In the novel The Great Gatsby, readers may have thought that Chapter 7 was by far the most violent and action-filled chapter of the novel.
Hold on, readers, because Chapter 8 is about to knock your socks off.
This chapter opens the morning after Tom and Gatsby’s confrontation, Myrtle’s death, and Gatsby’s realization that perhaps Daisy isn’t quite as ready to make a life with him as he previously believed.
Chapter 8 has some of the best-known and most important quotes from The Great Gatsby that are still referred to today.
Nick Carraway’s Best Quotes from Chapter 8
This chapter opens with Nick feeling restless and unable to sleep. He feels that he must go to Gatsby’s house and warn him but isn’t sure about what.
Nick finds Gatsby half asleep in the front room, and the pair smoke some stale cigarettes. Unsure of what to say, Nick does try to give Gatsby some advice, but Gatsby won’t hear of it.
“You ought to go away”
“It’s pretty certain they’ll trace your car.”
Gatsby doesn’t consider leaving, and instead tells Nick about how he met Daisy, how they fell in love, and how he lost her as he earned his fortune after the war. Nick summarized the intensity of Gatsby’s feelings for Daisy in this sentence:
“He [Gatsby] felt married to her, that was all.”
Gatsby invites Nick to use his pool for one final time before it is drained for the year, but instead, they ended talking some more until Nick had to leave for work. He promised to call Gatsby about noon that day.
What Were Nick’s Last Words to Gatsby?
They shake hands, and as Nick walks away, he has one last thing to say to Gatsby:
“They’re a rotten crowd.”
“You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”
He again calls out to Gatsby, saying:
“I enjoyed breakfast, Gatsby.”
Nick doesn’t mean his words to sound like goodbye, but they sure make a good farewell and a compliment.
How Does The Great Gatsby Chapter 8 End?
Later that day, Nick can’t keep his mind on his work. He calls Gatsby’s house over and over, but the operator tells him that the line is being kept open for another caller.
Nick leaves work early to catch the 3:50 train back to West Egg. He has a feeling of dread, as if something horrible was going to happen. He rushes up the walkway and the servants follow.
Nick’s final sentence in Chapter 8 tells the story:
“It was after we started with Gatsby toward the house that the gardener saw Wilson’s body a little way off in the grass, and the holocaust was complete.”
They find out that George Wilson shot Gatsby and then himself.
Jordan Baker Quotes in Chapter 8
Jordan Baker calls Nick to tell him that she’s moved out of Daisy’s house. She is upset because she doesn’t feel that Nick was nice to her the night Myrtle died.
“You weren’t so nice to me last night.”
“However — I want to see you.”
She is only concerned about her feelings. However, Nick feels disgusted that Jordan finds the matter more pressing than Myrtle’s death.
How Does Nick’s Relationship with Jordan End?
After letting her feelings known, Jordan tells Nick that she wants to see him. Nicks says that he also wants to see her, but when Jordan suggests that she’s coming that afternoon, Nick shows his lack of interests and gives some vague excuse:
“No—I don’t think this afternoon.”
“It’s impossible this afternoon. Various—”
Nick then goes on to narrate that they “talked” a bit more like that, without committing to anything or meaning what they’re saying, until they just stopped talking.
This appears to be the beginning of the end of Jordan and Nick’s relationship.
Jay Gatsby’s Best Quotes from Chapter 8
By this chapter, Gatsby is probably already worn out. He spars with Tom Buchanan, Daisy hits and kills Myrtle with his car, and he has to drive her home. Then he sits outside all night, both thinking about protecting Daisy in case Tom turns violent and hoping in vain that she will come outside.
Gatsby sees Nick in the early morning and explains what he saw from the Buchanan’s house:
“I waited, and about four o’clock she came to the window and stood there for a minute and then turned out the light.”
Gatsby’s Quote about Falling in Love with Daisy
Gatsby tells Nick more about his past, as well as how he fell in love with Daisy.
“I can’t describe to you how surprised I was to find out I loved her, old sport. I even hoped for a while that she’d throw me over, but she didn’t, because she was in love with me too. She thought I knew a lot because I knew different things from her…”
Well, there I was, way off my ambitions, getting deeper in love every minute, and all of a sudden I didn’t care. What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?”
How Gatsby Gives Excuses for Daisy’s Actions
As he is telling Nick about his past, he glosses over the fact that Daisy married another man while she claimed she loved Gatsby.
