Study Guide

The Great Gatsby: Love Quotes

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Love

 
Chapter 1
Nick Carraway

I decided to call to him. Miss Baker had mentioned him at dinner, and that would do for an introduction. But I didn't call to him, for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone—he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness. (1.152)

Love the one you're with, or love the one you were with? Gatsby reaches forward, but he's really reaching back into the past to a Daisy who doesn't exist anymore. Yeah, this relationship is doomed.

Chapter 3
Nick Carraway

[Jordan's] gray, sun-strained eyes stared straight ahead, but she had deliberately shifted our relations, and for a moment I thought I loved her. But I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires, and I knew that first I had to get myself definitely out of that tangle back home. I'd been writing letters once a week and signing them: "Love, Nick," and all I could think of was how, when that certain girl played tennis, a faint mustache of perspiration appeared on her upper lip. Nevertheless there was a vague understanding that had to be tactfully broken off before I was free. (3.169)

Nick takes things pretty seriously: he won't even flirt with Jordan before breaking things off with his girl in Chicago. We have serious beef with this, though, because Nick's major problem seems to be that his ladyfriend is, well, real: she sweats. Pro tip: it's a lot better to fall in love with a real woman, sweat and all, than some hard golden statue. Ahem, Jordan.

Chapter 4
Nick Carraway

"It was a strange coincidence," I said.

"But it wasn't a coincidence at all."

"Why not?"

"Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay." (4.137-140)

This is the rich-people equivalent of getting your contact in the office to rearrange the lockers so you can be near your crush. Not so much coincidence as, yep, creepy and stalker-ish. Or beautifully romantic. Your pick.

Daisy Buchanan

"Here, deares'." She groped around in a waste-basket she had with her on the bed and pulled out the string of pearls. "Take 'em down-stairs and give 'em back to whoever they belong to. Tell 'em all Daisy's change' her mind. Say: 'Daisy's change' her mine!'" (4.129)

Talk about cold feet. Daisy knows that the fabulously expensive string of pearls that Tom gave her is about to become a chain. When she's drunk, she wants to change her mind and marry the man she truly loves. In the cold and sober (and probably a little hungover) light of day, however, she does what she was born to do: marry the rich guy.

"When I said you were a friend of Tom's, he started to abandon the whole idea. He doesn't know very much about Tom, though he says he's read a Chicago paper for years just on the chance of catching a glimpse of Daisy's name." (4.152)

Love? Or stalker-ish obsession? Do you think he has some creepy stalker wall in a secret room of his house? We wouldn't be surprised.

Chapter 5
Daisy Buchanan

Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.

"They're such beautiful shirts," she sobbed, her voice muffled in the think folds. "It makes me sad because I've never seen such – such beautiful shirts before." (5.118-119)

Talk about love. Daisy is so in love with Gatsby that she can't even handle being near his shirts. Or is something else going on here?

Nick Carraway

He hadn't once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions in a dazed way, as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real. Once he nearly toppled down a flight of stairs. (5.112)

We've all been there, right? (Or we can imagine it.) Your crush finally agrees to go out with you, and somehow everything is different. The whole world seems to disappear, and it's just the two of you prancing through fields and ignoring the imminent destruction of the universe. Or the stairs.

Chapter 7
Tom Buchanan

He nodded sagely. "And what's more, I love Daisy too. Once in a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time." (7.251-252)

It's totally okay for Tom to have his little affairs, because he really loves Daisy. Yeah, we're so sure that excuse works for her.

Daisy Buchanan

"Who wants to go to town?" demanded Daisy insistently. Gatsby's eyes floated toward her. "Ah," she cried, "you look so cool."

Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table.

"You always look so cool," she repeated.

She had told him that she loved him, and Tom Buchanan saw. He was astounded. His mouth opened a little, and he looked at Gatsby, and then back at Daisy as if he had just recognized her as some one he knew a long time ago. (7.79-82)

Rich people—they can't say anything directly. Everything is done through innuendo and suggestion—like Daisy's bizarre confession of love.

Chapter 9
Jordan Baker

"Nevertheless you did throw me over," said Jordan suddenly. "You threw me over on the telephone. I don't give a damn about you now, but it was a new experience for me, and I felt a little dizzy for a while." (9.129)

You know how text messaging and online dating have supposedly changed dating? Well, new technologies like cars and telephones were doing the same thing at the beginning of the twentieth century. Can you imagine if Daisy had had Snapchat?