Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gatsby: Sad Eyes

But I --
Ah, sooner would I die
Than see tears in those eyes of my soul.

Stephen Crane, 1871 - 1900
from The Black Riders and Other Lines, #LIII

Original book cover for The Great Gatsby

"It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes
at things upon which you have expended your own
powers of adjustment."

F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896 - 1940


Poor Gatsby. The form of his dream is pure, but the content is corrupt. Or is it the other way around?

" 'You can't repeat the past.'

'Can't repeat the past?' he cried incredulously. 'Why of course you can!' "

No, you can't.*
Since it's Mardi Gras,
just pretend that the fun fair
pictured at the bottom of the book cover
is New Orleans!

*Similar sentiment:
"Forgiveness means giving up all hope of having had a better past."
~ Anne Lamott ~ Lily Tomlin ~


from "Like Pale Gold"
John Green's Crash Course on The Great Gatsby

Dear Heroic Past,

Like champagne poppers, you’re always a little bit underwhelming.

The thing is, Heroic Past, which of our pasts was so heroic?

Was it the part where we owned other human beings?

Was it the part where we fought over the right to own other human beings?

Was it Gatsby’s Jazz Age, with its fast cars, deliciously illegal alcohol and rapidly expanding stock portfolios?

I mean the amazing thing about the Great Gatsby is that Fitzgerald didn’t know the Great Depression was coming, [or did he?] but his book sure reads like prophecy.

The truth, Heroic Past, is that we may think we want to recreate you, but what we actually want to do is we want to recreate you without all the problems we don’t remember.

And that’s how you ruin your life over a girl you dated for a month five years ago.

Best Wishes,

John Green

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