Nick Carraway
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Quotes for
Nick Carraway (Character)
from The Great Gatsby (1974)

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The Great Gatsby (2013)
Nick Carraway: You can't repeat the past.
Jay Gatsby: Can't repeat the past?
Nick Carraway: No...
Jay Gatsby: Why, of course you can... of course you can.

[last lines]
Nick Carraway: 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 - tomorrow 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.

Nick Carraway: Stocks reached record peaks, and Wall Street boomed a steady golden roar. The parties were bigger, the shows were broader, the buildings were higher, the morals were looser, and the ban on alcohol had backfired. Making the liquor cheaper. Wall Street was luring the young and ambitious, and I was one of them.

Daisy Buchanan: Open another window.
Nick Carraway: There aren't any more.
Daisy Buchanan: Then telephone for an axe.

[first lines]
Nick Carraway: In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice. "Always try to see the best in people," he would say. As a consequence, I'm inclined to reserve all judgements. But even I have a limit.

Nick Carraway: I just remembered, today's my birthday.
Tom Buchanan: Happy birthday.
Nick Carraway: [narrating now] Thirty. The promise of a decade of loneliness. The formidable stroke of 30 died away as Gatsby and Daisy drove on thought the cooling twilight - towards death.

Nick Carraway: [narrating] They were careless people, Tom and Daisy. They smashed up things and people, and then retreated back into their money and their vast carelessness.

Nick Carraway: Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.

Nick Carraway: Jay! They're a rotten crowd. You're worth the whole damn bunch put together.
Nick Carraway: [Voice-over] I was always glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever paid him.

Nick Carraway: I expected him to be...
Jordan Baker: Old and fat?
Nick Carraway: Yes. Young men just don't drift coolly out of nowhere and buy a palace on Long Island.

Tom Buchanan: Daisy, can't you see who this guy is, with his house and his parties and his fancy clothes? He is just a front for Wolfsheim, a gangster, to get his claws into respectable folk like Walter Chase.
Jay Gatsby: The only respectable thing about you, old sport, is your money. Your money, that's it. Now I've just as much as you. That means we're equal.
Tom Buchanan: Oh, no. No. We're different. I am. They are.
[points to Daisy]
Tom Buchanan: She is. We're all different from you. You see, we were born different. It's in our blood. And nothing that you do or say or steal... or dream up can ever change that. A girl like Daisy...
Jay Gatsby: [Knocks contents off bar-top & grabs Tom with a raised fist] You shut up! Shut up! You shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
Nick Carraway: [Voice-over] Gatsby looked, in that moment, as if he had... killed a man.

Nick Carraway: [to Catherine who was giving him some pills/drugs] Oh no. My nerves are fine, thanks.

Nick Carraway: His Smile was one of those rare smiles that you may come across four or five times in life. It seem to understand you and believe in you just as you would love to be understood and believed in.

Nick Carraway: I remember how we had all come to Gatsby's and guessed at this corruption while he stood before us concealing and incorruptible dream...

Jay Gatsby: [Daisy cries after Gatsby showers her with fancy shirts] What is it? Daisy, Daisy darling, what is it?
Daisy Buchanan: It... it makes me sad.
Jay Gatsby: Why?
Daisy Buchanan: Because...
Nick Carraway: [narrating] Five lost years struggled on Daisy's lips, but all she could manage was...
Jay Gatsby: Why?
Daisy Buchanan: [laughs] Because I've never seen such beautiful shirts before.

Jay Gatsby: If it wasn't for the mist, we could see the green light.
Daisy Buchanan: What green light?
Jay Gatsby: The one that burns all night at the end of your dock.
Nick Carraway: [narrating] Possibly, it had occurred to Gatsby that the colossal significance of that light had vanished forever. Now it was once again just a green light on a dock and his count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.

Daisy Buchanan: [dancing with Gatsby] All my life. I wish it could always be like this.
Jay Gatsby: It will be.
Nick Carraway: [narrating] If only if it'd been enough for Gatsby just to hold Daisy. But he had a grand vision for his life and Daisy's part in it.

Nick Carraway: Gatsby's real name was James Gatz. His parents were dirt-poor farmers from North Dakota, but he never accepted them as his parents at all. In his own imagination, he was a son of God, destined for future glory.

