A section from
‘A Jedi shall not know hatred, nor fear… nor love.’ from Star Wars Episode II
THE GREAT GATSBY - F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
A powerful, reticent man watches from a distance. His guests are enjoying themselves with his booze. Couples are swaying to the band's music. The pool must surely contains its fair share of thrill seekers. These people come to his party, they eat his book and enjoy his drink, other guests provide small talk, but still they suspect their host of nefarious behaviour. Some say he killed a man, others that he is a bootlegger or blame his fortune on some crime or another. The watcher doesn’t care, these people are only playing a part. A part assigned to them by him. He is waiting for someone to come to his mansion and enjoy his parties. The raison d'etre of the event is always the same. Smoke out a young lady he once knew and still loved.
The character of Jay Gatsby leaves a lot to the imagination of the reader. Information about him seems to be forthcoming given that his wealth is the favourite topic of his guests. He is rumoured to be linked with organised crime, or have been a criminal himself. His fabulous wealth and reticence for small talk don’t do much to change popular opinion. Then we are told that he is in love with Daisy - married now but Gatsby's former lover, and that the affair ended over differences in social standing. So for the love of a woman, or the anger over her loss lead him to change his life and seek out a fortune.
So Gatsby returns after the war and with money to New York where he sets himself up in a posh neighbourhood and moves closer to reuniting with Daisy. He throws lavish parties at his mansion where anyone is invited, with the hope that one day Daisy with come there.
All the while the reader can't help but wonder what went through Gatsby's mind while he was inching closer to his dream. Did he ever wonder if Daisy would even care now? Would he actually make something of himself in Daisy's estimation or would more superficial excuses greet him? In all his adventures that earned him wealth didn’t he ever meet anyone else? It is a story nevertheless, and Daisy and Gatsby are reunited in the middle of the novel, but that meeting is far removed from the conclusion or final message of the story.
The general feeling about Gatsby that I got was one of a strange kind of naiveté despite his tough reputation. He is chasing a dream that has eluded him since his youth. In his line of work he hasn’t really made any friends, and many people seem not to have appreciated his true worth. (This is the role Nick Carraway - the narrator fulfills) Gatsby nevertheless has an inner steel that doesn’t seem to require to much validation from people. He moves about his day constructively, and towards his goal single-mindedly.
The final chapter is the finest. The story is complete but the end provides a chilling reality that doesn’t hit you at first, but creeps up long after the book is put down, and will probably never leave the reader.
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