Selected Quotations: Pithy Pellets

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Pithy Pellets, Claire Armin

Pithy: of language or style, concise or forcefully expressive.

Pellets: pellet are small particle typically created by compressing an original.

Selected quotations from an undated booklet, titled Pithy Pellets, compiled by Claire Armin.

*unattributed / unknown


“A person who aims at nothing usually hits it.” *


“The habit of being happy enables one to he freed, or largely freed, from the domination of outward conditions.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson


“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem, but whether you are dealing with the same problem you had last year.” *


“To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.”

– Will Durant


“Eventually, why not now.” *


“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

– Aldous Huxley


“Time goes you say? Ah, no! Alas, time stays; we go.” *


“A mediocre plan, well executed, is better than an excellent plan, poorly executed.”

– Napoleon Bonaparte


“Whatever you dislike in another person be sure to correct it in yourself.” *


“Every man carries with him the world in which he must live.”

– J.M. Crawford


“We do not see things as they are, but as we are.”

– Tomlinson


“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in a year as we make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year, while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.”

– Charles Richards


“The size of a man can be measured by the size of a thing that makes him angry.”

– J.K. Merely


“A committee of one gets things done.”

– Joe Ryan


“One often contradicts an argument when what is really uncongenial is the tone in which it is conveyed.”

– Nietzsche


“Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.” *


“A great leader takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”

– Arnold Glascow


“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”

– Saadi


“What you are to be, you are now becoming.” *


“The difference between a conviction and a pleasure is that you can explain a conviction without getting angry.” *


“The best measure of a man’s mentality is the importance of the things he will argue about.” *


“Fools can make money. It takes a wise man to know how to spend it.”

– English proverb


“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have trying to change others.”

– Arnold Glasgow


“Much happiness is overlooked because it didn’t cost anything.”

– Forbes


“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“The true art of memory is the art of attention.”

– Johnson


“Character is a victory not a gift.” *


“No two people ever met and were the same ever again” *


“Judging others is a dangerous thing; not so much as you will make mistakes about them but because you may reveal the truth about yourself.”

– Philemon


“There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.”

– French proverb


“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” *


“Responsibilities gravitate to the man who can shoulder them.”

– Elbert Hubbard


“Every man should endeavor to belong to himself.” *


“Politeness is better than logic; you can often persuade when you cannot convince.”

– W.W. Shaw


“All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them but confront them.

– William S. Halsey


“Lampis, the shipowner, on being asked how he acquired his great wealth, replied, “My great wealth was acquired with no difficulty, but my small wealth, my first gains, with much labor.

– Epictetus


“If you want to know whether you will be as success or failure in life, you can easily find out. The test is simple and infallible. Are you able to save money?”

– James J. Hill


“Let us not complain against men because of their rudeness, their ingratitude, their arrogance, their love of self, their forgetfulness of others. They are so made. Such is their nature. To be annoyed with them is like denouncing a stone for falling, or a fire for burning.”

– Jean De La Bruyere


“Variety is the spice of life, but it takes monotony to finance it.”

– Arnold Glasgow


“The less a fellow knows, the more eager he is to prove it to anybody who will listen.” *


“Genius is the ability to evade work by doing something right the first time it has to be done.” *


“The haves and the have-nots can often be traced back to the did and the did-nots.”

– D.O. Flynn


“It’s not what you would do with a million
    if it should fall to your lot.
But what you are doing today
    with the dollar and a quarter you’ve got.” *


“A great number of people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

– William James

The Song I Sing As a Man

I am so terribly happy, I find myself stupefied by my undeniable joy.

Never have I, alone, felt anything like this; and it’s not the transitory kind of happiness either – my disposition seems to have altered; although, it’s not without cause. I’ve doubled down on my boyhood dreams, put my money where my mouth is, and invested in myself as a boy wishes to do when he is a man. Furthermore, I returned to the simple, instinctual joys of my childhood – those natural, comforting acts and habits in which one’s soul receives communion from the steady, centering spirit of the earth. But as we age, the ego emerges and we slowly abandon ourselves, eventually burying any sense of duty to the self, sometimes for decades, sometimes forever. I’m just one of the charmed, fortunate fools who rediscovered something lost long ago; lost long before I knew heartbreak; lost long before I lost faith in myself, for a time, that time not so long ago.

