Archives for category: Great Gatsby

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THE GREAT GATSBY LAST LINE HAIKU
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

So we beat on,

boats against the current,

borne back ceaselessly

into the past.

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Photo: Jewelry-lovers can wear the last line of The Great Gatsby in a stunning brass cuff, available from Jezebel Charms, a British site that offers “charming literary creations.”

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GREAT GATSBY RAP
by Zander

The man Jay Gatsby
Only wants to be happy
Has the dream of an American
To have a wife, he’s a fan 
All he wants is Daisy
Just the thought of her makes him hazy
Longing for Green Light
Tom can only watch in spite
The new friend of Nick Carraway
Linking him and Daisy from across the bay
Luxurious Living in the Egg
Having lavish parties on the reg
Driving up in his Rolls Royce
Saying “old sport” with his voice
Having Daisy is his last hope
Without her he wouldn’t be able to cope
Always a man with a lot of time
Getting around with his buddy Wolfsheim
Some say he is a man of crime
Some say he bootlegs wine
Trying his luck in a love triangle
In the end all he could do was untangle
Shot by Mr. Wilson on a pool float
He then lay dead in a blood-filled moat
He leaves a legacy of a mysterious fellow
Who ended his life lying around mellow
This is the story of a man who was great
Who died in a pool with a life full of hate

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“Great Gatsby” by Zander appears on teenlink.com (written by teens since 1989).

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For the uninitiated, an “erasure” poem is where you take existing text — in the above case, Chapter 3 from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald — and mark out some of the words to create a poem. Here’s how the above poem reads when it stands alone…

GATSBY SUMMER NIGHT
Through the summer nights
men and girls came and went like moths
and the stars.
I watched his guests
slit the waters of the Sound,
the city scampered 
like a brisk yellow bug
eight servants left his back door
in a pyramid of pulpless halves.
At least enough colored lights
to make a Christmas tree
bewitched to a dark gold
so long forgotten

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Learn more about erasure poems at Found Poetry Review.

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GATSBY LE MAGNIFIQUE (Opening lines, in French)

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Quand étais plus jeune, ce qui veut dire plus vulnérable, mon père me donna un conseil que je ne cesse de retourner dans mon esprit.

–Quand tu auras envie de critique quelqu’un, songe que tout le monde n’a pas joui des mêmes avantages que toi.

En Anglais: 

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” 

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I checked out Amazon.fr (Amazon’s French site) and found numerous editions of Gatsby Le Magnifique — and many are among the site’s best-selling titles. Say what you like about Baz Luhrmann‘s film adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but the movie has  sparked a renewed interest in Fitzgerald’s novel among people around the world — and that is certainly magnifique.

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In 2006, renowned Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami — author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle — accomplished a long-standing goal by translating The Great Gatsby into Japanese. Murakami has discussed his reverence for the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel many times over the years — and has written a compelling afterword to his translation. Read Murakami’s moving love letter to Fitzgerald’s masterwork at scribd.com.

Here are some excerpts from Murakami’s heartfelt homage to The Great Gatsby

When someone asks, ‘Which three books have meant the most to you?’ I can answer without having to think: The Great Gatsby, Dostoevesky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye. All three have been indispensable to me (both as a reader and as a writer); yet if I were forced to select only one, I would unhesitatingly choose Gatsby. Had it not been for Fitzgerald’s novel, I would not be writing the kind of literature I am today (indeed, it is possible that I would not be writing at all, although that is neither here nor there).

Whatever the case, you can sense the level of my infatuation with The Great Gatsby. It taught me so much and encouraged me so greatly in my own life. Through slender in size for a full-length work, it served as a standard and a fixed point, an axis around which I was able to organize the many coordinates that make up the world of the novel. I read Gatsby over and over, poking into every nook and cranny, until I had virtually memorized entire sections.

