Saturday, 30 November 2013

On the east and of Fitzgerald

This is a first for me- a post on a movie. But I felt like writing today, and this is the first thing that came to mind. 


I recently watched The Great Gatsby (2013) by virtue of many days at sea and the hard drives being passed around (I had missed it in the Cinemas). I hadn't read any reviews nor had I watched any trailers (though I did see posters/adverts of it), so I had little or almost no expectations. I had read the book before, so it pleased me to be able to interpret the movie with a reference point. 

I had imagined Gatsby to be more of a gentleman and less of a maniac. A maniac of course, but a maniac in control; more soft spoken, more gentlemanly and more 'Oggsford' like. So, I had pictured Gatsby to have been someone along the lines of James Franco instead of that Dicaprio. And I had imagined all the parties and music to have been more big-band-charleston like. 

Of course, all these are just a matter of interpretation and it's inescapable that everything we read is colored very much by our experiences and cultural background.  


I also had the opportunity to be in East Malaysia for a few days sometime in September, which was an interesting time for me because I had observed that the people were remarkably different from that in the west (of Malaysia). And though (or because) they were extremely accommodating and friendly, I couldn't help feeling slightly (and strangely) out of place. It appeared to me that I have now become what they call a 'city boy' and there was a need to adapt.  

So it made me very happy to have found that the closing lines of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby seemed to sum up my feelings of the east and of home: 

That's my middle-west--not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns but the thrilling, returning trains of my youth and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house in a city where dwellings are still called through decades by a family's name. I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all--Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.

And if the Lord leads me, maybe I'll have another go at the east. 

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