Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sunday Evening Soliloquy: Can we revisit the past?

My apologies for the lack of updates in the last few weeks. I actually started my own PR company and am now self-employed, which doesn't leave as much time for my hobby, this blog. The next time I write, I'll write about all of the new changes in my life, and what I do. However, tonight I will write about something that's been on my mind for awhile... The Great Gatsby.  Not the movie, or my favorite book, but the themes that emerge from the story. The themes I wish to explore in this Sunday Evening Soliloquy (even if it's Monday) are just as relevant and timely in Fitzgerald's world in 1925 as they are today.

I was reading the other night, and this excerpt stood out to me:

“And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

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—to-morrow 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.”

There is something very real about the excitement you get from seeing a glimmer of an old love or crush that you haven't seen in years. As human beings, we often romanticize our memories and create unrealistic expectations of people who once held a special place in our hearts. In the Great Gatsby,  Gatsby is not only in love with Daisy Buchanan but more the idea of what Daisy Buchanan represents to him, a better time in his life. I'm not sure about you, but I have a tendency for nostalgia.  I think that sometimes when I look back on times in my life, I forget the struggles, loneliness or  frustrations that took place and only remember the good. Have you ever romanticized a love lost or a crush? Are they really the "person" that you have created in your head or are they "human" and flawed like you? Looking back it's hard to remember why things didn't work out in the first place and the reasons you do remember become oversimplified until you forget the reason why things didn't work out altogether.  In Gatsby's case, he creates a glamourous lifestyle and a new "improved" version of himself to please Daisy. However,  Gatsby's idillic Daisy he has created over time leaves out  a clearly flawed and superficial Daisy Buchanan that is apparent to everyone except for him.  It's the concept of Daisy that Gatsby has fallen in love with, not Daisy herself. He can't see that her desire for material wealth and a title are only symptoms that expose her shallow nature. 

The next poignant theme explored in the quote asks if "we can ever really revisit the past". In the line "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past",  it shows the difficulty and struggle that takes place revisiting memories or a world that was once familiar.  I think many of us find solace in the idea of going back to a place or person that feels like "home",  however, as time and circumstances change us, we often forget that they change "home" too.  Can we ever go back to something that once was? Probably not.  However, I think we can create something new with someone or someplace old.  I believe the trick to change, is remembering that it is constant and evolving. You can't hold time or people still.  In our world, it's important to have nostalgia and remember what was once important to us, but we can never expect to have what we once had again. 

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