Remarks such as these are bound to perplex more than a few readers. ‘Look, Murakami,’ they’ll say, ‘I read the novel, and I don’t get it. Just why do you think it’s so great?’ My first impulse is to challenge them right back. ‘Hey, if The Great Gatsby isn’t great,’ I am tempted to say, inching closer, ‘then what the heck is?’…Gatsby is such a finely wrought novel – its scenes so fully realized, its evocations of sentiment so delicate, its language so layered – that, in the end, one has to study it line by line in English to appreciate its true value.”

 

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Photo: F. Scott Fitzgerald with wife Zelda and daughter Scottie, 1923, in the sports coupé the author purchased a few years earlier after selling his first novel, THIS SIDE OF PARADISE.

“When I was a boy, I dreamed that I sat always at the wheel of a magnificent Stutz, a Stutz as low as a snake and as red as an Indiana barn.”

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

According to an insightful 1993 article entitled “The Automobile as a Central Symbol in F. Scott Fitzgerald” by Luis Girón Echevarría:

“The cars in Fitzgerald’s life provide a rough gauge by which to measure the discrepancy between the dream and reality of his life, as well as his waning fortunes, and his journey from careless, irresponsible youth to cautious, worried middle-age…

His first car, purchased in 1920 after the publication of his best-selling first novel, This Side of Paradise, was a three-year-oíd sports coupé; during the next two decades he would own a used Rolls-Royce, an oíd Buick, [a] Stutz, a nine-year-old Packard, an oíd 1934 Ford coupé, and, finally, a second-hand 1937 Ford convertible

It was Fitzgerald’s destiny to begin life dreaming of a magnificent red Stutz Bearcat and to end up driving a second-hand Ford. But during the interval he wrote of America’s dreams and of America’s enduring love affair with the automobile.”

Read more of this fascinating article here.

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Photo: Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) rides with Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the 2013 film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby.

Here’s how Nick Carraway describes Gatsby’s car in Fitzgerald’s novel:

It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns. Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather conservatory, we started to town..”

While Nick describes Gatsby’s car as “cream colored,” other characters in the book describe it as “yellow” — which, as most of us learned in high school, symbolizes Gatsby’s pursuit of the gold, of the American Dream.

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Photo: Nick Carraway (Sam Waterston) drives with Jay Gatsby (Robert Redford) in the 1974 film version of Fitzgerald‘s novel.

But what make and model of car did Gatsby drive — in the novel and the various film versions? A recent article in the New York Times by Jerry Garrett offers some interesting answers. Since the information gets a bit convoluted, I’m going to resort to bullet points — and, in movie parlance, cut to the chase.

  • 1925 novel: Fitzgerald writes, “On weekends, his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight …” According to Garrett’s New York Times article (May 10, 2013), “The Rolls most likely would have been a 1922 Silver Ghost…”
  • 1974 movie (starring Robert Redford): Redford drives a 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom  — for a story set in 1922.
  • 2013 movie (starring Leonardo DiCaprio): DiCaprio drives a 1929 Duesenberg Model J — again, for a story set in 1922.

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Photo: Cars featured in the 1949 film version of The Great Gatsby starring Alan Ladd.

I also checked out Jerry Garrett’s blog, where he adds another interesting fact…

  • 1949 movie (starring Alan Ladd): In this film version, as in the 2013 offering, Gatsby drives a Duesenberg (though I don’t know year or model). According to vintage car expert Jerry Garrett, “The point of having Gatsby owning a Rolls-Royce in the book, and having a closet full of clothes from England, was to help sell his fantasy girl Daisy Buchanan on his lie of having gone to school at Oxford. The original Duesenberg was made in Indiana. Would Daisy, a society belle from Louisville, Kentucky, have been impressed with a Hoosier?”

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A Boston-based costume website advises would-be customers to “Capture the Great Gatsby Era.” I have to hand it to the culture-loving folks in Beantown. While revelers in other cities are dressing up as ghouls, zombies, witches, and Honey Boo Boo, Bostonians are celebrating Halloween by dressing as Jay Gatsby, Tom and Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, and Nick Carraway. Très elegant…

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…the final lines of The Great Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s handwriting. 

“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.”