Friday, 20 January 2012

The Great Gatsby - week three

This has been a roller coaster of a journey and I found this particular part of The Great Gatsby very exciting!
We now get to the heart of the matter:  the beginnings of Gatsby and the climax of his relationship with Daisy.
The descriptions in this part are not only magnificently written but also provide the exact nuance needed to understand the deeper emotions, wants, needs - the essence of this book.

Gatsby starts from humble beginnings, but his dreams for a better life push him to higher aspirations.  He refuses to accept his provenance: 

"these reveries ... were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality"

Gatsby already then starts showing signs of megalomania that will on the one hand help him attain his material goals in life, but will prove also detrimental to his psyche:

His encounter with Daisy five years after their initial affair finds him having accumulated so much energy that I could feel the palpitations in the room.  His race towards becoming what he thinks he needs to become so that he's accepted by his love has darkened his inside world. Nothing good can come out of this.  I can already see that there is disaster bound to happen.  The language used  is so vibrant, particularly in this part, I could just bite off my fingernails in anticipation:

"he wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say "I never loved you"

How can she? how can he expect love to be as straightforward as having great houses, great boats, great food and drink?  how can he expect Daisy to wake up after five years and run to him?  WHY would she?

Aaaahhh... the human soul!  In matters of love, we become little children.  We want something (someone), we calculate our way towards our goal, and we are certain that if our part of the deal is kept, so will the other side.  How simple life would be...
No, Gatsby has put Daisy onto a pedestal, like a goddess, has calculated his way towards her, and obviously he must be smashed:

"You love me TOO? ... the words seemed to bite physically into Gatsby"

The demise ... in the beginning, I started feeling sorry for him, for all the effort he had put in, all the love he must have felt, unreciprocated... but then I realised that no, this cannot be love. This is an extreme case of infatuation. More and more I see Gatsby as striving for something better in his life. Ever since his early years, he wanted a better life, to be a better person. All his struggles, all his encounters with people and his dealings with them, had as an ultimate goal the improvement of Gatsby. So is the case with Daisy: she is to "better" him, to lead him to an enriched life... Yes, it's the beginning of the end for Gatsby, and I can only stand and watch the story developing...
As to Daisy, not only do I still not like her, and I've started discovering very annoying things about her character:

"What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon, and the day after that, and the next thirty years?"

What a simpleton... Life is continuous party, with pretty clothes, pretty drinks, a pretty daughter who must be disciplined at all times and a husband who adores her...  and still, she's not satisfied.  She must always have her wishes granted like a spoiled little girl (was she actually?  I wouldn't be surprised...).  And then there's this description, which I must confess I don't fully understand, but I can't say I like:

"Her voice is full of money"

Ugghhh... this leaves a very bad taste in my mouth, and I just want to slap her... but then again, how would I then see what happens next?

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