Today I’m again happy as only a boy is, as only one is who has not yet lost the unblemished optimism of youth, the hope of boyhood, and the innocence of promises whispered to teddy bears.

Back then, long before I carried this scar on my brow and this sorrow in my heart, I spent every free waking moment with my unsullied face in a book, the stories a balm on the dimples of my heart, still faint impressions formed by a world less perfect than the ideals of my ten-year-old heart.

Today, the boy who grew up lost in a book has found himself again in the libraries of time and in the words of his heroes, strangers who told the world their secrets: as a boy whispers them to his stuffed animals.

These, beautiful, peace-filled days pass in books and walks and endeavors meant to shape the world, at least, the world I live in.

It’s been said that happiness is the absence of neurosis, and I have discovered this to be true, for I have not a love, nor a fortune, nor a magical secret – but I smile as one who does, knowing I will.

I’ve realized the gift in losing, the freedom in uncertainty, and the rapturous joy to be found in the treasures of the heart. For this heart is mine and I’ve been to hell and back with it. And I’ll be damned if I ever forget the song in it again: the song I learned as a boy; the song I sing as a man.

Passages: Gift From The Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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Anne Morrow Lindbergh

In 1955 a forty-nine-year-old Anne Morrow Lindberg (Wife to famed aviator Charles Lindbergh) spent two weeks alone in a New England coastal cottage, where she penned her thoughts on aging, relationships, solitude, being a woman, and caring for the soul. Sixty years and three million copies in forty-three languages later, Gift From The Sea remains a highly relevant work of inspirational literature. Lyrical prose and uncommon insights elevate this book above the genre.


Copyright 1955, Pantheon Paperback Edition, 1997

The heart’s desire for grace

“I want to give and take from my children and husband, to share with friends and community, to carry out my obligations to man and to the world, as a woman, as an artist, as a citizen.

But I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the language of the saints – to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible.

I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and the inward man be at one.” I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”

– p. 23


The Balancing Act

“For life today in America is based on the premise of ever-widening circles of contact and communication. It involves not only family demands, but community demands, national demands, international demands on the good citizen, through social and cultural pressures, through newspapers, magazines, radio programs, political drives, charitable appeals, and so on. My mind reels with it. What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives. It puts the trapeze artist to shame. Look at us. We run a tight rope daily, balancing a pile of books on the head. Baby-carriage, parasol, kitchen chair, still under control. Steady now!”

– p. 26


The Contemplative

“How desirable and how distant is the ideal of the contemplative, artist, or saint – the inner inviolable core, the single eye.”

– p. 29


Shedding the mask of insincerity

“The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask.”

– p. 32


Grey hairs and cobwebs

“The unfinished beams in the roof are veiled by cobwebs. They are lovely, I think, gazing up at them with new eyes; they soften the hard lines of the rafters as grey hairs soften the lines on a middle-aged face. I no longer pull out grey hairs or sweep down cobwebs.”

– p. 33


Our fear of being alone and the vacuum of our inner life

“We seem so frightened today of being alone that we never let it happen. Even if family, friends, and movies should fail, there is still the radio or television to fill up the void. Women, who used to complain of loneliness, need never be alone any more. We can do our housework with soap opera heroes at our side. Even daydreaming was more creative than this; it demanded something of oneself and it fed the inner life. Now, instead of planting our solitude with our own dream blossoms, we choke the space with continuous music, chatter, and companionship to which we do not even listen. It is simply there to fill the vacuum. When the noise stops there is no inner music to take its place. We must re-learn to be alone.”

– pp. 41, 42


Spiritual isolation and the wilderness of the mind

“For it is not physical solitude that actually separates one from other men, not physical isolation, but spiritual isolation. It is not the desert island nor the stony wilderness that cuts you from the people you love. It is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. When one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too.”

– p. 44


Among the most important times in one’s life

“Actually these are among the most important times in one’s life – when one is alone. Certain springs are tapped only when one is alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray.”

– p. 50


The problem of the stirring, hungry soul

“The problem is not entirely in finding the room of one’s own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as this is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities. In fact, the problem is how to feed the soul.”

– p. 51


Feeding the center

“Nothing feeds the center so much as creative work, even humble kinds like cooking and sewing. Baking bread, weaving cloth, putting up preserves, teaching and singing to children, must have been far more nourishing than being the family chauffeur or shopping at super-markets.”

