Since the Academy Awards are upon us, I thought I’d look at great books that were made into (successful) films.
Act one: The Great Gatsby
This novel has seen a couple of different inceptions most notably starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the great man himself. While I didn’t like Baz Luhrman’s adaptation for a number of reasons too long and tedious for this format, I thought both DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan both served F. Scott Fitzgerald proud.
I first read The Great Gatsby when I was 19 and though I enjoyed it then, my second reading early last year really made me get a greater understanding and appreciation for the tale. There is so much that has already been said about this iconic tale.
Jay Gatsby himself is such a flawed and fabulous protagonist. The life of fantasy that he has built around him sparkles like the glistening lake that separates him and his beloved viewed only by the green lamp. Despite all his imperfections, I have always had a soft spot for Jay or rather, James Gatz. In varying behaviours and affections, we all present a version of ourselves to the world of how we would like to be seen – Erving Goffman’s Presentation of Self in Everyday Life taught me this if nothing else. And thus Gatsby’s presentation of himself is all for one sole objective – the pursuit of happiness through the love and adulation of Daisy Buchanan.
I wouldn’t call The Great Gatsby a classic love story. Or even a love story at all. There are so many entangling love affairs within the characters that notions of love are conflated and misunderstood. To me the salient message of this tale is the truth about ourselves that we hide every day. We all try and become a ‘Great’ manifestation of ourselves to our friends, strangers and loved ones.
That, old sport, is it for now.
Act two to come tomorrow.