for Tom’s not marrying Myrtle.