Awards of Laziness

Written June 6

So I want to blog, but I feel kind of stumped as to what to blog about. Luckily I do have something to jump off of – I’ve been given two blog award things, so I’m gonna do those and you’re gonna like it. So there.

*is the worst*

The first award is the Versatile Blogger Award from Julia over at Julia the Writer Girl.

Like basically ever other award, I have to tell y’all seven things about myself and then nominate other people except I have no friends so maybe I won’t do that part. Here we go.

1. When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a fighter pilot.

2. I have five stuffed animals in my room that I have received from the age of 13 onward; as a result, they all have names like Enthony, Piper, Beau, Schubert, and Chekov.

3. I had my last lesson with my cello teacher of over two years today.

4. I cry a lot more than the average human.

5. I have all the lyrics to this song memorized (in fact, this video is the first suggestion that pops up as I type “youtube” into my URL bar):

You are allowed to judge me.

6. I had a shrine to Artemis Fowl in my old room — in fact, if you look around enough on the blog, you’ll probably find a photo in the background somewhere. Now they books are just on my shelf… but I do still have all of them. 😉

7. When I was a kid, I loved Macbeth.

8. I am of the personal opinion that Roald Dahl books are masterpieces, and I loved all of them as a child.

9. The Pottermore sorting hat would have put me in Gryffindor if it hadn’t put me in Slytherin. (Could you imagine? Me? Gryffindor? There’s a reason I stuck with Slytherin.)

10. Though I consider myself more of a Trekkie now (in every respect except music – Star Trek music can’t even hold a candle to the Star Wars score), I was obsessed with Star Wars when I was younger, and Harrison Ford was my celebrity crush. (I still have kind of a thing for him. I mean, look at this face.)

Written June 18

So I am really bad at this, apparently, but here’s the second part of this post:

Aspirer, from Heavenly Aspirations tagged me in the Scrumptious blog award. 🙂 She asked me these questions – again, as I have no one else to tag, the buck stops here, as it were. 😉

1. How do you like your tea?
Two sugars (Sweet & Low, I know, I’m giving myself cancer) and a dollop of skim milk.
2. Favorite Jane Austen novel?
I’ve actually only ever read Pride and Prejudice – but I love all the stories. Sense & Sensibility is fantastic. 🙂
3. Cellos or violins?
Cello! But I might be… slightly biased.
4. Latin or Greek?
Well, I’ve taken Latin for years and years and I’ve got a soft spot for the Romans, so I have to say Latin. But I’m dying to take Greek – unfortunately my schedule is too full next year. 😦
5. Dream job? (Note that reality does not apply; if you so desired, for example, you could be a librarian in the 1900’s)
My dream job is to be a mom. ❤ But careerwise I’d love to own a bookshop… One with bookshelves all the way up to the ceiling and sliding ladders and mismatched armchairs everywhere. I don’t think it would be possible because independent bookshops are threatened even now – think of in 10 years when I’m out of college? That’s one of my silly dreams.
6. Favorite saint, and why?
Ooh, tough one. I’d have to say Mary. I have a lot of favorite saints, but the Blessed Mother is so much a help to me in my life, and I don’t know what I’d do without her.
7. Would you rather live a short life with death by martyrdom or a long, painstaking life with a natural death?
I’d feel guilty picking either one – because I wouldn’t be picking them for the right reasons. But I’ll say this: neither is better than the other in terms of sanctification… Long & painstaking can equal martyrdom if offered correctly… *but this is a theology lecture for later*
8. Favorite kind of chocolate?
Dark chocolate.
9. Your kind of Prince Charming?
A doofusy one who likes music and reading and intelligent discussion. Basically the absentminded professor type who doesn’t mind dorking around from time to time. 🙂
10. Favorite fictional character?
Jay Gatsby. But you saw that coming.
I’ll try not to post so sporadically but I feel guilty trying to promise anything anymore… Forgive me?
~Hero
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Things That Make Me Very Happy

No words. Just. Look.

Which means I’m breaking this out:

 

Which is basically one of my favorite things to do.

Also, I found this:

Link to sweater

It’s just too perfect. I’m too broke to buy it, but I want it soooo baaaadlyyyyy…

I’ve also picked up my writing again, thanks from some encouragement from my history teacher… So we’ll see what happens! I don’t have access to my old novels right now, but I’m slowly outlining a book I’ve had an idea for for ages. I’m excited. 🙂

That’s all for me! My brother has a voice recital today and I’m off to read Romeo and Juliet instead of The Cid. My work ethic is so good.

