Handed in all my unneeded English books today. Many I am delighted to be rid of, but there are perhaps 3 which I actually now feel sufficiently empty without.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
The Sorrow of War – Bao Ninh
and most importantly
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I want to write a whole goddamn book on Gatsby. He is perfect, not only (or necessarily) on-screen, but absolutely through Fitzgerald’s depiction. He is perfection in every sense of the word. He gives up his entire life for the love of a girl. It makes him blinder than the oldest of men, but the honesty and genuineness of his love makes those around him just as blind as he is. His devotion is heartbreaking to witness, particularly due to Daisy’s ultimate choice. And Nick. Sigh. He is my second favourite definition of perfection. Who cares if he shares this love story with us from his ‘biased’ point-of-view? Who cares. He knows and sees more than any other characters in the book. He understands, he empathises. He knows love too, and he admires Gatsby’s dedication. He almost pities him, but Nick’s final words to Gatsby say all that we need to know about him:
“‘They are a rotten crowd,’ I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.’ I’ve always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end. First he nodded politely, and then his face broke into that radiant and understanding smile, as if we’d been in ecstatic cahoots on that fact all the time.”
This is true understanding, true friendship. And Gatsby is the truth of what it is to be human: loving another so uncontrollably that your life becomes their life, that everything you do and everything you have ever done is and has been for that person, that that person lights up rooms, makes the ugliest things beautiful and mends the sorest of memories. Live and love as though you will not be there to witness any form of ‘end’, because as far as you’re concerned, the ‘end’ is an impossible, heartbreaking and out-of-this-world concept. That is what it is all about.
And this wouldn’t be a true ‘Gatsby’ post without…
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning —
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”