Monday, January 10, 2005

immersed in the Jazz Age

Just finished rereading "The Great Gatsby." I had to read it in high school, during the dreaded year of "American Literature." In a year of what seemed to me depressing and boring literature, Gatsby stood out. It was still a sad story, but I enjoyed Fitzgerald's relatively straightforward writing (I never really recovered from the whale-hunting specifics of "Moby Dick" or Thoreau's shopping lists from "Walden").

I enjoyed reading it again, although found myself dreading the end, as I've always found Gatsby's character somewhat sympathetic. But this time I was much more sensitive to the nuances, foreshadowing, the underlying class issues which had escaped me as a teenager. (I know, I know, but when you're 16 the fact that Daisy's voice was full of money may not have registered fully). Also having recently been whisked through New York on a job interview, I was able to visualize settings a little more clearly. All in all, I found reading it much more revealing of the human experience than I ever could have understood in 1983.

But I still don't want to reread "Moby Dick."


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