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The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby


by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby Tom Buchanan Quotes

He broke off defiantly. "What if I did tell him? That fellow had it coming to him. He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy's, but he was a tough one. He ran over Myrtle like you'd run over a dog and never even stopped his car."

There was nothing I could say, except the one unutterable fact that it wasn't true. (9.142-43)

Sometimes honesty isn't the best policy. Gatsby's dead, and Nick has to protect Daisy; he has to lie to keep her safe. Busted! Guess Nick isn't so honest after all. Or, is this actually the more honest and moral choice? Tricky.

"Did you give Nick a little heart-to-heart talk on the veranda?" demanded Tom suddenly.

"Did I?" She looked at me. "I can't seem to remember, but I think we talked about the Nordic race. Yes, I'm sure we did. It sort of crept up on us and first thing you know–"

"Don't believe everything you hear, Nick," he advised me. (1.137-143)

The first rule of marriage is: Don't talk about marriage. Tom is worried that Daisy's been airing their dirty laundry—which is its own form of 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.