olde_fashioned: (write)
[personal profile] olde_fashioned

I finished The Great Gatsby last night, having started it on Monday and staying up a little late to get to the last page. Having seen the Robert Redford miniseries a few years ago, I already knew the story. Evidently this was a good adaptation, because there was scarcely a plot element from the book that the movie didn't cover; therefore I wasn't "surprised" by anything "new" in the book.

As I'm wont to do, I prefer to record something of my own initial impressions before I read anything "critical" or "professional" on the subject which might influence me. Therefore, if you haven't read the book and wish to avoid spoilers, please stop reading now! Otherwise, proceed. ;)

I'm not sure what Fitzgerald's "point" was in writing this story, but what I got out of it was, in a nutshell, that we can't ever go back. The past is the past; it's behind us and gone forever. Whatever magical equation existed previously won't ever come again, because life and people, are forever changing, and what held true yesterday might not be true today. I think this is most evident in the character of Daisy.

Another theme might be that of consistency and loyalty, since that would tie in nicely with the above, if that was indeed the author's intention. The only consistent characters are Gatsby and possibly Nick Carraway, who I liked, but even he seemed to flit from one female to the other a bit much. Despite my liking his character (I'm not entirely sure why), I don't entirely trust Nick's judgement. I for one wouldn't want to spend another minute in the company of a man who smacked his mistress and broke her nose, nor would I be inclined to let myself fall for a woman who lied about things when it suited her. Then again, he was aware of all these things, and seemingly disapproved of them, yet he was non-judgmental and accepting, and the only one loyal to Gatsby in the end.

Gatsby I'm inclined to find pathetic and delusional, but I'm also inclined to forgive him this for his motives. He truly loves Daisy, and while I'm of the camp who'd advise going away and trying to forget her, I'm not going to blame him for still being madly in love after being thwarted in it. (On a side note, I detest women who can't wait for their men to come back home, especially if they're taken away by war. Either he's worth the wait or he isn't!! Make up your mind and PICK ONE!!!!!)

I don't think either of the Wilsons are worth mentioning except in passing contempt.

Jordan Baker, along with Nick Carraway, are probably the two most realistic characters in a book fraught with them. I found her very "true to life", and I feel like I've known a few Jordan Bakers in my life.

In closing, I will say that I found several instances of Fitzgerald's prose very lyrical and very beautiful, his descriptions of stars as "silver pepper" in particular. I also loved the "splash" of a telephone book falling to the ground, and the gray "haze" of a woman's fur coat dancing in the breeze. On occasion he waxed just a teensy bit artsy (and for me, confusing--what was with all the choppy editing, especially when Nick is having to look at the photographs??), but for modern literature, not too shabby--not too shabby, at all.

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July 2011

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