~Hero

A Change in the Weather

Okay, more like a change in the schedule. When I started this blog, I only had classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, leaving Wednesdays completely free.

Now I have classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, so it’s really hard for me to blog on Wednesdays. Do not fret, however! This is good news, because I’m now going to start blogging on Tuesdays AND Fridays, as well as my usual Sunday post. 🙂

Also, I apologize for all the Great Gatsby posts. I’ve been really lazy about blogging recently and as a result have been really boring. But never fear! Today is my last Gatsby post! 🙂 On Sunday I’m going to do another fashion post – I’ve been watching a lot of Once Upon a Time and I want to do a piece inspired by Mary Margaret (Snow White).

Anyway, here’s the last of the Gatsby. 🙂

Continuing the discussion of reliving the past:

I’d like to point out Daisy’s daughter here, in the scene at the Buchanan’s house before all the crap hits the fan. Daisy talks about how she doesn’t look like Tom, tries to convince herself that the child is solely hers – and then the girl asks, “Where’s Daddy?” This is where it really hit me – and I think Gatsby, too – that Tom Buchanan cannot be done away with just like that. Daisy’s daughter doesn’t want or care about Gatsby, she wants her father, and Gatsby will never be able to replace him – obliterate him and take his place. He can’t – it’s not possible – and I feel that in that moment, Gatsby starts to understand things. In that moment, things turn south.

There’s one last thing I’d like to mention before I finally close the book. I was watching John Green’s videos about the Great Gatsby (which I will link to at the end of this post), and he says, “You might have noticed that life isn’t fair and sometimes bad people don’t get what’s coming to them.” He goes on to say that wealth and social standing decrease the probability of getting what’s coming to you. I initially saw this video before I read the Great Gatsby, so that idea was in my head through the whole book. I was trying to figure out who and what John was talking about, and I was stumped until I looked over the final chapter again. I could be wrong here, but I’m pretty sure he’s talking about Tom Buchanan. I get this impression from the way Nick describes him at the end of it all.

Tom confesses to telling Wilson that the car that killed Myrtle belonged to Gatsby. He says, “What if I did tell him? He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy’s but he was a tough one. He ran over Myrtle like you’d run over a dog and never even stopped his car.” He goes on to talk about how he suffered, too, how it was all so awful for him… That’s the thing. Tom is always the victim. He screws over everyone else, but he’s still the victim here. Myrtle gets hit and killed – he’s the victim. Daisy’s life is an atrocity and she tries to escape it… Well, it certainly wasn’t his fault and gosh darn it if he’s not suffering too… How dare you think otherwise?

He feels completely justified in causing a man to be reduced to shambles and eventually commit suicide because of his and Daisy’s mistakes.

Myrtle ran out to the car because she thought it was Tom’s car – she thought she was running to him. Tom thinks Gatsby’s a monster for hitting her, when really it was his own wife who killed it was his own wife who killed Myrtle, and really, it’s Tom’s fault she’s dead. He knows Wilson is going to shoot Gatsby if he tells him that it’s Gatsby’s car and he doesn’t care: he tells him and says Gatsby had it coming.

What exactly did Gatsby do wrong? He loved a woman with too high of expectations and he dreamed impossible dreams that blew up in his face. I don’t think that’s something deserving of being shot over.

In a fair, eye-for-an-eye world, Wilson would have killed Tom. But no, Tom is the victim in all this – he’s the one in the most pain here, and it’s all everyone else’s fault.

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…”

And with that, I cap my pen.

~Hero

The Late Great Gatsby

Sorry. It’s Thursday. I know.

But Wednesdays have gotten really busy for me and I didn’t have time to post yesterday.

The Great Gatsby posts are going to continue, so bear with me. I’ll be done soon, promise.

Lastly, there are a few themes I’d like to explore: the distortion of the American dream, reliving the past, and escaping from the place you’re from.

I’ll start with a question. What is the American dream? Simply put, it’s no matter what your background is, you can make a better life for yourself. Wherever you came from, you can be successful. In the Great Gatsby that dream is distorted by the society they live in: the Jazz Age of New York. The dream was no longer to be successful despite your background, but to be fantastically rich and live a life of parties and debauchery. I feel like this distortion took the happiness out of the final result, which is something Fitzgerald showcases well in the novel. All these people are living the so-called ‘American dream’ and they are all screwed up and miserable. Nick’s haunting description of West Egg after he returns home strikes a chord in me.

