In what has been referred to as “The Great American Novel“, author F. Scott Fitzgerald probably had no idea that 100 years in the future, people would still be quoting his Great Gatsby book.
Two of the main characters, Jay Gatsby (aka James Gatz) and Daisy Buchanan are not only infatuated with one another but also have some truly great quotes that still apply today.
This novel has a tragic ending, and it reminds us that not everything in life is as grand as it appears, no matter how much money a person has.
Let’s dive into the best quotes from both Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan.
Daisy Buchanan: The Object Jay Gatsby’s Affections
Best Known and Well-Loved Jay Gatsby Quotes
Throughout the book, it’s fairly obvious that Gatsby has one term for every male that he meets, which is “Old Sport”.
This is a phrase Gatsby learned from Dan Cody, the rich man with whom he spent his teens and early 20s. Cody taught Gatsby how to talk, dress, and act like a gentleman from old money ( read more on Great Gatsby Money Quotes ).
Today, “old sport” is not often heard, but in its place, you might hear “Sir”, “My Man”, or “Good Sir”.
Jay Gatsby Quotes About Daisy and Their Relationship
Most of what Gatsby says about Daisy are relayed to the reader through Nick’s narration, but there are a few direct quotes from Gatsby, such this:
“And she doesn’t understand.”
“She used to be able to understand. We’d sit for hours—”
It suddenly dawns on Gatsby that Daisy and the circumstances surrounding them have changed. It has taken him a long time to make the realization, and the thought crushes him.
Perhaps Gatsby’s most famous quote would be his reply to Nick Carraway (learn about Nick Carraway character traits here) when Nick tells him that you can’t repeat the past.
“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!”
Gatsby’s refusal to be realistic is eventually his demise.
The Top 10 Quotes from Jay Gatsby
In addition to the previous two quotes, Gatsby is perhaps best known for saying:
“He reached in his pocket and a piece of metal, slung on a ribbon, fell into my palm.‘That’s the one from Montenegro.’To my astonishment, the thing had an authentic look.Orderi di Danilo, ran the circular legend, Montenegro, Nicolas Rex.‘Turn it.’Major Jay Gatsby, I read, For Valour Extraordinary.”
Here, Gatsby is trying to impress Nick but comes across as a liar instead.
In Chapter 4, Gatsby takes Nick to New York for lunch. He tries to impress Nick and hopes that he will believe the stories he tells about his past.
‘Your place looks like the World’s Fair,’ I said. ‘Does it?’ He turned his eyes toward it absently. ‘I have been glancing into some of the rooms. Let’s go to Coney Island, old sport. In my car.’ ‘It’s too late.’ ‘Well, suppose we take a plunge in the swimming-pool? I haven’t made use of it all summer.’ ‘I’ve got to go to bed.’ ‘All right.’
In Chapter 5, Nick and Gatsby meet outside his home. Gatsby tries to both befriend and bedazzle Nick, but Nick is a working man who has business to attend to.
“If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay… You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.”
Also from Chapter 5 ( Read Chapter 5 Quotes from The Great Gatsby ) this quote is when Daisy realizes that Gatsby bought this particular house because it was directly across from her boat dock.
‘Her voice is full of money,’ he said suddenly. That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money – that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it.
In Chapter 7, Gatsby describes Daisy’s voice to Nick.
‘Your wife doesn’t love you,’ said Gatsby. ‘She’s never loved you. She loves me.’
In Chapter 7, Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby have a show-down at the New York Hotel. Gatsby tells Tom what he wishes Daisy would say.
‘Yes,’ he said after a moment, ‘but of course I’ll say I was. You see, when we left New York she was very nervous and she thought it would steady her to drive – and this woman rushed out at us just as we were passing a car coming the other way. It all happened in a minute, but it seemed to me that she wanted to speak to us, thought we were somebody she knew. Well, first Daisy turned away from the woman toward the other car, and then she lost her nerve and turned back. The second my hand reached the wheel I felt the shock – it must have killed her instantly.’
Also from Chapter 7, this quote is when Nick discovers that Daisy was actually driving when the car hit and killed Myrtle Wilson.
‘By the way, Mr. Gatsby, I understand you’re an Oxford man.’ ‘Not exactly.’ ‘Oh, yes, I understand you went to Oxford.’ ‘Yes – I went there.’ Pause. Then Tom’s voice, incredulous and insulting: ‘You must have gone there about the time Biloxi went to New Haven.’ Another pause. A waiter knocked and came in with crushed mint and ice, but the silence was unbroken by his ‘thank you’ and the soft closing of the door. This tremendous detail was to be cleared up at last. ‘I told you I went there,’ said Gatsby. ‘I heard you, but I’d like to know when.’ ‘It was in nineteen-nineteen, I only stayed five months. That’s why I can’t really call myself an Oxford man.’
The party at the hotel in Chapter 7 turns a bit ugly as Tom starts to grill Gatsby about the truth.
‘I found out what your drug-stores were.’ He turned to us and spoke rapidly. ‘He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong.’ ‘What about it?’ said Gatsby politely. ‘I guess your friend Walter Chase wasn’t too proud to come in on it.’
