the famous Gatsby
Out of the books that I have read for this project, this is one of the most frequently referenced. Every time I hear something mentioned about the 1920s or the Jazz Age this name crops up. I remember one particular episode of Greek where I had literally no idea what they were referencing until I Googled. Some classics just keep popping up in other forms of media, which makes knowing your classics even more vital. Another such book that I’ve come across is George du Maurier’s Trilby, which I also considered for this week. However, the incentive of only 140 pages made GG win. Talking of GG, Gossip Girl is another tv-series that seems to correspond with this novel – one only has to Google those two names together and see the magic happen. How ironic that at the time of the original release of the book it did not raise much interest?
In the book the famous one is the idea of Gatsby. He is not the protagonist and it takes a few chapters to even get him on the actual page. The idea of him precedes the physical character which got me thinking about the effect some people have on us. These people just have an air about them, something that lets us know they are larger than their dimensions would allow us to believe. They seem to be more intelligent, stronger, more charming, more successful, just more of anything. Something that we will never be yet endlessly wish we were. In some cases, it is a conscious effort that people exploit in order to get what they want from the people they know are under their influence. Yet sometimes the person with power can be completely oblivious to it. Maybe it is not about them, but us, which reminds me of artists and movie stars who we idolise. Why do we have a need to fill a person with unrealistic expectations and characteristics? Is it to motivate us to be better, to reach their level of being? Is it to feel sorry for ourselves? To justify that we never tried, because why would we with someone like that around? What these questions really are about is self-identification. We form opinions about ourselves according to other people, prone to disappointment when reality does not mix well with fantasy.
after five years
Gatsby and Daisy. Daisy and Gatsby. The two undercover lovers that are the envy of the novel in their devotion and pure emotion, yet they are also doomed, as they should be. They seem to have a visible connection and clearly time has had no effect, at least on Gatsby. Daisy, on the other hand, has tried to build a life, which then leads me to question the weight of one’s past in relationships. What does it matter if Daisy loved Tom in the past if she loves Gatsby now? It was a part of her life and she made her choices, but is now ready to be with Gatsby and says it out loud. We should not be defined by our past, but work to mould ourselves around it to reach a place where it is something we are okay with, especially since there is nothing we can do to change it. Then again, all Gatsby has to refer to is the past and this is what he cannot escape and he tries to reconstruct the past in the present which is impossible. The future is the only thing we have control over, even if this particular novel does not offer one to these star crossed lovers.
One part that I really got into was the part where Tom and Gatsby start talking about their connections to Daisy. Both men seem to know what Daisy thinks and feels and how she is going to act. What annoyed me in this scene is the assumption that any of us could ever know another person fully. Even in the closest relationship possible, there is no way of knowing what is actually going on in someone else’s head. We see what we want to see and interpret the information according to our own whims and desires. What is left is a disappointed person who does not realise what went wrong. We can only ask.
– Jatta –