Fitzgerald’s term for the story dynamic he wrote about in The Great Gatsby was, “the dying fall.” * Since this book was written from a similar life that Fitzgerald lived, we can basically talk about the book and the author in one breath, especially when referring to its bigger picture. Therefore, we can look for instances of Gatsby and Daisy’s dying fall and see something very similar in Fitzgerald and Zelda’s life.
For example, Zelda spent the last 16 years of her life in mental institutions while Scott lived in Hollywood with his lover. Scott wrote, in a letter to her:
But Zelda, what wouldn’t you give to go back to the beginning, to be those people again, the future so fresh and promising that it seems impossible not to get it right? **
Like Scott, Jay Gatsby exclaims, “Can’t repeat the past? … Why of course you can!”
It has been a while since I read the book or saw a film version, so I am going to see the new film that is out, directed by Baz Luhrmann, tonight. Even though I know it has a sad, sad ending, I am looking forward to seeing it. There is something about the excess, the Twenties celebration of life and the love of a strong man for a weak woman that draws me. Will I still root for them to make it? Or, will I watch from an observer’s seat and judge their actions? That might depend on this director’s interpretation and enaction of the story, or it might depend on what is happening in my own life right now.
I am in the middle of a transition myself, taking on two new jobs and becoming more public about my life and struggles through this blog. Is my story one of a dying fall? I hope not! But maybe there is something to learn from Gatsby and Daisy?
Why do we get sucked into these oh so negative stories? Do we see ourselves in it? Are we infatuated with the forbidden? Is watching them drive too far too fast so thrilling? ***
I will write about my experience after the movie!
Have you read The Great Gatsby recently or seen this 2013 movie? What do you think?
*F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Perspectives, by Jackson R. Bryer et al
**Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald,
***Glamour and Downfall in ‘The Great Gatsby’, by Stephanie S. Smith for Relevant Magazine