“In the foreground four solemn men in dress suits are walking along the sidewalk with a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in a white evening dress. Her hand, which dangles over the side, sparkles cold with jewels. Gravely the men turn in at a house – the wrong house. But no one knows the woman’s name, and no one cares.”

This is the American dream? Shallow, uncaring wealth? I feel like this says something about society – even today, the things society tries to force down our throats won’t make us happy. Why is it that the people we most idolize (i.e. celebrities) are the most unhappy? I’ll let you answer that one.

I think Nick’s realization makes him chuck the American dream – or at least part of it – out the window. He talks about how he’d thought this was a story about the East, about New York and what happened there, but really it’s a story about the West. Gatsby, Nick, Daisy, Tom, Jordan – all of them were Westerners and “possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly inadaptable to Eastern life.”

Nick (and behind Nick, Fitzgerald) is trying to say that you can’t change where you come from. No mater how you chase that American dream, no matter what sort of different life you craft for yourself, you can’t erase that part of you. Your home shapes you, and no matter what sort of façade you craft, no matter how much you forget yourself – rather like Nick did – your past and your former life is always going to catch up to you and affect you in some way.

I have a feeling that Gatsby realized this, too – in the end. He was chasing this American dream, but not for the wealth or the success. Daisy was his American dream – he changed himself, made a new life, thought that she would complete the process – erase his past. This is what Nick saw that Gatsby didn’t.

Gatsby wanted Daisy to tell Tom she’d never loved him and essentially erase those three years with him. Nick remarks, “You can’t repeat the past,” to which Gatsby replies, “Why, of course you can!”

No, Gatsby – you can’t. That’s the whole point.

“I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,” Gatsby says. He tells Daisy, “Just tell him the truth – that you never loved him – and it’s all wiped out forever.”

Gatsby thinks he can just erase unsavory bits of life. He doesn’t just ant Daisy, he wants her as he almost had her originally. He wants to delete those years without her, those years she spent loving someone else. He doesn’t really realize that it doesn’t work like that – watching it dawn on him is almost painful. His green light slowly winks out of existence.

I’m tired and my fingers hurt from practicing my cello so much. I’m going to go watch Once Upon a Time and eat ice cream or whatever it is I do with my life.

~Hero

The Great Gatsby: Colors

Short post today. I spent the day at orchestra — I got moved up a level! So I’m in the higher level orchestra that I’d originally been aiming for! It’s awesome. 🙂 Of course, I had to cold read the Barber of Seville… Aghhh.

Anyway. I didn’t have a lot of time to type up my Gatsby notes, so I’ve only got a little for you. I’ll have the rest up before next week, hopefully done before next Sunday, but it might take Wednesday & Sunday.

I’d really like to talk about the metaphors hidden in the colors in the novel.

For example, Daisy always wears white because to Gatsby she represents a return to innocence and to purity. Yellow is used to represent golden things, happy things, things at their height. When Gatsby is at long last reunited with Daisy, everything is yellow. Gatsby’s tie, his car, the buttons on Daisy’s dress, even the scent of the flowers is described as “gold.”

One thing I noticed that was yellow that usually isn’t mentioned in analyses: maybe I’m misreading things, but Daisy’s daughter has yellow hair. Not described as blonde, but yellow. It makes me think that she’s one of Daisy’s happy things.

Lastly, green and the green light. At the beginning of the book, Gatsby stands in his yard and stares across the bay at the green light that the Buchanans have hanging at the end of their dock. The green light represents not only Daisy, but the out-of-reach hopes and dreams Gatsby has (and in extension, the dreams of man in general). It comes around again three times (that I’ve ascertained, anyway):

  1. When Daisy and Gatsby are reunited, he shows her about his house, and Nick remarks that Gatsby reevaluated the value of everything in his house by what she thought of it. They stand out and look at the light and the dock, and Nick says, “Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”
    It was at that point in the novel when I knew Gatsby was never going to get Daisy in the end. His number of precious things would keep ticking downward, and Daisy, his most precious thing would never replace them. He lost the green light, and then he lost the woman and the dream it stood for.
  2. When Myrtle is killed, one of the witnesses identifies the car that hit her as light green. I feel like this is significant for a couple of reasons:
  • The car isn’t a happy thing any more. It isn’t golden. It’s light green – or so it seemed to others.
  • Gatsby and Daisy had their quasi-falling out and Gatsby is losing her… She’s fading away. Hence ‘light green’ Daisy, as opposed to the vibrant, ‘green light’, dream Daisy.
  • The car hits Myrtle, the woman Tom is cheating on Daisy with. She is the lesser Daisy, a weaker version of the other woman in his life. Again, the light green vs. the bright green light.

