The Great Gatsby, the movie is out so, true to form, one embarks of the usual ritual: read the book, and watching everything else one finds on Netflix as well as, every movie ever made. The Great Gatsby is really the story of the American dream and the story of reinvention with an all too familiar plot. Gatsby meets a girl Daisy Buchanan during the war. Daisy invites him to the party, which he attends in his uniform giving him an air of respectability. She fashions him with a silk scuff and a Cain that should symbolize respectability and he becomes part of the party. When he returns from the war, he learns that Daisy who- had waited for him- is now married to Tom Buchanan. Tom Buchanan who is, rich spoilt, philander, none the less, an accomplished sports man-about town sort of a man-the real American Alpha male who happens to be full of prejudice; Don Giovanni sort of character, and old money type.
Gatsby decides after the war, to find the love he lost and completely reinvents himself for the woman he loves, Daisy. He tells Nick Caraway, a fabricated story about his rich parents and inheritance as a way to impress on him, his respectability. The reality is, he is a fraud who sells bootleg liquor. Gatsby’s success isn’t what it actually appears to be. However, his optimism and his belief that he can relive the past and change it, make the readers some how, feel great compassion for him, and compelled to love him because, here is a man who has reinvented himself for the love of his life and a love that once was. In many ways this story, which seems at first glance to be just about the Jazz parties in the 1920’s, is about being Invited to the party of the American dream. As Nick puts it later in the novel, he was the only one who was Invited, everyone seemed to just show up. What is so chilling is, this story is about F Scott Fitzgerald himself because He invented himself through the books he wrote so that he could win Zelda’s love. During their youth whilst living on Elise Island, they had been the ‘IT’ couple of the Jazz era. Then, Zelda as he put it, was very spoilt and realized later in life the real value of work. Needless to say, he never got to be fully loved by Zelda and Zelda became a diagnosed schizophrenic mental patient. Fitzgerald, by then a screenwriter and a failed screenwriter, seemed to aim aimlessly in Hollywood ironically, the place of reinvention.
This is why I have a problem with the concept of dreams. There is a marked difference between having confidence in oneself and accepting oneself completely whilst pursuing your hearts desires and being realistic about what is possible, whilst understanding and keeping an open mind is a whole host of issues: just keeping a level head and without being white Excessively hubristic. What I find Ironic is that, in ‘The Last Tycoon’ F.Scott Fitzgerald quotes Hillel (הלל) “If I am not for myself, Who Will Be for me? And When I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when? “The sad thing about this story of reinvention is that, it keeps people running away from themselves. Even in cases were people to be involved in work that is actually for the betterment of society. Scott Fitzgerald died young in his 40’s ironically from a heart attack. His books and his work are almost autobiographical in a way.
My uncle, who Moved to America in a frantic state to find ‘the dream’ lol! and I, have a constant debate which as you might have guessed, I must win at all costs. Pugnacious as it might seem, it’s all tongue -in-cheek really. He defends America with every fibber and I defend the Brits desperately digging for anything that advances my argument and essentially makes me win. He mocks our fish and chips and our black pudding and I mock the obesity crisis in the US. lol! It’s all really fun because both of us are foreigners in both countries with “A Special relationship” and we-have a special relationship of our own.
What he provides me with is a torrent of knowledge about the aspirations of the new Americans. What I glean from the conversation we have is, It is a place were there are endless possibilities, open roads, and always a happy ever after . If that is the case, why are there so many Charles Ramsey’s? (You guessed it, I Went to town on this responding, “you guys just love a hero” in a Yankee Doodle do sort of way: of which he responded, “can you blame us?”) lol! Which brings up another point watching Americans every time That There Is a story breaks out or There Is a Super Bowl celebration, makes you Understand why the Romans were able spectacular events for the plebs