The Great Gatsby is, at heart, a novel about love. New love, old love, love lost and perhaps love regained.
Gatsby feels a haunting loneliness that he believes can only be filled with the love that he and Daisy once shared.
Can lost love ever be regained? Gatsby believed it could happen. Perhaps Daisy believed it was possible, but the truth is that, at least for this couple, it was not meant to be.
In the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, there are many quotes that speak of love, even if the word is not used directly.
You can quickly refer to the page number and chapter when looking for quotes about love in this article. It will be indicated in this format (chapter.page) at the end of each quote. (Side Note: You can also read all the important quotes from the Great Gatsby by Chapter here)
What Nick Carraway Says about Love
Chapter 1 – The Great Gatsby Quotes about Love
Nick may not have realized in Chapter 1 that the man he saw on the dock was Jay Gatsby (see more Quotes from Jay ), reaching out for Daisy in an attempt to reclaim the love they once shared. The quote below describes a scene of longing and love.
“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.” (1.18)
Chapters 3, 4, and 6 – Nick’s Thoughts on Love
Nick, himself, appears to be in love with a girl he had been dating in Chicago. After feeling some attraction for Jordan, he realizes that if he wants to be a gentleman, he should break things off with the girl he left behind before he even considers dating Jordan Baker.
In Chapter 3, Nick says:
“Her [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.” (3.39)
In Chapter 4, Nick suddenly realizes why Gatsby bought this particular house- it was directly across the bay from Daisy’s boat dock. If that isn’t love, what is?
Nick’s musings were:
“It was a strange coincidence,” I said.
“But it wasn’t a coincidence at all.”
“Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.” (4.50)
Romantic? Or stalker-ish? It depends on how you choose to look at it.
In Chapter 6 (see Great Gatsby Chapter 6 Quotes), as Gatsby tells Nick about how he met Daisy, it suddenly became clear to Nick that Gatsby was still in love.
“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 for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.” (6.70)
- Related Post: F Scott Fitzgerald Love Quotes
What Daisy Buchanan Says About Love
Jordan tells Nick about the night before Daisy’s wedding. She received a very expensive set of pearls from Tom and finally, a letter from Gatsby, who had promised to return from the war 5 years earlier.
- Related Post: Gatsby and Daisy Quotes
Chapter 4 – Daisy Buchanan Changes Her Mind
Jordan tells Nick what Daisy Buchanan said that night in Chapter 4:
“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!” (4.48)
Despite the fact that Daisy changed her mind, she did what was expected of her and married Tom the next morning.
Chapter 5 – Daisy and Gatsby Meet Again in West Egg
Daisy and Gatsby finally meet again at Nick’s house in Chapter 5. Here’s how Nick describes the meeting:
“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.” (5.56)
Chapter 7 – Tom Recognizes the Love Daisy Feels for Gatsby
In Chapter 7 (see The Great Gatsby Chapter 7 Quotes), Daisy speaks openly about her love for Gatsby, even though she doesn’t use that word. Tom recognizes what Daisy is saying and is furious-
“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 someone he knew a long time ago.” (7.74)
Tom, always the hypocrite, doesn’t think of his affairs as important, but he is suddenly very concerned about Daisy’s.
What Jay Gatsby Says about Love
Just before they meet, Nick describes how the green light on Daisy’s dock was about to change for Gatsby. It was no longer love out of reach but love that was right before his eyes.
Chapters 5 and 6 – The Great Gatsby Love Quotes Revealing Gatsby’s Plan to Relive the Past
In Chapter 5 ( see The Great Gatsby Chapter 5 Quotes ), Nick describes Gatsby’s reaction-
“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.” (5.59)
In Chapter 6, Gatsby makes it clear to both Nick and Daisy that he intends to relive the past, and make things right with Daisy as he wished he could have done 5 years earlier-
He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: “I never loved you.” After she had obliterated four years with that sentence they could decide upon the more practical measures to be taken.
One of them was that, after she was free, they were to go back to Louisville and be married from her house – just as if it were five years ago. (6.69)
Chapters 7 and 8 – Great Gatsby Quotes about the Love Daisy Has for Him
Since Daisy appears to be taking too long to say the words Gatsby wants to hear, he says them to Tom directly in Chapter 7-
“Your wife doesn’t love you,” said Gatsby. “She’s never loved you. She loves me.” (6.81)
Confused by Daisy’s behavior, Gatsby makes excuses for Daisy in Chapter 8-
“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?” (8.93)
No matter how hard a person might wish for something to be, wishing doesn’t create reality.
The Final Analysis
There are many quotes about love in The Great Gatsby. Some of them quite sad, others quite profound, but the fact remains that no matter how blue gardens and cooling twilight meetings one might have, love lost cannot always be love regained.
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.