Friday, 27 January 2012

The Great Gatsby - the end

Yes, it's over.
I'm through reading the Great Gatsby and I'm at a loss.  Why? WHY?
Why does such a wonderful story have to end in such an abrupt manner?

In this part, Gatsby receives his last analysis of character.  We see him when he's first introduced to Daisy and her world.  He's gobsmacked with this new feeling of "breathless intensity" and "the ripe mystery" that surrounds Daisy's world.  Daisy is also a hot ticket, with many admirers around her.  Gatsby wants to be part of this world and "own" Daisy, and hence his road to accomplishments.

Compared to the previous parts, this one contains the final highlights to a tragic story.  Here we get to see the utmost betrayal of a human to another human:  Tom and Daisy vs. Gatsby:  

"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..."  

The story of the accident and the subsequent havoc is described very fast (I suppose this is how fast it happens), so much so that I actually had to go back and re-read the part, because I had the feeling I had missed something.  But no, it's over in less than a page...

I feel sad.  Even though the portrait of Gatsby has many flaws, I felt there is genuine wish on his part to improve.  For whatever reason, I'm not sure, but he - at least - is the one character retaining his integrity throughout the book.  He doesn't adapt according to wishes or needs, he doesn't change according to society's whims.  After the accident, I began reviewing all the previous parts, in a new light now.  How superficial society can be! Top actors certainly are Tom and Daisy, but even Jordan now seems a colourless and tasteless creature.  One minor character is introduced in this last part, Gatsby's dad, a nice, charming old man.  And here we learn that Gatsby was actually financing his dad's life.  Even though he refused to adopt his parents' credo for a simple life, did he perhaps see the beauty and realism of it?  Or perhaps he realised how futile his obsession with the "fake" past was?  the past that in the end came back to claim his life...

All in all, an excellent piece of in-depth literature that I would recommend to everyone - great topic for a read-a-long, chosen by Wallace at


I waited patiently until I had finished the book to re-watch the original Gatsby movie with Redford and Farrow.  How great this movie is - what great performances at just the right dose each!  I cannot imagine how the remake will try to live up to these standards... I suppose I will watch it at some point, but I can't honestly say whether I'll ever choose Di Caprio over Redford...

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