There is not a single likeable character in Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’.
In a way we all love to hate them, and we could probably do essays on why they’re so insufferable.
But I’m going to spare you the in depth discussion on why Jay Gatsby is a complete ignoramus, and just focus on what’s important – which is how beautiful this book is written.
For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened – then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret, like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.
Fitzgerald never uses language by half measures; he will use whatever adjective, simile or adverb he can get his hands on to translate the image he is seeing in his mind to the page.
As I said, we hate Daisy, and we also hate the obviously biased tone in Nick’s narrative, but there is no denying the art in Fitzgerald’s words.
How much do you want to be sitting under a sunset like this with the sun quite literally worshipping your very existence?
We want to be able to experience it and then write about it with the same passion and language that Fitzgerald uses.
Please take note now that this is not an essay. I’m not going to do an in-depth analysis on what each quote means or anything like that, but I am going to use the rest of this to compile a list of some of my favourite Gatsby quotes for you all to swoon over *you’re welcome*.
There was music from my neighbour’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.
The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher […] The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath […]
Under the dripping bare lilac-trees a large car was coming up the drive. It stopped. Daisy’s face, tipped sideways beneath a three-cornered lavender hat, looked at me with a bright ecstatic smile.
At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
Their eyes met, and they stared at each other, alone in space.
He must have looked up at the unfamiliar sky though frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass.
As the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes – a fresh, green beast of the new world.
Ultimately, this vastly beautiful, perhaps at times (dare I say it) over-described world has to be abandoned by both Nick and ourselves as readers.
As we close the book and put it to one side we struggle to keep the world alive in our mind.
With the clever tone of finality in Fitzgerald’s words, this world becomes non-existent – no more than a hazy dream of a world which was too over-romanticised to ever be real.
Copyright: Laura Davis © 2017, all rights reserved.