– p. 53


The Kingdom of Heaven

“Men, too, are being forced to look inward – to find inner solutions as well as outer ones. Perhaps this change marks a new stage of maturity for modern, extrovert, activist, materialistic Western man. Can it be he is beginning to realize the kingdom of heaven is within?”

– p. 58


On relationships, and refinding oneself

“With each partner hungry for different reasons and each misunderstanding the other’s needs, it is easy to fall apart or into late love affairs. The temptation is to blame the situation on the other person and to accept the easy solution that a new and more understanding partner will solve everything.

But neither woman nor man are likely to be fed by another relationship which seems easier because it is at an earlier stage. Such a love affair cannot really bring back a sense of identity. Certainly, one has the illusion that one will find oneself in being loved for what one really is, not for a collection of functions. But can one actually find oneself in someone else? In someone else’s love? Or even in the mirror someone else holds up for one? I believe that true identity is found, as Eckhart once said, by “going into one’s own ground and knowing oneself.” It is found in creative activity springing from within. It is found, paradoxically, when one loses oneself. One must lose one’s life to find it. Woman can best refind herself by losing herself in some of creative activity of her own. Here she will be able to refind her strength, the strength she needs to look and work at the second half of the problem – the neglected pure relationship. Only a refound person can refind a personal relationship.”

– pp. 68-69


Rediscovering the double-sunrise

“One way of rediscovering the double-sunrise is to duplicate some of its circumstances. Husband and wife can and should go off on vacations alone and also on vacations alone together. For if it is possible that a woman can find herself by having a vacation alone, it is equally possible that the original relationship can sometimes be refound by having a vacation alone together.”

– p. 70


One-and-only, moments

“For not only do we insist on believing romantically in the “one-and-only” – the one-and-only love, the one and only mate, the one-and-only security – we wish the “one and only” to be permanent, ever-present and continuous. The desire for continuity of being-loved-alone seems to me “the error bred in the bone” of man. For “there is no one and only,” as a friend of mine once said in a similar discussion, “there are just one-and-only moments.”

– pp. 72-73


The fallacy of the permanent relationship

“One comes in the end to realize that there is no permanent pure-relationship and there should not be. It is not even something to be desired. The pure relationship is limited, in space and in time. In its essence it implies exclusion. It excludes the rest of life, other relationships, other sides of personality, other responsibilities, other possibilities in the future. It excludes growth.”

– pp. 73-74

Note: nineteen years after Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote these words, her husband, aviator Charles Lindbergh, would pass away, after forty-seven years with her, leaving her a widow for the last twenty-seven years of her life.


The dynamic nature of relationship

“One learns to accept the fact that no permanent return is possible to an old form of relationship; and, more deeply still, that there is no holding of a relationship to a single form. This is not tragedy but part of the ever-recurrent miracle of life and growth. All living relationships are in process of change, of expansion, and must permanently be building themselves to new forms. But there is no single fixed form to express such a changing relationship.”

– pp. 74-75


Middle age: a time to be completely oneself

“Perhaps muddle age is, or should be, a period of shedding shells; the shell of ambition, the shell of material accumulations and possessions, the shell of the ego. Perhaps one can shed at this stage of life as one sheds in beach-living; one’s pride, ones false ambitions, one’s mask, one’s armor. Was that armor not put on to protect one from the competitive world? If one cesses to compete, does one need it? Perhaps one can at last in middle age, if not earlier, be completely oneself. And what a liberation that would be!”

– pp. 84-85


Climbing above the plateau and freeing one’s self for spiritual growth

“Many people never climb above the plateau of forty-to-fifty. The signs that presage growth, so similar, it seems to me, to those in early adolescence: discontent, restlessness, doubt, despair, longing, are interpreted falsely as signs of decay. In youth one does not often misinterpret the signs; one accepts them, quite rightly, as growing pains. One takes them seriously, listens to them, follows where they lead. One I afraid. Naturally. But who is not afriad of pure space – that breath-taking empty space of an open door? But despite fear, one goes through to the room beyond.

But in middle age, because of the false assumption that it is a period of decline, one interprets these life I signs, paradoxically, as signs of approaching death. Instead of facing them, one runs away; one escapes – into depressions, nervous breakdowns, drink, loves affairs, or frantic, thoughtless, fruitless overwork. Anything rather than face them. Anything, rather than stand still and learn from them. One tries to cure the signs of growth, to exorcise them, as if they were devils, when really they might be the angels of annunciation.

