Saturday, 30 June 2018

Cold and Beautiful Era


28/52 F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby (1925). This is one of the classics that has been on my must read list for long. This is not a long book but somehow every time I have picked a read it has been left to the shelf. I have seen the new movie version that has absolutely miraculous visual world plus amazing song by Lana Del Ray. It describes the tragic happenings of one summer in a minimalist way. The narrator is a friend of Jay's and Daisy's and evaluates both characters perspective on happenings.

Some might disagree with me but I would say this novel is not a love story. Jay Gatsby and Daisy have met in the past and now they meet again after years. Daisy has left a mark on Jay who feels they still have great future together. When they were younger they got separated but Jay has worked ever since to get luxurious living conditions that would fit for Daisy. It sounds romantic story at first but after a while I came to think it over. Maybe Daisy has a different understanding about the matter. She has moved on in her life, sometimes she might think her first love but actually she lives in the moment. Jay's love is mixed with obsession and one goal that drives him in his life. It is a bit scary how he has built everything in his life to the game to win Daisy's love. He has collected money and luxuries and status to be fitting spouse. Daisy's character is difficult to sort out. My first impression was that she is bored in her life and unhappy in her marriage. But Jay is not the savior she is waiting for. Daisy is slightly reluctant from the beginning to leave her marriage and go with Jay. I guess she is amazed how Jay comes and begins where they left their relationship years ago. In some parts she seems cold person who uses people and then chooses the option that entertains her best.

Jay organizes big parties where lots of people attend. He is the hidden ringmaster who runs the whole circus and organizes all the fun. His house is not a home, it is an amusement park for the rich who don't care to know the person behind it all. He seems very popular when you look at the number of people attending to his events. His success is limited, when the fun ends the doubts about his past become the first thing people remember. Fairytale like parties, New York, the pace of the jazz era, high society and money is all a scene that has no roots or reality. People and their emotions are a play and most of them are aware of this. For them who take it real it might be dangerous. What I have heard about twenties generation and the characters of that time I understand that this novel captures the era very well. It is beautiful, bubbling, light and the undertone is tragic like people would be waiting for it all to collapse. It is like the last hours the bar is open, everyone tries so hard to have fun it becomes sad.

In his own play Gatsby is an outsider. He doesn't get to participate to all the fun he puts there to others. His mission is to build a stage for him and Daisy to perform. It is sad how he has left to live inside his own head. He has let the dream about Daisy grow too big and he has modified a living person according to his own desires. Life has made Daisy a different person than she was and she can't be found same as she was years ago when they were younger. What Jay has not understood is that life doesn't wait for you to get the best of resources. Life is the thing that happens at the moment with the people around us. He spent too much time isolated in his own imaginations what life should become and used his time collecting the haberdashery he thought is needed in perfect life. People are keen to see plays like this but it is just a day in amusement park, then they return back home and their own life. It is a cliche but friends that come with the matter do not matter.


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