At the very end of the book, after Gatsby’s death and right before Nick goes back west, he thinks about when the original settlers came upon West Egg, “a fresh, green breast of the new world… had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams.”

Nick sits on his lawn and looks out over the water and sees the Buchanan’s dock and drives home the metaphor.
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning –

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

G’night, y’all!

~Hero

The Great Gatsby: Characters

Hi everyone! I hope you read the Great Gatsby and are ready to get down to business. If you haven’t, you still have plenty of time – my analysis of the book ended up being much longer than I originally anticipated, so I’m going to break it up into parts. This post I’ll be discussing the characters of the novel. Sunday I’ll probably discuss the colors and maybe start discussing some of the themes of the novel, and then hopefully I’ll have wrapped up the whole analysis by next Wednesday.

What this basically means is GO BUY THE GREAT GATSBY AND GET TO WORK! You won’t regret it. If you’ve already read it, please, read on. My analysis is chock-full of spoilers, though, so unless you enjoy having the entire book ruined for you, I recommend you click away now.

Without further ado, here is the beginning of my very long train of thought. 😉

As I write this I am drinking coffee and trying to function off of six hours of sleep. I stayed up past midnight listening to the Great Gatsby, and I woke up early to finish it.

First of all, it’s amazing. It’s probably my new favorite book. I love how you close it dissatisfied – not because your life seems deficient, but because their lives were. Humanity, society, “the foul dust that floats in the wake of dreams,” (to quote the novel), seems flawed. And it is, of course, but especially so in the novel.

It’s a tragedy. It’s a beautiful, pathetic, thought-provoking tragedy. And it’s incredible. I want to break down my thoughts on the novel into manageable chunks, so I’ll start with the characters.

Nick Carraway: I like Nick. He’s the lens through which we see this would, so it’s helpful that he’s the only one in the novel who’s removed enough to recognize the absurdity of it all. Amid the luxury and the debauchery, he’s the sane, poor one. He’s not happy – no one in the novel is, really – but he isn’t miserable. He sees the humanity through the façade – and that’s important. Also, he’s Gatsby’s only friend in the end. He’s the only one who’s really ever there for Gatsby throughout the entire novel. All these people come to his house and attend his parties and drink his champagne, but nobody cares about Gatsby – nobody really knows who he is: literally.

Gatsby: I say that only Nick knew Gatsby because even though Daisy and Tom and Jordan knew him, they only knew his façade. The only one who Gatsby ever tells about his past and his old self is Nick. In the movie trailer for the new Gatsby movie (which honestly looks really bad: it makes the whole story seem very shallow) Owl Eyes says something to the extent of “Mr. Gatsby doesn’t exist.” To my knowledge, that’s never said in the book, but there is a ring of truth to it. Mr. Gatsby, as he is perceived, is not real. He isn’t legitimate. His money is illegitimate, he has no connections – he is “Mr. Nobody from Nowhere.” I love Gatsby, but I pity him. I pity him because the real Gatsby, the Gatsby we catch glimpses of through Nick’s eyes, is tragic. He is a man who is desperately in love with a woman – maybe not even in love with her… It could be her money, or her social standing, or (and this is what I think) what she represents and symbolizes in his mind. Regardless, he’s in love with some aspect of her, and he has to know it’s futile. He just has to. Daisy isn’t just a woman to him, she’s a time machine. There’s a passage where he talks about when he and Daisy first fell in love, and it shows you that…

“Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalk really formed a ladder that mounted to a secret place above the trees – he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder.”

The quote goes on and talks about Daisy, and how he tied that vision of fulfillment and ultimate purpose in life to her.

Nick remarks, “I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was.”

That is what I think Gatsby sees in Daisy. That’s why he needs her to not only love him, but also to have never loved her husband, Tom. He doesn’t just want Daisy, he wants the idea of her – to be transported back to when life was pure. Before he put on his façade and became this whole different person – back to when he tied his ultimate fulfillment to her. He associates her with that dream, with the meaning of life – beyond the fragility and the insincerity that this world he’s entered into is made of. He thinks that with her he can start over – return to purity and innocence. (Which is what Daisy represents, by the way: which is why so much of what she wears and owns is white.)