Gatsby is caught in a lie in Chapter 7, but he points out Tom’s hypocrisy quite plainly.
‘What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do.’
Gatsby in Chapter 8 telling Nick about the day he met Daisy.
‘I don’t think she ever loved him.’ Gatsby turned around from a window and looked at me challengingly. ‘You must remember, old sport, she was very excited this afternoon. He told her those things in a way that frightened her – that made it look as if I was some kind of cheap sharper. And the result was she hardly knew what she was saying.’ He sat down gloomily. ‘Of course she might have loved him just for a minute, when they were first married – and loved me more even then, do you see?’
From Chapter 8, Gatsby tries to convince himself (and Nick) that his dream is still possible and that he hasn’t lost Daisy again.
Quotes About Gatsby’s Obsession with Daisy
It’s apparent that Gatsby has been obsessed with the idea of having Daisy for his wife since the day they met.
Gatsby spent 5 years trying to make that dream come true. Some of the most famous quotes that demonstrate this are:
“His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch, she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”
This is where the obsession started. Gatsby kisses Daisy and he fell in love instantly.
“He looked at her the way all women want to be looked at by a man.”
Even Nick could see that Gatsby was hopelessly in love with his cousin Daisy simply from the way he looked at her.
“He had passed visibly through two states and was entering upon a third. After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy, he was consumed with wonder at her presence. He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an overwound clock.”
In Chapter 5, when Daisy and Gatsby are finally reunited, Nick describes how Gatsby must have felt upon finally attaining his prize.
“I wouldn’t ask too much of her,” I ventured. “You can’t repeat the past.”
“Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!”
He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.
“I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,” he said, nodding determinedly. “She’ll see.”
This is the complete quote where Gatsby not only refuses to believe Nick (see more Quotes from Jay Gatsby here or Other Quotes about Jay Gatsby Here), but he also believes that by “fixing everything as it was before” he could somehow wipe out the 5 years that had passed, remove Tom Buchanan, and who knows what his plans were for Daisy’s daughter.
“As I went over to say goodbye, I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
As Nick prepares to leave Daisy and Gatsby, he can see that while Gatsby’s dream of having Daisy may have faltered at times, he had finally acquired what he had worked so hard for.
‘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.’
Even the hypocritical Tom Buchanan can see that Gatsby and Daisy are in love with one another, and he’s quite upset because this is something he can’t control.
Daisy Buchanan’s Best Known and Well-Loved Quotes
The beautiful but fickle and selfish Daisy Buchanan at first appears to be the victim in this love story.
Cheated on by her husband almost from the start, Daisy has a daughter, Pammy. Her most famous quote is about the day she gave birth to her daughter. This is how she describes the entire event to her cousin Nick Carraway:
“It will show you how I’ve gotten to feel about things. Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
Daisy is obviously disillusioned by her life already. She believes that her daughter will grow up and marry a man like Tom. The best Daisy can hope for is that her daughter never knows that her husband will lie and cheat on her.
This goes along with Daisy’s second most famous quote, also from the first chapter-
“You see I think everything’s terrible anyhow,” she went on in a very convinced way. “Everybody thinks so- the most advanced people. And I know. I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.” Her eyes flashed around her in a defiant way, rather like Tom’s, and she laughed with thrilling scorn. “Sophisticated! God, I’m sophisticated!”
At the tender age of 23, Daisy is already cynical and bitter, believing she’s seen so much of the world that it no longer interests her.
These quotes might make one believe that Daisy is the victim, but is she really?
The Top 10 Quotes from Daisy Buchanan
Daisy may feel powerless, but she’s a victim of her own choices.
Some of the best-known quotes from Daisy include:
‘I’m p-paralyzed with happiness.’ She laughed again, as if she said something very witty, and held my hand for a moment, looking up into my face, promising that there was no one in the world she so much wanted to see. That was a way she had.
When Nick meets up with his cousin Daisy after many years, he’s thrilled to see that she seems to be happy to see him.
In two weeks, it will be the longest day in the year. Do you always plan for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it.
Daisy seems to feel that although she can see the best things in life, they are passing her by.
“You did it, Tom. I know you didn’t mean to, but you did it. That’s what I get for marrying a brute of a man, a great, big, hulking physical specimen.”
Tom hates the word hulking, so in her petty revenge, Daisy uses it as often as possible.
“You must know Gatsby.”
“Gatsby?” demanded Daisy. “What Gatsby?”
This quote shows us that Daisy, even after 5 years, has not forgotten Gatsby.
“We can’t lose each other and let all this glorious love end in nothing. Come home. I’ll be here waiting and hoping for every long dream of you to come true.”
Daisy tells Gatsby these words in a letter, but she doesn’t seem to mean them since soon after writing this letter, she marries Tom Buchanan.
“Here, dearis.” She groped around in a waste-basket she had with her on the bed and pulled out the string of pearls. “Take ’em downstairs and give ’em back to whoever they belong to. Tell ’em all Daisy’s change’ her mine. Say ‘Daisy’s change’ her mine!’.”
