I’ve been gathering classics – old books I haven’t ready before – from the library, and took one of them along on my journeys – The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I decided not to take the two Dickens, since one was 700 pages and the other 400.? I couldn’t kid myself into believing I’d spend enough time in my room to read those.
What a writer!? Although with an interestingly detached style.? Almost like reporting, rather than being involved.? Keeping judgment, or a point of view, off to one side.
And what a sad book.? In the end, really, everyone loses.? The car repair shop owner’s wife, Myrtle Wilson, especially – though she had the life she wanted for a while.? Jay Gatsby had it all – plunged in being wild and taking risks – but never had what he wanted.? Tom and Daisy Buchanan, betraying and being betrayed.? And Daisy betrayed by her very culture, written in the days when women, particularly women of means, were basically expected to do nothing of value.? And the neighbor and friend of them all, Nick Carraway, swinging back and forth, and only able to take action when it was much too late.
This was another one I wanted to re-write, particularly the two main women – I don’t count Jordan Baker at all – there was no feeling about her in the book.? If the women had been able, in the Roaring Twenties, to act on their own behalf, and to believe in their own value, the whole story could not have existed.? Tom Buchanan, of course, once having Daisy in his power as her husband, picked Myrtle as a mistress, doing what his culture had taught him to do.? Undervaluing himself, as well as both women.
The real tragedy was Jay Gatsby.? I felt with a bit more time, he would have been able to stand aside, see the story playing out, and make a different choice.? He valued himself only for what he earned and created to give to Daisy.? Who, trapped in her own story, was not able to see his value.
And, it is clear by looking around, that this story continues to play out everywhere and every day – though I feel women are getting smarter and more clear about their value.? And that the story that women need men is totally backwards.?? More and more women are able to choose partners, rather than needing them.? We are on our way to health as a culture.? But poor Jay Gatsby remains trapped in time.