how many times have you experienced something deemed a ‘classic’ whether it be book, movie or song and left with the reaction hmm… that’s it? it always leaves me feeling miffed like for some reason i’m not quite smart-enough, artsy-enough, or experienced-enough to understand these works. but the truth of the matter is, it’s all about timing.
i think i first read The Great Gatsby in high school. and in read, i mean skim as was evidenced by the crisp, clean pages of my old book (guilty face). but in the first few chapters of my rereading, i stumbled across these tidbits
The wind had blown off, leaving a loud bright night with wings beating in the trees and a persistent organ sound as the full bellows of the earth blew the frogs full of life.
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
now i’m wondering what i DIDN’T like about this book! the characters are vapid and vain as befitting for the materialistic 1920’s yet somehow likable and Fitzgerald’s writing is flowery without distracting from the narrative. so far, the passage that has lingered with me the most has been:
He [Gatsby] smiled understandingly– much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
isn’t that exactly how we all want to be perceived? i can definitely relate to this myself. i’m constantly hoping others view only the polished version of myself. the one that i’m willing to present sans worries or stress or flaws. i think it took me the last several years to reconnect with this book, but so far i’m very glad i have.
i’ve also heard talk of a remake into a film starring carey mulligan (one of my favorite actresses), leonardo dicaprio (double score!) and directed by baz luhrmann (!!!). when can i get my ticket??
it’s good to know that no matter how overused or overrated some things may seem, the classics will always be around. and with very good reason indeed, when the time is right.
my next classics venture: finding that overdue LBD (little black dress). wish me luck!