She began to cry—she cried and cried. I rushed out and found her mother’s maid and we locked the door and got her into a cold bath. She wouldn’t let go of the letter. She took it into the tub with her and squeezed it up into a wet ball, and only let me leave it in the soap dish when she saw that it was coming to pieces like snow.
But she didn’t say another word. We gave her spirits of ammonia and put ice on her forehead and hooked her back into her dress and half an hour later when we walked out of the room the pearls were around her neck and the incident was over. Next day at five o’clock she married Tom Buchanan without so much as a shiver and started off on a three months’ trip to the South Seas.
In Chapter 4, Jordan Baker tells Nick about what happened on the night before Daisy’s wedding to Tom. While Daisy could have backed out of the marriage, she decided that one ring on the finger tomorrow was worth more than a possible ring in the future.
“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.”
In this quote from Chapter 5, Daisy is crying because she suddenly realizes that not only does she have Gatsby back, but he’s as rich as she could possibly want and for a moment, Daisy is happy.
“What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon,” cried Daisy, “and the day after that, and the next thirty years?”
In Chapter 7, Daisy is trying to work up the nerve to tell Tom that she wants to leave him but she can’t quite bring herself to do it.
“Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby. “I love you now—isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past.” She began to sob helplessly. “I did love him once—but I loved you too.”
Daisy can’t bring herself to say that she never loved Tom, although Gatsby desperately wants her to do so.
“I never loved him,” she said, with perceptible reluctance.
“Not at Kapiolani?” demanded Tom suddenly.
From the ballroom beneath, muffled and suffocating chords were drifting up on hot waves of air.
“Not that day I carried you down from the Punch Bowl to keep your shoes dry?” There was a husky tenderness in his tone. “… Daisy?”
In Chapter 7 ( learn about the best Great Gatsby Chapter 7 Quotes ) while Daisy tries to tell Tom the words that Gatsby wants her to say, she can’t deny what Tom is telling her.
There is no doubt that Daisy loves Gatsby and most likely loved Tom at one point, but she can’t seem to make up her mind between the love she feels for Gatsby and the social status she has with her husband.
Quotes from Others About Gatsby and Daisy
Of course, all the characters in the novel have something to say about Gatsby and Daisy. Some have positive things to say, some have negative things to say, and some of the things that are said are outright lies.
“They were sitting at either end of the couch looking at each other as if some question had been asked or was in the air, and every vestige of embarrassment was gone. Daisy’s face was smeared with tears and when I came in she jumped up and began wiping at it with her handkerchief before a mirror. But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room”
After being nervous, the love between Gatsby and Daisy was apparent especially to Nick.
“Some time toward midnight, Tom Buchanan and Mrs. Wilson stood face to face discussing in impassioned voices whether Mrs. Wilson had any right to mention Daisy’s name.
“Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!” shouted Mrs. Wilson. ‘I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai——’
Making a short deft movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.”
Gatsby is not the only one living in a dream. Tom seems to believe that if his mistress never speaks his wife’s name, he’s not really cheating on her.
“There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind, and as we drove away, Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic. His wife and his mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control. “
In this quote, Nick shows how simple-minded Tom becomes unhinged at the thought of losing control of either his mistress, his wife, or both.
“And if you think I didn’t have my share of suffering—look here, when I went to give up that flat and saw that damn box of dog biscuits sitting there on the sideboard I sat down and cried like a baby. By God it was awful——”
After Myrtle is killed by the speeding car, Tom reveals that he did have some feelings for Myrtle, which would be the ultimate betrayal if Daisy were to find out.
“Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”
Nick notes that while Gatsby had acquired the one thing he had longed for, he also had lost something that he had- the hope that the green dock light had given him.
“Tom was evidently perturbed at Daisy’s running around alone, for on the following Saturday night, he came with her to Gatsby’s party. Perhaps his presence gave the evening its peculiar quality of oppressiveness—it stands out in my memory from Gatsby’s other parties that summer.”
Even the dense Tom Buchanan began to realize that something was going on, and he became concerned with where and what his wife might be doing when she was alone.
“No telephone message arrived, but the butler went without his sleep and waited for it until four o’clock—until long after there was any one to give it to if it came. I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true, he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.”
As Gatsby waited for Daisy’s phone call, he is killed by Myrtle’s husband, George. Nick speculates that perhaps Gatsby had lost his dream of loving Daisy. Or perhaps not.
Nick, disgusted with the ultra-rich and their lack of morals decides to move back to the Midwest.
He’s filled with disdain for people like Daisy and Tom, but he ends up with respect and admiration for Jay Gatsby, the man who almost acquired the American Dream. The man who only wanted love. The man who was everything Tom and Daisy were not.
This is a tragic story about love, marriage, money, and the pursuit of happiness.
Through the character of Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald seems to express his belief that life is depressing, fatalistic, and that our dreams are always unattainable.
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Kerry Wisby is the owner & founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com, your go-to source for all things 1920s & The Great Gatsby. With a passion for the era & a wealth of knowledge to share, Kerry is dedicated to providing you with everything you need to know about Roaring 20s fashion, 1920s history, & Great Gatsby-themed party ideas. Join Kerry in bringing the spirit of the Roaring 20s to life! Read more about Kerry here.