The Great Gatsby

by: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Chapter 2

1

About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat . . . where ashes take the forms of houses. . . .

2

But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic. . . . But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under the sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.

3

I have been drunk just twice in my life, and the second time was that afternoon; so everything that happened has a dim, hazy cast over it. . . . I sat down . . . to read a chapter of Simon Called Peter—either it was terrible stuff or the whiskey distorted things, because it didn’t make any sense to me.

4
‘Neither of them can stand the person they’re married to.’
‘Can’t they?’

5
‘Can’t stand them.’ She looked at Myrtle and then at Tom. ‘What I say is, why go on living with them if they can’t stand them? If I was them I’d get a divorce and get married to each other right away.’
‘It’s really his wife that’s keeping them apart. She’s a Catholic, and they don’t believe in divorce.’
Daisy was not a Catholic, and I was a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie.
6

I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the Park. . . . Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.