Mighty Life List
Aug 8 2013

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The movie irritated me, but I hadn’t read the book since college, and couldn’t remember much about it. It was strange reading my old copy where I’d underlined a bunch of passages that don’t resonate with me any more, and every reference to color — I must have been working on a paper.

Newsflash, The Great Gatsby is terrific. The kind of book that makes you want to find the author and grin stupidly in his face.

The best parts of The Great Gatsby:

Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes, but after a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on. When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever.

It was a body capable of enormous leverage — a cruel body.

Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor.

Tom Buchanan compelled me from the room as though he were moving a checker to another square.
In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.

…young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.

I am slow thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires…

“What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon?” cried Daisy, “and the day after that, and the next thirty years?”

They were gone, without a word, snapped out, made accidental, isolated, like ghosts, even from our pity.

…fresh faces drifted here and there like rose petals blown by the sad horns around the floor.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Turns of phrase:
the consoling proximity of millionaires
two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all
paternal contempt
violent innuendo [ed: In reference to overly sexual flirtation]

Vocabulary:
Epigram – a witty, often paradoxical remark, concisely expressed
Supercilious – Behaving or looking as though one thinks one is superior to others
Fractious – tending to be troublesome
Rotogravure – a process for printing from an intaglio plate prepared by photographic methods
Banns – An announcement, especially in a church, of an intended marriage.
Echolalia – the automatic repetition of vocalizations made by another person
Vinous – Fond of or influenced by drinking wine
Kiss-me-at-the-gate – a fragrant Chinese honeysuckle
Trimalchio – character in the 1st century AD Roman work of fiction Satyricon by Petronius. Trimalchio is a freedman who through hard work and perseverance has attained power and wealth.
truculent – Eager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant.
pasquinade – A satire or lampoon, especially one that ridicules a specific person, traditionally written and posted in a public place.

If you liked this post, you might also like:
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
You Lost Me There by Rosecrans Baldwin
Library Portraits Project

4 Responses to “The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald”

  • Jen Says:

    I recently re-read The Great Gatsby as well and definitely felt differently about it that I had in my youth. I just fell in love with the prose. I underlined sooo many things in the book and found myself chastising my younger self for not appreciating the beauty of the prose. My blog post on my re-read highlights the more flowery moments because I was a polisci major in college and all these years later still have a flair of the flowery. ;-)

  • Caro Says:

    My favorite quote was from the character Jordan Baker: “I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”

    I remember reading this in high school and it resonated so deeply with my introverted self.

  • iris de mallemarok Says:

    Gatsby should be Required Rereading. It’s amazing how much I mischaracterized Daisy when the younger me read it.

    Favorite quote: No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.

  • Karen Says:

    I did a summer blog project a few years back where I read through Gatsby and drank whatever they drank. Fun times! http://twelves.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/drinking-through-gatsby-intro/