terça-feira, maio 14, 2013

What’s most appealing about “Gatsby” might be its mood of witty hopelessness, of vivacious self-destructiveness. When Daisy says, of her daughter, “I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool,” you can’t help but be drawn in. Perhaps she’s right: look around, and you can easily see the advantages of being rich, attractive, and ignorant. Even if she isn’t right, Daisy’s attitude strikes a chord. This atmosphere of casual, defiant, disillusioned cool is the novel’s unique contribution to literature. It’s the reason the novel’s endured. And it’s to this side of the novel that Luhrmann is attracted: the seductive side.
Fitzgerald understood the pleasures of giving in, and he saw people as desperate to give in to nearly anything—a drink, a person, a story, a feeling, a song, a crowd, an idea. We were especially willing, he thought, to give in to ideas—to fantasies. “Gatsby” captures, with great vividness, the push and pull of illusion and self-delusion; the danger and thrill of forgetting, lying, and fantasizing; the hazards and the indispensability of dreaming and idealization. We often declare our independence, Fitzgerald thought, by declaring our allegiance to a cause that makes what Trilling called a “large, strict, personal demand upon life.” Everyone is always getting carried away in “Gatsby” (not least its narrator, Nick Carraway). They get swept up in big parties. They don’t want to drink, but once the whiskey bottle is produced, they drink too much. They’re led into back rooms where they meet gangsters. They become involved in love triangles. They accept the generosity of bad people; they borrow cars and drive too fast; they adopt mannerisms, and believe in principles which, last week, they didn’t know existed. Everybody is getting carried away—but always in their own way. Daisy, when she sings along, sings “in a husky, rhythmic whisper, bringing out a meaning in each word that it had never had before and would never have again.” Reading “Gatsby,” you think: What could be more pleasurable? You meet someone at a party, and you find that their attitudes exert a force on yours. You become a little more like them, and, also, a little more yourself. It’s a little like the way you fall in love with a pop song. You give in to the same song as everyone else, but in the most private, personal way.
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