Gutting Gatsby

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Gutting Gatsby

Post by Tall Tyrion on Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:08 am

The Idiocracy is crawling towards us, step by painful step.

Did it seem to you that The Great Gatsby
was especially difficult to read? It's a book that most American
students encounter in high school. When I read it the first time, I
certainly missed some of the nuances, but I didn't stumble over any of
the words.

Even at the time, I noticed the particular beauty of its conclusion.
After the whole doomed scenario has played out, Nick looks once again
across the waters of the Sound:

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly
any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the
Sound. And 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 breast of the new world.
Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had
once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams;
for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the
presence of this continent, compelled into an ęsthetic contemplation he
neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in
history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of
Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of
Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream
must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did
not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast
obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled
on under the night.


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.
Evocative. Poetic. Perfect. Too good, in fact, for the "intermediate
level" readers of the Macmillan Reader edition of the novel, as "retold
by Margaret Tarner."

Read her closing words:

Gatsby had believed in his dream. He had followed it and nearly made it come true.

Everybody has a dream. And, like Gatsby, we must all follow our dream wherever it takes us.

Some unpleasant people became part of Gatsby's dream. But he
cannot be blamed for that. Gatsby was a success, in the end, wasn't he?


This is an obscenity.

more

Tall Tyrion

Posts : 8576
Join date : 2008-08-20
Age : 48
Location : New Mexico, USA

Back to top Go down

Re: Gutting Gatsby

Post by davisac1 on Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:36 am

I'm a pretty big fan of Ebert's essays, but toward the middle I got the impression that the edition was written for adult literacy students, which pricks that rising bubble of outrage. He notes at the end that others identified the edition as an ESL text, and asks why ESL students wouldn't start with YA books. "Because adults learning to read aren't young adults who already can" springs to mind. As for the apparent mistranslation of the ending, I wonder whether Ebert has read the entire edition, or just that part?

davisac1

Posts : 319
Join date : 2010-03-28

http://amandacdavis.wordpress.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Gutting Gatsby

Post by Tall Tyrion on Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:06 pm

Even if it is for ESL students, I still object. While they might not get the nuances of the imagery, why would Gatsby be a tough read in it's original form? There are hundreds of good books that are not written with a super lofty vocabulary. Hemmingway comes to mind as well. I just don't see the need for this at all.

Tall Tyrion

Posts : 8576
Join date : 2008-08-20
Age : 48
Location : New Mexico, USA

Back to top Go down

Re: Gutting Gatsby

Post by Sponsored content Today at 7:30 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum