This quote proves that Nick is an unreliable narrator, meaning his version of events may not be "true." He paints a very unflattering picture of Amy, which is undermined by the fact that others seem to think well of her. This quote may lead a reader to doubt the way he is representing her and their marriage. When he admits to the reader that he lies and withholds information, this opens up the possibility that maybe he did in fact kill Amy and is omitting this detail. This quotation furthers the perspective that in the first part of the novel, the reader does not know whom to trust.
No matter how many clues I solved, I'd be faced with some Amy trivia to unman me.
Nick needs to play the role of a caring and understanding man, as his mother raised him to be, but at the same time he assesses his manhood through the stereotypical standards of masculinity which his misogynist father believed in. Amy's father used to organize treasure hunts for her mother. But it is Amy who organizes these treasure hunts for Nick, making him the "woman" in the relationship. The fact that he is incapable of succeeding in Amy Trivia makes him a failure at both his mother's and father's definition of a man9, as he is neither the attentive husband nor alpha male.
There was only one woman I could stand to be around right now.
Nick's sister Go is not like other women, at least according to Nick. She too despises the kind of women Nick can't tolerate. She is not "feminine" and more importantly she "understands" him. Unlike Amy, Go doesn't ask Nick to explain his behavior or justify his motivations. She also stands by him loyally even when he appears extremely suspicious and has been caught in a number of lies. Margo in a sense provides Nick with many of the traits Amy lacks. This quote also shows how Nick, despite his desire not to replicate the misogynistic tendencies of his father, easily places all women into one large category and feels almost universally angry and resentful towards them. His mother and his sister seem to be the only women he exempts from this rage.
Maybe it was the clue I couldn't figure out, but I suddenly felt like I'd overlooked something. I'd made some huge mistake, and my error would be disastrous.
This quote informs readers that there is something that they have overlooked along with Nick. It foreshadows the revelation that Amy is actually faking her disappearance and taking her revenge on Nick. By the time he realizes she knew about his affair and has planned the disappearance to frame him for her murder, it is too late. However, this statement by Nick also shows that while he has not yet figured out the truth, he is alert, suspicious, and on the road to uncovering Amy's deception. It implies that he is not as stupid and gullible as Amy thinks, and that she may have underestimated his ability to see through her.
It's a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.
And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as soul mates, because we don't have genuine souls.
It has gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I'm not a real person and neither is anyone else.
I would have done anything to feel real again.
This quote shows how the unhappiness experienced by Nick within his marriage is tied to larger trends in the world around him. Nick is aware that the world is shifting and is no longer sure of his relevance or contribution. He also knows that mass media and information make it both easier to spread ideas and news, but also harder to know what is true and false. Nick's fears that he may not actually know his wife are linked to deeper fears of not even knowing himself. In a world where people are only composed of external projections and made up images of themselves, true connection is impossible, making marriage doomed from the start. The note of desperation at the end of the quote suggests that Nick might actually be capable of doing something terrible, such as killing Amy.
Me, the nice working class guy, taking on the spoiled rich kid. The media would have to bite at that: Obsessive stalkers are more intriguing than run-of-the-mill wife killers.
This quote shows that even Nick is conscious of how to project an image and manipulate circumstances to his advantage. He lives in a working-class town so he is bound to get more sympathy than some “rich brat” whom they will despise because most of them are out of a job due to the recession. Nick is also banking on people’s lust for gore and the macabre, which will make Desi a much more interesting suspect than Nick because of his shaky history with Amy. Nick's ideas of how to manipulate a situation and shape people's perception actually make him sound a lot like Amy when she is carefully calculating her disappearance, suggesting that the two are not as different as Nick would like to believe.
It was that line that caught me, the simplicity of it. The idea that I could do something, and it would make a woman happy and it would be that easy. Whatever you give me, I'll like. I felt an overwhelming wave of relief. And then I knew I didn't love Amy anymore.
This quotation discusses the emotions Nick experiences on the night that he is first unfaithful to Amy. As the quotation demonstrates, he is already deeply unhappy in his marriage, and being around Amy makes him feel like he has failed and emasculates him. Andie, younger and more naïve, looks up to Nick and is easily impressed by him. The quote might function in part to create sympathy for Nick: he is unfaithful not simply out of lust, but rather because he feels sad and lonely and wants the affection and validation that his marriage no longer offers him. However, the quote also reveals a manipulative side to Nick and a lack of self-awareness. It implies that Amy is actually the one at fault for his cheating, and that if she had been a different sort of wife and woman, he might have been able to remain faithful to her. It also shows how resentful Nick is of intelligent and demanding women, preferring women like Andie, who don't seem to be his intellectual equal, and who allow him to make decisions on their behalf.
I was not that man: I didn’t hate and fear all women. I was a one woman misogynist.
Nick has tried very hard to not emulate his father but after Amy’s disappearance his good guy mask seems to slip. He hates, abhors, and calls the women around him “fucking bitches.” Go was the only woman who was off this list until she too lost faith in him, landing her on the “fucking bitches” list. Extremely worried that he is turning into his father, Nick decides to concentrate his hatred on Amy. In this way he won’t be a misogynist but rather a one-woman misogynist who, according to him, deserves it.
Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin down her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? how are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?
This quote reveals one of the paradoxes at the heart of the novel: despite the intimacy of their relationship, Nick and Amy hide many secrets from one another, and he is not even sure he actually knows her. Over the course of the novel, this unreliability and uncertainty will be a major concern for him and for readers, who cannot be sure if the account they receive is complete or accurate. While Nick's desire to understand his wife's thoughts and feelings is relatively benign, the imagery of him opening up her head and accessing her brain foreshadows the violence to come in the novel. The questions at the end of the quotation escalate in intensity, moving from information that no one can know without asking to broader questions that suggest that marriage can be harmful or damaging to the individuals involved. Perhaps most chillingly, Nick suggests this experience is universally true of marriage, not that his and Amy's case is a unique example.
That night at the Brooklyn party, I was playing the girl who was in style, the girl a man like Nick wants: the Cool Girl. Men always say that as the defining compliment, don't they? She's a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she's hosting the world's biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want.
This quote reveals Amy's thoughts about the woman she pretended to be when she initially met Nick, and the woman that she believes men want. Essentially, the Cool Girl is a projection of male fantasies requiring an impossible combination of traits, and negates the idea of a woman with any preferences of her own. It also makes life much simpler for men because they are not required to respond to any demands placed upon them or meet any expectations. Amy's description of pretending to be a Cool Girl reveals how good she is at acting and pretending to be something she is not, a skill she uses throughout the novel.
However, this deception also works against her: she has to live with the consequences of knowing that her husband doesn't really know her, or love her for who she is. While Amy is very critical of men for desiring this type of woman, her description actually matches up very well to Nick's description of what he likes about Andie: she is easy-going, undemanding, and likes whatever he likes.
Gone Girl Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Gone Girl is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.