Quotes From 'This Side of Paradise' by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side of Paradise

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With This Side of Paradise (his debut novel), F. Scott Fitzgerald took the literary world by storm (the first printing sold out in a matter of days). And, with the success of this work, he was able to win back Zelda (with whom he would have such a tumultuous relationship for so many years to come). The book was first published in 1920. Here are a few quotes.

'This Side of Paradise' Quotes From Book 1

"She had once been a Catholic, but discovering that priests were infinitely more attentive when she was in process of losing or regaining faith in Mother Church, she maintained an enchantingly wavering attitude." Book 1, Ch 1

"They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered." Book 1, Ch 1

"He wanted to kiss her, kiss her a lot, because then he knew he could leave in the morning and not care. On the contrary, if he didn't kiss her, it would worry him.... It would interfere vaguely with his idea of himself as a conqueror. It wasn't dignified to come off second best, pleading, with a doughty warrior like Isabelle." Book 1, Ch. 3

"Don't let yourself feel worthless; often through life you will really be at your worst when you seem to think best of yourself; and don't worry about losing your "personality," as you persist in calling it; at fifteen you had the radiance of early morning, at twenty you will begin to have the melancholy brilliance of the moon, and when you are my age you will give out, as I do, the genial golden warmth of 4 P.M." Book 1, Ch. 3

"Never walk near the bed; to a ghost, your ankle is your most vulnerable part--once in bed, you're safe; he may lie around under the bed all night, but you're safe as daylight. If you still have doubts pull the blanket over your head." Book 1, Ch. 4

"This has nothing to do with will-power; that's a crazy, useless word, anyway; you lack judgment—the judgment to decide at once when you know your imagination will play you false, given half a chance." Book 1, Ch. 4

"Life was a damned muddle... a football game with every one off-side and the referee gotten rid of—every one claiming the referee would have been on his side..." Book 1, Ch. 5

Quotes From Book 2

"All life was transmitted into terms of their love, all experience, all desires, all ambitions, were nullified—their senses of humor crawled into corners to sleep; their former love-affairs seemed faintly laughable and scarcely regretted juvenalia." Book 2, Ch 1

"I have your best interests at heart when I tell you not to take a step you'll spend your days regretting. It's not as if your father could help you. Things have been hard for him lately and he's an old man. You'd be dependent absolutely on a dreamer, a nice, well-born boy, but a dreamer—merely clever. (She implies that this quality in itself is rather vicious.)" Book 2, Ch 1

"People try so hard to believe in leaders now, pitifully hard. But we no sooner get a popular reformer or politician or soldier or writer or philosopher—a Roosevelt, a Tolstoi, a Wood, a Shaw, a Nietzsche, than the cross-currents of criticism wash him away. My Lord, no man can stand prominence these days. It's the surest path to obscurity. People get sick of hearing the same name over and over." Book 2, Ch 2

"I regretted my lost youth when I only envy the delights of losing it. Youth is like having a big plate of candy. Sentimentalists think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they ate the candy. They don't. They just want the fun of eating it all over again. The matron doesn't want to repeat her girlhood—she wants to repeat her honeymoon. I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again." Book 2, Ch 5

"Progress was a labyrinth ... people plunging blindly in and then rushing wildly back, shouting that they had found it ... the invisible king—the élan vital—the principle of evolution ... writing a book, starting a war, founding a school..." Book 2, Ch. 5

"He found something that he wanted, had always wanted and always would want—not to be admired, as he had feared; not to be loved, as he had made himself believe; but to be necessary to people, to be indispensable..." Book 2, Ch. 5

"Life opened up in one of its amazing bursts of radiance and Amory suddenly and permanently rejected an old epigram that had been playing listlessly in his mind: 'Very few things matter and nothing matters very much.'" Book 2, Ch. 5

"Modern life... changes no longer century by century, but year by year, ten times faster than it ever has before—populations doubling, civilizations unified more closely with other civilizations, economic interdependence, racial questions, and—we're dawdling along. My idea is that we've got to go very much faster." Book 2, Ch. 5

"I'm restless. My whole generation is restless. I'm sick of a system where the richest man gets the most beautiful girl if he wants her, where the artist without an income has to sell his talents to a button manufacturer. Even if I had no talents I'd not be content to work ten years, condemned either to celibacy or a furtive indulgence, to give some man's son an automobile." Book 2, Ch. 5

"As an endless dream it went on; the spirit of the past brooding over a new generation, the chosen youth from the muddled, unchastened world, still fed romantically on the mistakes and half-forgotten dreams of dead statesmen and poets. Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a revery of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken...." Book 2, Ch. 5

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Lombardi, Esther. "Quotes From 'This Side of Paradise' by F. Scott Fitzgerald." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/this-side-of-paradise-quotes-741646. Lombardi, Esther. (2020, August 28). Quotes From 'This Side of Paradise' by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/this-side-of-paradise-quotes-741646 Lombardi, Esther. "Quotes From 'This Side of Paradise' by F. Scott Fitzgerald." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/this-side-of-paradise-quotes-741646 (accessed March 24, 2023).