Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby (Novel). F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1925 (1953.

Why read it: The American Dream? Success. Money. Beautiful women. Celebrity. Fitzgerald stripped away the hypocrisy of the American dream in this and his other novels. The results of this version of the American dream? A casket, a funeral and no mourners. “The poor son-of-a-bitch.”

“She vanished into her rich house, into her rich, full life, leaving Gatsby—nothing.” p. 149.

Sample quotes and ideas:

“Gatsby…an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person.” p. 2. ……….

“…but I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.” p. 6. ……….

Daisy: “All right, I said, I’m glad it’s a girl…. I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” p. 17.

“I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited….. Sometimes the [guests] came and went without having met Gatsby at all…..” p. 41. ……….

“As soon as I arrived I made an attempt to find my host, but the two or three people of whom I asked his whereabouts stared at me in such an amazed way, and denied so vehemently any knowledge of his movements, that I slunk off in the direction of the cocktail table—the only place in the garden where a single man could linger without looking purposeless and alone.” p. 42. ……….

“I turned again to my new acquaintance…. ‘This is an unusual party for me…. I haven’t even seen the host…. I live over there—‘ I waved my hand at the invisible hedge in the distance, ‘and this man Gatsby sent over his chauffeur with an invitation.’ For a moment he looked at me as if he failed to understand. ‘I’m Gatsby,’ he said suddenly.” p. 48.

“…I like large parties; they’re so intimate; at small parties there isn’t any privacy.” p. 50. ……….

Gatsby: “ ‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously; ‘Why of course you can!’ ” p. 111.

Daisy: “What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon…and the day after that, and the next thirty years?” p. 118.

“The minister glanced several times at his watch, so I took him aside and asked him to wait for half an hour, but it wasn’t any use. Nobody came.” p. 175. …………

“…and I could only remember, without resentment, that Daisy hadn’t sent a message or a flower.” p. 176.

“The poor son-of-a-bitch….”p. 176.

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made….” p. 180.

“Probably it [a car over at Gatsby’s] was some final guest who had been away at the ends of the earth and didn’t know that the party was over.” p. 181.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” p. 182.

Comment: Fitzgerald captures the disillusion of the American dream. RayS.

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