Annunciation of what? Of a new stage in living when, having shed many of the physical struggles, the worldly ambitions, the material encumbrances of active life, one might be free to fulfill the neglected side of one’s self. One might be free for growth of the mind, heart, and talent; free at last for spiritual growth…”

– pp. 87-88


Two wholes, rather than two halves: the personal relationship

‘And in this new freedom, is there any place for relationship? I believe there is an opportunity for the best relationship of all: not a limited, mutually exclusive one, and not a dependent one; but the meeting of two whole, fully developed people as persons. It would be, to borrow the definition of the Scottish philosopher MacMurray, a fully personal relationship, this is, “a type of relationship into which people enter as persons with the whole of themselves.” “Personal relationships,” he goes on to explain,”… have no ulterior motive. They are not based on particular interests. They do not serve partial and limited ends. Their value lies entirely in themselves and for the same reason transcends all other values.’

– p. 93


Becoming world to one’s self

“Perhaps both men and women in America may hunger, in our material, outward, active, masculine culture, for the supposedly feminine qualities of heart, mind and spirit – qualities which are actually neither masculine nor feminine, but simply human qualities that have been neglected. It is growth along these lines that will make us whole, and will enable the individual to become world to himself.”

– p. 97


Communication as coffee; thirsting for the night stars

“…good communication is stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after. Before we sleep we go out again into the night. We walk up the beach under the stars. And when we are tired of walking, we lie flat on the same under a bowl of stars. We feel stretched, expanded to take in their compass. They pour into us until we are filled with stars, up to the brim.

This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day, of work, of details, of intimacy – even of communication, one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars, pouring into one like a fresh tide.”

– pp. 102-103


The only real security in a relationship

“We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching ad they pass, but partners in the same pattern. The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.”

– pp. 108-109


The luxury of silence; communication as communion

“At home, when I meet my friends in those cubby-holed hours, time is so precious we feel we must cram every available instant with conversation. We cannot afford the luxury of silence. Here on the island I find I can sit with a friend without talking, sharing the day’s last sliver of pale green light on the horizon, or the whorls in a small white shell, or the dark scar left in the dazzling night sky by a shooting star. Then communication becomes communion and one is nourished as one never is by words.”

– p. 116


I bake biscuits and feel just as pleased

“There are all kinds of experiences on this island, but not too many. The simplicity of life forces me into physical as well as intellectual or social activity. I have no car, so I bicycle for my supplies and my mail. When it is cold, I collect driftwood for my fireplace and chop it up, too. I swim instead of taking hot baths. I bury my garbage instead of having it removed by a truck. And when I cannot write a poem, I bake biscuits and feel just as pleased.”

– p. 117

Note: this is the sublime.


The richness of the unknown

“We tend not to choose the unknown, which might be a shock or a disappointment or simply a little difficult to cope with. And yet it is the unknown with all its disappointments and surprises that is the most enriching.”

– p. 119


A false sense of values vs. conscious selectivity

“When I go back will I he submerged again, not only by centrifugal activities, but by too many centripetal ones? Not only by distractions but by too many opportunities? Not only by dull people but by too many interesting ones? The multiplicity of the world will crowd in on me again with its false sense of values. Values weighed in quantity, not quality; in speed, not stillness; in noise, not silence; in words, not in thoughts, in acquisivitiveness, not beauty.”

‘I will have to substitute a conscious selectivity based on another set of values – a sense of values I have become more aware here; simplicity of living, as much as possible, to attain a true awareness of life. Balance of physical, intellectual, and spiritual life. Work without pressure. Space for significance and beauty. Time for solitude and sharing. Closeness to nature to strengthen understanding and faith in the intermittency of life: life of the spirit, creative life, and the life of human relationships.’

“Island life has been my lens through which to examine my own life in the North. I must keep my lens when I go back. Little by little one’s holiday vision tends to fade. I must remember to see with island eyes.”

– pp. 129-120


American vs. European living

“The present is passed over in the race for the future; the here is neglected in favor of the there; and the individual is dwarfed by the enormity of the mass. America, which has the most glorious present still existing in the world today, hardly stops to enjoy it, in her insatiable appetite for the future. Perhaps the historian or the sociologist or the philosopher would say that we are still propelled by our frontier energy, still conditioned by our pioneer pressures or our Puritan anxiety to “do ye next thing.” Europe, on the other hand, which we think of as being enamored by the past, has since the last war, strangely enough, been forced into a new appreciation of the present. The good past is so far away and the near past is so horrible and the future so perilous, that the present has the chance to expand into the golden eternity of of here and now. Europeans today are enjoying the moment even if it means merely a walk in the country on Sunday or wiping a cup of black coffee at a sidewalk café.”

