Friday, March 14, 2014

Now There’s Green Light in My Eyes

So last week I finished F. Scott Fitzgerald's (affectionately known to some of our English class as F. Money Bojangles) The Great Gatsby. Generally, I don't like classics until long after I've read them, but Gatsby struck me as endlessly intriguing. I know I'm not of the bourgeoisie but I was still able to identify with Gatsby in the simplistic analysis of the American Dream - or rather, as I've come to understand through a study on the wealth gap, meeting with Occupy Pittsburgh** and others is the American Fairy Tale.

What I think I identify most with is the idea of invented social inequality, and Nick Carraway's fantastically broad pronouncements. We have to take his word on everything because he is the first person narrator, but I find it interesting that for once I can look at a narrator as attempting to be objectively transfixed with everything.

I'm (obviously) no literary genius, and I don't pretend to be but I think this piece is a great conversation starter on the topics of the wealth gap, lust, and built up personas. One of the lines that particularly stuck out (there are so many, but this one is the one I can quote off the top of my head):
There are only the pursued, the pursuing, and the tired.
This applies to love, wealth, success, and I'd go on but the beauty of this statement is that it can be applied to pretty much anything. It's a basic observation about human existence, and for some reason I'm fascinated by this.

I really like this book for that reason: nuggets of things that may not actually be that profound (I'm 16, not some time-honored critic*) but make you say "hmm..." after you read them. Within and Without.

At this point though, I'm feeling quite tired. Have a nice week.

*Another theme of this novel, and prevalent throughout many of Fitzgerald's pieces is the emphasis we put upon superficial authorities: celebrities, scholars, etc. to the point where they are no longer a person but rather an idea. We only allow time-tested authorities to sound off on certain things. We are only allowed a choice of certain giants to stand upon the back of, it seems. The best example of this objectification/idealization is the Petrarchian lover. You fall victim to being in love with the idea of being in love or the idea  of the other person to the point where they are idolized, they are no longer a person but an idea of perfection.***

**No idea what I'm talking about? Here: and here:

***JayScribble's book Paper Towns contains one of my favorite quotes: "What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person". A person is only a person [that is the extent to which I'll comment on the whole Alex Day thing, and I felt it fit with this post. Anyway, yeah, Gatsby.]

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