“I don’t think she ever loved him.”
“You must remember, old sport, she was very excited this afternoon. He [Tom] 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.”
By this chapter, it’s already obvious to the reader that Daisy loves herself too much to compromise her future, but Gatsby is blinded by love and continues to hold onto his dreams.
Gatsby’s Last Words
Nick hesitates about leaving Gatsby that time and finds it difficult to get away. He misses several trains before finally bringing himself to the door.
He promises to call later, to which Gatsby replies:
“Do, old sport.”
They walked down the steps, and these are the final words of The Great Gatsby himself:
“I suppose Daisy’ll call too.”
Gatsby’s final words are hoping that Daisy will call him. Love, as well as hope, springs eternal.
George Wilson’s Best Quotes from Chapter 8
George is understandably heartbroken over the death of his wife. His neighbor Michaelis spends the night trying to comfort him or find someone who can.
George, in his grief, tries to explain to Michaelis what the argument he had with his wife was about and why she would run out in the street to a stranger’s car.
George points Michaelis to a drawer, where he finds an expensive-looking dog leash. It seems that their argument started with this object.
“I found it yesterday afternoon. She tried to tell me about it, but I knew it was something funny.”
The dog leash was obviously for the dog that Tom had bought Myrtle. George may have trusted his wife, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew that his wife would not have bought a dog leash for a dog they didn’t own.
George also remembers that day a couple of months ago when Myrtle went to the city and came home with a swollen nose.
Michaelis continues to comfort George and reasoning with him, but George seems to have arrived at a conclusion. He suspects Myrtle of having an affair with a man who, in George’s mind, was also her killer.
“Then he killed her.”
“I have a way of finding out.”
“He murdered her.”
Michaelis tries to remind George that it was an accident, but George has made up his mind.
“I’m one of these trusting fellas and I don’t think any harm to nobody, but when I get to know a thing I know it. It was the man in that car. She ran out to speak to him and he wouldn’t stop.”
Michaelis finally leaves to get a few hours of sleep, and while he was sleeping, George Wilson disappeared.
We know that George eventually finds Gatsby and kills him, then shoots himself, but who gave George that information? We’ll find out about that in Chapter 9 ( read The Great Gatsby Chapter 9 Quotes ).
What Are the 3 Most Significant Passages from Chapter 8?
Chapter 8 is the climax (or anti-climax if you will) of the novel, and in it are some of the most significant quotes. Of course, this is a matter of opinion, but these quotes (in no particular order) call out to the reader’s attention.
#1 Quote from Nick Carraway to Jay Gatsby:
“They’re a rotten crowd. You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”
Looking back, Nick says he is glad that he had the opportunity to tell Gatsby the only compliment he has ever told him. It’s the least that anyone could say to Jay Gatsby. For everything he did, it seemed like no one really valued his friendship except Nick.
#2 Quote from George Wilson to Michaelis:
George tells his neighbor Michaelis about his argument with Myrtle:
“I told her she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God.”
“God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me but you can’t fool God!”
Tom Buchanan and Myrtle belittle him, and you can’t find a more wronged character in the whole novel than George, yet it seems like he is the only God-fearing person in the story.
#3 Passage about Lost Dreams, Fears, and Death:
Nick sadly writes about how Gatsby’s last moments might have been – realizing that his dream is lost and death is close by:
“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.
He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass.
A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about… like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.”
Gatsby waited for the call that never came. It must have been a long, painful wait. Too painful that in the end, he must have felt relief when death finally ended his suffering.
This chapter is used by the author to demonstrate how money divides people, even in death.
Consider that all the poor (or new money) people like Gatsby, Myrtle, and George, were all killed in a violent manner. If the novel had continued, the deaths of these three would have been written off as a love triangle gone bad.
However, the reader knows the truth about the story. Daisy and Tom will not answer to a single charge. Their money and social status leave them exempt.
Jordan doesn’t seem to care about a poor woman who was hit and killed by a car. Only Nick seems to give a darn about Myrtle and Gatsby, as he marvels in disbelief that the rich appear to have no conscience, let alone feelings.
Nick will lose his innocence, and New York City, once so magical to Nick, is now tainted forever with the blood of Myrtle and George Wilson, and his friend Jay Gatsby.
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.