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Author Topic: Gatsby's Green Light  (Read 9859 times)

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Offline Asharia

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Re: Gatsby's Green Light
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2019, 03:37:57 PM »
... and to think that only ghosts haunt humans. even the land is not immune.




how i came to wax poetic about the great gatsby without drowning myself
aka "how working here is so boring i read 5 books in one month and wrote something long overdue"



maureen corrigan* once said that the one thing you can relied on in a college english freshman class is that everyone would had at least read the all american classic, the great gatsby, before even stepping foot on campus. I don’t know how true that is, but i know i have read and loved the great gatsby before stepping onto my campus. I was a sophomore in high school in Mrs. C’s AP english class (years later my best friend who seems to know everyone then and now would tell me that Mrs C divorced her husband and moved to the UK which sucks because she had once assigned us to write letters to our adult selves in which she promised to deliver after a ten year span ---it’s been over ten years and then some ---but that’s a story for another day). Well, Mrs C was about two years fresh out of college but I didn’t care because when you’re in high school twenty-somethings seems more like forever-nothings but definitely not teen-anymore so any adults no matter how young in their career is automatically old in our eyes. AP english wasn’t hard because i was a nerd devouring everything i could get my hands on since coming to this country. In the fourth grade Mrs Blankenship, like all well rounded teachers preverbially do, asked me what i wanted to be but lacking the vocabulary and harboring an insane about of fright of the strange language i only stared at her before my white classmate (who has never seen an asian girl by the way that i was often confused for pocahontas since it was around the time the disney movie came out) elbowed me with an answer on my behalf..”maybe she can write”; i read a lot to catch up with my peers that year.

Mrs C said the great gatsby was an american classic which made me doubt her a lot, not because she was from kentucky, but i had it in my carolina mind that i was, arrogantly, more intellectually curious then my classmates so if this whatever gatsby was great at all why hadn’t i heard of him before?  After all, i had spent my free time, independently and gladly, perusing the school library during countless lunch hours running my fingers through the spines of dostoyevsky and kundera and kafka that some american fitzgerald couldn’t so simply have had it all in spades (might i add that my love for russian literature developed during this frantic jungian search for self that lead me to sit in small classrooms listening to linguists talk about cyrillic my first two years of undergrad).  Mrs C warned us that by the end of the book, no matter who we consider the heroes and villains were, we would have to produce an essay defending our opinion of gatsby being worthy of its american classic title because a lot of people who knows about a lot of things had made up their mind that it was so what’s a bunch of high kids but to espouse their two-cents into the discussion. 

So on a spring weekend i read the great gatsby ferociously only to be interrupted by bouts of bamboo canning done by my mother in our carport. Every spring in the carolinas the hmong community willingly takes it upon themselves to help rid our neighbors (with permission, of course) of their overgrown bamboo shoots --it was free food--and dammit, if the white man didn’t know how delicious these sprouts were, we certainly weren’t going to start telling them now. The countless hours of peeling and cutting through layers of hard bamboo leaves only to be left with a miniscule of the edible plant was really uninspiring. My thumb took it the hardest. I wanted to be done to start my essay so i plowed through layers of stalks despite my mother’s constant scolding to “slow down child” and exasperated  “you’re ruining the best part of the plant… ntuj aw!”  it fell on deaf ears; I did not know that jay gatsby had already smitten me. My rose color world needed an antihero and i had found it in gatsby, my forever greek tragedy of the human condition made of hubris and ego. I had a lot of questions for Mrs C to answer. “You don’t have to like it but you have to read it” was the title of my essay. “The great gatsby offers readers a glimpse into the world of the rich and the ever elusive american dream we all chase but none seem to find. Its characters are full of self indulgence propped precariously on the social sphere they find themselves belonging to…” as i began my essay.  But secretly, social issues was far from the thoughts i held; I was yearning for a love i never had to contend with jay’s emotional bond with daisy (keep in mind, AP english was challenging but the hard part was high school and most kids in high school had dreamt of young love once or twice if not all day on some days so gatsby left a mark on the young and impressionable becoming a love that had solidified itself into the aether of my subconscious in subsequent years). A green light worth chasing was a green light worth waiting. I had decided it was the kind of love i wanted to have (and maybe a gluttonous guilt for losing it too) not realizing how stunted my idea would become nor how tragic my reasoning was; I fail to realize that the kind of love jay had was detrimental to one’s health (gatsby died for goodness sake!) but the damage was done;  i took to reading about jay every so often as a reminder to chase the light.

So i traveled and read gatsby between train rides and plane rides, between classes and buses, in parts unknown and with families i no longer see. I was constantly chasing my own green light, or just any hint of light that would allow me to feel the ache of sentimentality: in boys who read poetry to me in the dark, in boys who became the dark; in skies bluer than the ocean, and the voice of springsteen every sunday against the humdrum of the needle echoing every tune of nebraska into some deep abyss, the genesis of gatsby great demise, his harmonica wailing rocks into a lullaby everything dies baby that’s a fact but maybe everything that dies someday comes back put your makeup on fix your hair real pretty and meet me tonight in atlantic city…” In my later years (and by this i mean now) when i had had enough of my own love lost coupled with an excruciating pining for nostalgia that could only be found wasted in youth, i woke up with a creeping thought that jay was not what i had imagined him to be. His love for daisy was obsession at best, mediocre at worst; living and loving with his own selfish idea of her removed from any love he had for her that once when daisy became vulnerable with the courage to decide they should “run away” together he found the idea anathem to the life he crafted; who was she to denied him his grand declaration of finally reaching his american dream? In his state of mind, anything that happened in the dark was not something to be proud of. Mrs C failed to explain this part in AP english class. I spent fragile and fleeting hours staring at ceiling dust … and then i started the long descent to examine my entire opinion of what i had held to be true of the great gatsby; this time not because i didn’t believe in him anymore but because 




* search "so we read on" on youtube for the lecture

I miss you. <3



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Offline Asharia

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Re: Gatsby's Green Light
« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2019, 09:29:31 PM »
Highway,

Come home... 

Whatever happens, I'm here for you.

 



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Offline Asharia

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Re: Gatsby's Green Light
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2019, 02:00:41 AM »



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Offline Asharia

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Re: Gatsby's Green Light
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2019, 01:26:35 PM »
Tbh I forgot what your hair looks like!  :D  All I could remember were your braids that you got at one point and your hair was super long then. I tell ya, my memory sucks now.

I need a haircut too but I hate making small talk with the person cutting my hair. :/



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Offline Asharia

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Re: Gatsby's Green Light
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2019, 09:54:38 AM »
Safe travels, my dear. I'll keep this light on for you.



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