– pp. 126-227

Note: this is writing par excellence.


Growing pains as part of a necessary collective evolution

“Much of this exploration and new awareness is uncomfortable and painful for both men and women. Growth in awareness has always been painful. (One need only remember one’s own adolescence or watch one’s adolescent children.) But it does lead to greater independence and, eventually, cooperation in action. For the enormous problems that fave the world today, in both the private and public sphere, cannot be solved by women – or by men – alone. They can only be surmounted by men and women side by side.”

– p. 138

Passages: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is the second entry in my Passages series, where I transcribe my favorite passages from a book I have just finished reading. Today I felt like an enjoyable read and thus returned to a story I relate to as both a writer and a human being. Fitzgerald manages to tell a story that is free from verbosity without being as robotic and curt as I find his contemporary chum Ernest Hemingway.

The Great Gatsby is, in my estimation, a novel without flaw. Read the passages below to discover why this work is considered to be a masterpiece of American literature.

Copyright 1925, Scribner paperback edition, 2004.

Jay Gatsby’s extraordinary gift of hope

“If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of “creative temperament” – it was an extraordinary gift of hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.”

– p. 2


Tom’s nature

“This was a permanent move, said Daisy over the telephone, but I didn’t believe it – I had no sight into Daisy’s heart, but I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.”

– p. 6


Daisy’s nature

“I looked back at my cousin, who began to ask me questions in her low, thrilling voice. It was the kind of voce that the ear follows up and down, as I’d each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again. Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who cared for her found it difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen,” a promise that she had done gay exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.”

– p. 9


Unpredictable, realistic dialogue

“You make me feel uncivilized Daisy,” I confessed over my second glass of corky but rather impressive claret. “Can’t you talk about crops or something?”

I meant nothing in particular by this remark, but it was taken up in an unexpected way.

“Civilization’s going to pieces,” broke out Tom violently.

“I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard?”

– p. 12


Tom’s psyche

“As for Tom, the fact that he “had some woman in New York” was really less surprising than that he had been depressed by a book. Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egoism no longer nourished his peremptory heart.”

– p. 20


Insight, Intuition, Inference

“Something in his leisurely movements and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that this was Mr. Gatsby himself, come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens.”

– p. 20


How to begin a chapter

“There was music through my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”

– p. 39


Gatsby’s smile

“He smiled understandingly – much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced – or seemed to face – the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”

– p. 48


Nick Carraway’s impression of himself

“Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.”

– p. 59


Surprised characters

“As we crossed Blackwell’s Island a limousine passed us, in which sat three modish negroes, two bucks and a girl. I laughed aloud as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry.

“Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge”, I thought; “anything at all”…

Even Gatsby could happen, without any particular wonder.”

– p. 69


Cultural commentary / observation

“Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry.”

– p. 88


Daisy’s effect on Gatsby

“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 presence none of it was any longer real. Once he nearly toppled down a flight of stairs.”

– p. 91


From Gatz to Gatsby: Jay’s reinvention and backstory

“I suppose he’d had the name ready for a long time, even then. His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people – his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God – a phrase which, if it means anything means just that – and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of vast, vulgar, and meritorious beauty. So he invented the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.”

– p. 98


Gatsby’s Achilles

“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.”

He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was…”

– p.110


Daisy’s Voice

“She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked. “It’s full of – ”
I hesitated.

“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 with it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it… High in the white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl….”

– p. 120


Gatsby anger

“She never loved you, do you hear?” he cried. “She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me. It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved anyone except me!”

– p. 130


Carraway describes the Midwest

“That’s my middle west – not the wheat or the praries or the lost swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of the hokky wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters…”

– p. 176


Carraway’s breakup with Jordan Baker

“I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride.”

“I’m thirty,” I said. “I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor.”

She didn’t answer. Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away.”

– p. 177


Carraway’s verdict on Tom and Daisy

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they made…”

– p. 179


The End: Gatsby believed in the green light

“And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light on the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning –

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

– p. 180

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