Daisy Buchanan: I’ve already talked about what Daisy is in relation to Gatsby, but I think Daisy is interesting in and of herself. At the beginning of the novel, Nick goes to the Buchanans for the worst dinner of all time – during which Tom Buchanan’s mistress calls and Daisy is just plunged into despair and in the midst of trying to make pleasant conversation, she tells Nick about what she said when her daughter was born. “I’m glad she’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

Daisy’s life sucks. Her husband – who’s a total jerkface, really – is having an affair and not even trying to be discreet about it; the man she used to love (and does again) and her husband are pressuring her in opposite directions; she’s unhappy (that’s another theme of the book, about the distortion and subsequent failure of the American dream through the lens of that society… but more on that later). I think this is one of the saddest things in the book – Daisy’s got the life that every girl longs for, and here she is telling Nick that the only way to get through it is to become so stupid and bling that you can muddle along under the pretense of happiness. Another sad thing is Daisy’s almost nonexistent relationship with her daughter and realizing that the little Buchanan girl is never going to be happy either, both because of the culture she’s growing up in and because of her parents’ awful marriage and crap-ton of terrible decisions.

Tom Buchanan: Tom is hard for me to decipher. I mean, he doesn’t just exist to be a jerk.

Well.

Actually, he does. But it’s deeper than surface level jerkism. As far as I can pick out, Tom displays the absurd ignorance of the upper class… He constantly makes bigheaded speeches about white people being the superior race; he thinks he can have whatever he wants with no consequences. I think this sort of blows up in his face when Myrtle is killed, but not completely – I’ll elaborate on this later. Tom, to me, represents entitlement. I mean, the first time he’s mentioned in the book, Fitzgerald writes:

‘There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked… “Now don’t think my opinion on these matters is final,” he seemed to say, “just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are.” ’

He’s arrogant and foolish and mean, but nobody calls him out on it because he’s rich. Unfair? Heck yeah.

Jordan Baker: Jordan is the last character I’m going to profile. I actually liked Jordan, against my better judgment. (She’s kind of a plot device. But I like her anyway.) I got the feeling that she, like Nick, sort of saw the flaws in things and kept herself impassive and emotionally withdrawn. At the same time, she is very much involved in their lives. What I found the most interesting about Jordan was her façade – she was almost entirely fake, in a way, hiding her real self (her dishonest self, as Nick points out) under layers of put-upon airs and mannerisms. Jordan also seems to be the only one who escapes the whole fiasco unscathed – except maybe some well-hidden heartbreak when Nick breaks off their relationship. It’s like, she’s a part of what happens, but sometimes you almost feel like she isn’t there at all, and is just watching herself from the outside. She’s involved without being invested. There’s a certain coldness to her.

She makes me think of Daisy’s line about being a beautiful little fool. Jordan sees through things but pretends not to. She goes along with things, not in an exactly foolish or blind way, but she doesn’t care. She’s indifferent – or at least she appears to be. She is, as the Jazz Age would describe her, cool.

Apathy seems to be a theme in this novel, as I’ll get into later. As for now, have a great evening, and I’ll see you on Sunday.

~Hero

Bonus Post: Homework

I just finished the Great Gatsby and want to do a post on it as soon as I’ve formulated my thoughts into coherent sentences and not just fangirlish fragments…

Exhibit a: last night’s Skype logs.

Me: NO NO GATSBY IT ISN’T!!!! *muffles herself*

Josie: XD You are nothing compared to Megan in fangirling.

Me: Sorry, give me two seconds to focus intently and explode and cry everywhere and throw up.
And I’ll come back in a minute.

Josie: ok. Make sure to not die.

Me: OH GOSH NO

Josie: XD

Me: THE PRECIOUS THINGS
I KNEW IT
AGH

Josie: lol

Me: WHAT KIND OF LINE IS THIS {insert spoilerific line here}
WHAT THE

Josie: you’re kinda

Me: AHIJSAGSJHOAGSHJADGSJHKLAGSDHJKL

Josie: exploding there

…and so on. But I’m slowly gathering myself.

However, it’s completely uninteresting to listen to someone else talk about a book you’ve never read, and my analysis is going to be chock full of spoilers, so my assignment for you is to go read The Great Gatsby. It’s available online but I’m not going to link you because I don’t advocate piracy — go get it from the library or better yet BUY IT because it’s one of those books you’ll want to own, if you don’t already. While you read, pay attention to the COLORS. They’re all important. The green, the yellow, the white… Just pay attention. Then meet me back here on Wednesday and we’ll talk about it. Sound good? 🙂

x
Hero