Daisy Buchanan: I've been everywhere and seen everything and done everything. I've had a very bad time, Nicky. I'm pretty cynical about everything.
Nick Carraway: Ah. Your daughter, I suppose she talks and eats and everything?
Daisy Buchanan: Pammy? Oh, yes. Listen, Nick, when she was born, Tom was God knows where... with God knows whom. And I asked the nurse if it was a boy or girl. And she said it was a girl and I wept, "I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool. That's the best thing a girl in this world can be. A beautiful little fool." All the bright precious things fade so fast. And they don't come back.

Jordan Baker: It all makes sense. It all makes sense!
Nick Carraway: What makes sense?
Jordan Baker: Everything! Oh, but here I am tantalizing you when I swore I wouldn't tell.
Nick Carraway: Just tell me.
Jordan Baker: Oh, Nick. I'm sorry, I swore. I swore I wouldn't tell.

Jay Gatsby: [while recklessly driving his yellow car] Look here, Old Sport. What... What is your opinion of me, anyhow?
Nick Carraway: My opinion?
Jay Gatsby: Yes! Yes, your opinion. I don't want you to get the wrong impression from all these... from all these bizarre accusations you must be hearing. A pack of lies, I guarantee you. You've heard all the stories?
Nick Carraway: Oh, well...
Jay Gatsby: I will tell you God's truth. God's truth about myself. I am the son of some very wealthy people from the Middle West. Sadly, all of them are dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. You see, it's a family tradition.
Nick Carraway: [narrating] The way he spoke! No wonder people thought he was lying.

Nick Carraway: The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time. In its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world. Anything can happen, now that we have slid over this bridge, I thought. Anything at all. Even Gatsby could happen.

Meyer Wolfsheim: What a gentleman. From one of the finest families in the Midwest. Ah, sadly, all dead now. When I first made the pleasure of Mr. Gatsby's acquaintance, just after the war, I knew I'd discovered a man of fine breeding. A war hero! Such medals! And an Oxford man. You know Oxford?
Nick Carraway: Yes, I've heard of it.
Meyer Wolfsheim: Then you would know that when it comes to married women, a man like this can be trusted. With a friend, with someone like you, he'd never so much as look at your wife.

Nick Carraway: It's a strange coincidence.
Jordan Baker: What is?
Nick Carraway: The fact that Gatsby's house is just across the bay.
Jordan Baker: It's no coincidence. He bought that house to be near her. He threw all those parties, hoping she'd wander in one night. He constantly asked about Daisy. I was just the first person that knew her.
Nick Carraway: All that for a girl he hasn't seen in five years.


The Great Gatsby (2000) (TV)
Wolfsheim: You like my cuff buttons?
Nick Carraway: Ivory?
Wolfsheim: Human molars.
Nick Carraway: ...Unique.

Nick Carraway: Is something happening?
Jordan Baker: Tom's got a woman in New York. You surprised?
Nick Carraway: Actually I'm more surprised that he was depressed by a book.

Nick Carraway: Your place looks like the World's Fair.

Owl Eyes: [At Gatsby's funeral] I couldn't get to the house.
Nick Carraway: Neither could anybody else.
Owl Eyes: Why my God, they used to go there by the hundreds. Poor son of a bitch.
Nick Carraway: [Narrating] Daisy hadn't sent a message or a flower. Poor son of a bitch.

Jay Gatsby: This was a terrible mistake.
Nick Carraway: You're just embarrassed. Daisy's embarrassed too.
Jay Gatsby: She's embarrassed?
Nick Carraway: You're acting like a little boy. Not only that, you're rude. Daisy's sitting in there all alone.

Nick Carraway: You can't repeat the past.
Jay Gatsby: Can't repeat the past? Of course you can!

Nick Carraway: [First lines]
[narrating]
Nick Carraway: In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages you've had." While reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope, I've come to admit that my tolerance of human behavior has its limits. Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this story, represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. And yet there was something gorgeous about him. Some hightened sensitivity to the promises of life, a romantic readiness such as I've never found in any other person and which it is not likely I'll ever find again.

