The Great Gatsby, by Francis Scott Fitzgerald (II)

You can see this video from the film The Great Gatsby (1974) starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. It shows a fantastic portrait of the American society during the 1920s. I recommend it to all of you!


The Great Gatsby is a profoundly historical novel. Gatsby is really an extended flashback: events are narrated by Nick Carraway some two years after they have occurred. This technique gives the novel a formal circularity –starting at the end, we move to the beginning and proceed back to the end). This is a typically Fitzgeraldian manner -nothing is fixed, everything is fluid, moving, changing.

Irrevocability of time. The present doesn’t count -it’s simply the ground upon which Gatsby stands while looking to the future where he sees the past.

Gatsby’s more famous remark about time reveals the refusal to recognize and accept temporality

Gatsby: “Can’t repeat the past… why of course you can!”

Gatsby is the uncontrolled romantic –his is the American dream of success. Money was a means rather than an end for him. Gatsby’s belief in his dream –which was being together with Daisy- was so great that only the dream existed for him. That’s why becoming wealthy like tom Buchanan and taking Daisy for himself becomes Gatsby’s consuming strategy.

Professor Ross Posnock believed that “Money has created this artificial world. As Marx reminds us, with the money to buy something comes the power to change reality into mere representation. Gatsby’s love is impotent and a misfortune because he doesn’t exchange love for love. Such a balanced, equal transaction is nearly impossible in capitalism –which is founded on profit, created by what Marx calls the surplus-value produced by unequal exchange.”

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2 Responses to The Great Gatsby, by Francis Scott Fitzgerald (II)

  1. Pingback: The Great Gatsby, by Francis Scott Fitzgerald (I) | This is a literary blog

  2. Brilliant quote from Prof. Ross. How are you acquainted with him? I took a class on Henry James from him, back in 1997 when he was teaching at the University of Washington. Great guy with an amazing brain and quirky-subtle-hilarious sense of humor. One of my more memorable professors, to say the least. I must strongly recommend his book, The Trial of Curiosity: Henry James, William James, and the Challenge of Modernity. It reads well and is equally informative and stimulating.

    –David Eriksen

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