Nick Carraway: The history of that summer really begins when I drove across the bay to the more fashionable East Egg to have dinner with the Buchanans. Daisy was my second cousin once removed and I'd known Tom in college. His family was enormously wealthy and he'd been one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at Yale. He and Daisy had spent a year in France drifting aimlessly among the rich. "This was to be a permanent move," Daisy told me over the telephone. But I didn't believe her.

Daisy Buchanan: So how are things in Chicago? Do they miss me?
Nick Carraway: There's a persistant wail of mourning all along the north shore.
Daisy Buchanan: Oh how gorgeous! Let's go back, Tom, tomorrow.

Nick Carraway: [Narrating] I'd been drunk just twice in my life and the second time was that afternoon. So everything that happened had a dim, hazy cast over it.

Jay Gatsby: Your face is familiar. 3rd Division?
Nick Carraway: 9th Machine Gun Batallion.
Jay Gatsby: 7th Infantry until June of '18. I know I'd seen you before.

Nick Carraway: [about Wolfsheim] That's an interesting guy. What is he, a dentist?
Jay Gatsby: No, he's a gambler.
[quietly]
Jay Gatsby: He fixed the 1919 World Series.

Jay Gatsby: You want anything, you just ask for it, old sport.
Nick Carraway: 'Old sport.' Who is this guy?
Jordan Baker: Just Gatsby.
Nick Carraway: Where's he from?
Jordan Baker: I hear he's an Oxford man, although I don't believe it.
Nick Carraway: No? Why?
Jordan Baker: I just don't think he went there. Anyhow he gives large parties and I like large parties. They're so intimate. At small parties there's never any privacy.

Jordan Baker: When I first met you, Daisy came up to my room later and woke me. She wanted to know what Gatsby. When I described him, she said in the strangest voice it must be a man she knew. Then it all came back to me. They knew each other in Louisville five years ago. We ran with different crowds then but I remember seeing them together once in her car. And I remember he looked at her in that way that all young girls want to be looked at sometime.
Nick Carraway: A strange coincidence.
Jordan Baker: It wasn't a coincidence at all. I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties some night. She never did.
Nick Carraway: What do you mean?
Jordan Baker: Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay. He wants to know if you'll invite her over to your house some afternoon and let him come over.
Nick Carraway: Why didn't he ask you to arrange a meeting?
Jordan Baker: He wants her to see his house, and your house is right next door.

Daisy Buchanan: So why did you ask me to come alone? Are you in love with me?
Nick Carraway: [chuckles] No.
Daisy Buchanan: [Walks into the house] Oh! Flowers! Are we having a funeral?
Daisy Buchanan: [hears Gatsby knocking on the door] And that must be the corpse!

Jordan Baker: [Seeing Jordan listening to an argument at the door] Something happening?
Jordan Baker: Tom's got some woman in New York. I thought everyone knew. Are you surprised?
Nick Carraway: I'm more surprised that he was depressed by a book.

Jay Gatsby: Is this tie too much?
Nick Carraway: Nah, it's very gold.

Nick Carraway: You can't repeat the past.
Jay Gatsby: You can't repeat the past?
[Chuckles]
Jay Gatsby: Of course, you can!


The Great Gatsby (1974)
Nick Carraway: They say you killed a man.
Jay Gatsby: Only one?

Jay Gatsby: Summer's almost over. It's sad, isn't it? Makes you want to - I don't know - reach out and hold it back.
Nick Carraway: There'll be other summers.
Jay Gatsby: [Turning to Nick] How 'bout a swim?
Nick Carraway: Maybe later.
Jay Gatsby: Hrmm.
Nick Carraway: I'll give you a call - around noon?
Jay Gatsby: Fine, old sport. I'll be at the pool.
[Jay watches Nick walk away for a moment before calling out to him]
Jay Gatsby: Nick? Thank you.
Nick Carraway: [Nick nods and then continues on his way. But then he suddenly turns back] They're a rotten crowd. You're worth the whole damn bunch put together.
[the two smile at one another and then Nick walks away, waving a hand back over his shoulder]

Daisy Buchanan: Nick? Is it really you?
Nick Carraway: It is.
Daisy Buchanan: My old love! I'm paralyzed with happiness!

Nick Carraway: I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this 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.