The Great Gatsby: A Classic I Read in School and Ended Up Loving (Classic Remarks)

Classic Remarks is a meme hosted at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.  Pages Unbound, founded and run by Briana and Krysta, is one of my absolute favorite sites.  In addition to adoring their content, I love the sense of community they’ve built there.  So I was SUPER EXCITED when I saw this week’s prompt because I knew I had something to contribute!  Without further ado, who’s ready to chat about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby?

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Photo Credit – Pages Unbound

THIS WEEK’S PROMPT:

WHAT CLASSIC DID YOU READ IN SCHOOL AND END UP LOVING?

When I think of the classics I read in school, the ones that come most readily to mind (in the rough chronological order I remember reading them) are Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Charles Dickins’ A Tale Of Two Cities, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Death of a Salesman, and a bit o’ Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and…uh, I’m sure there were more.  Listen, this isn’t a COMPLETE LIST okay?  It’s just what comes to mind when I think of my high school reading list.  However, when I saw the prompt for this week’s Classic Remarks I immediately knew I’d be writing about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

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Okay so this isn’t EXACTLY what my version looks like, but it’s close. / Photo Credit – Scribner

When I read it in high school I really liked it, admittedly probably for the wrong reasons.  I remember liking it because, in comparison to all the other books we read in English class, it a) felt so much shorter and b) the language felt so much more accessible than some of the other texts.  Oh!  Homer’s The Odyssey!  That was another one!  But I digress.  To be clear, I always loved English class and I’ve always loved to read.  But when you’re reading as one part of your course load, sometimes it can still feel like a chore.  So Fitzgerald was a breath of fresh air.  PLUS we got to watch Jack Clayton’s 1974 film with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow (far superior to Baz Lurhmann’s 2013 version with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan if you ask me) in class, too.  And ANYTIME you get to watch an entire movie in class, you’re living the dream.

So I appreciated it in high school but I came to love The Great Gatsby later.  While I was doing my undergrad work, my friend Lauren and I had several classes with an English professor we both enjoyed and respected.  In a casual conversation about classic literature he once told Lauren she reminded him of Jordan Baker.  Lauren, who loves The Great Gatsby and has read it every summer since high school, was unsure if that was a compliment of an insult.  She asked for my opinion and, to take her query seriously, I reread the novel.  It was then, as a senior in college, I first began to fully experience The Great Gatsby.  And while I don’t read the novel as often as Lauren does, I’ve read it at least half a dozen times since then (most recently just before writing this post).

Each time I read it, I find more.  I connect with more.  I understand more.  I feel more…which shouldn’t be a surprise.  I mean, how much emotional understanding, complicated romantic experience, and diverse self-knowledge can you have at sixteen or seventeen?  So yeah, in high school the book was fun because it was a light read and I enjoyed spending a bunch of time in class talking about what the haunting eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg could mean (it’s God…it’s God looking out over the desolation of poverty and showing God is affected by it all).  But the more of life I’ve lived, the more I’ve loved, the more I’ve come to learn about myself and relationships and the world, the more I’ve found in this novel.  And what I’ve found over the years is why I love The Great Gatsby.

Um, this should probably be clear but there’s going to be spoilers, okay?  Moving on…

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I just don’t even see how it’s a contest!  But that’s the story for another post.  Hmmm…maybe that should be another post!  We’ll see. / Photo Credit – The Great Gatsby (1974 & 2013)

What strikes me most about this novel is how sad it is.  When I read it in high school, it was kinda sad because poor ol’ Jay Gatsby ended up shot in the pool for a crime he didn’t commit and, pouring a little bit of salt in the wound, it was the very first time he even used the pool all season.  But now if I was to list my “Top Ten Saddest Moments in Gatsby!” I don’t know if it would make the list.  If it did, it would be near the bottom.  Because so much of this novel is so achingly sad.  There is so much sadness in this novel and what I love about it (insofar as you can love such a sad story) is how universal the pain Fitzgerald explores is.

Daisy Buchanan lacks the courage to leave a marriage she’s no longer happy in.

Tom Buchanan can only see Daisy and Myrtle as possessions and doesn’t know how to articulate his grief over losing Myrtle.

Myrtle Wilson is in love with Tom who will never leave Daisy nor give Myrtle the life he’s promised her.

George Wilson didn’t even know his wife was unhappy and he learns of her affair and loses her in a few days’ time.

Jordan Baker loses her relationship with Nick as neither know how to process the trauma they’ve shared.

Nick Carraway comes to care for Gatsby yet watches, powerless to change anything as the tragedy unfolds.

And poor Pammy Buchanan, the daughter who’s only in one part of one scene – always absent from her parents’ lives so she doesn’t interfere with their drinking, partying, and lazing about.

Who can’t connect with something here?  Even if we’ve never lived in a big mansion out on West Egg where we threw parties in an attempt to woo a former lover, we can all find something – or many things – to relate with.

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Nick and Gatsby – hmmm, I wonder if I can get away with calling people “Old Sport” all the time?  Probably not :/. / Photo Credit – The Great Gatsby (1974)

Of course, there’s Gatsby himself.  James Gatz was unhappy with who he was so he created a persona for himself – he became Jay Gatsby.  For all of us, our lives are spent navigating between who we are and who we want to be.  We often yearn to be “more,” to be “better.”  But that journey is a difficult one to walk and it can very quickly and very easily take us down dangerously unhealthy roads.  If we can’t balance mindful contentment in the moment with challenging ourselves to grow and change when appropriate, our lives either stagnate or we spend them chasing something unattainable.  This is exactly what happens to Gatsby.

He builds his ENTIRE LIFE for Daisy.  Everything was designed to impress her, to be good enough for her, to win her…but he never really loved her.  Rather, he loved an ideal he created around her.  This too, is all too common.  Anytime anyone’s broken up with someone only to hear their friends and family say, “See??  We tried to tell you!  This is what we’ve been saying!” has had to navigate the tension between their collapsing image of a person and the intrusion of reality.  But we can also be victim of inflating this ideal, as Gatsby has, as well.

As I wrote about once before (in regard to Spider-Man (and is this the first time The Amazing Spider-Man and The Great Gatsby have shown up in the same essay together?? (I hope!))), I think the “What If…? Person” is universal.  We all have someone(s) from our past who we look back on and wonder how things would’ve been different if it worked out between us.  And I think the “What If…? Person” can often be idealized in our minds and – more dangerously – in our hearts.  This breeds a whole mess of pain, as we compare other relationships and experiences to something we never even had with an image of a person that’s not real.

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What if…? / Photo Credit – The Great Gatsby (1974)

With The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald takes this universal longing and extends it to its most tragic extent.  Gatsby’s whole life is built chasing something he can’t ever have.  And he never even really loved Daisy!  He was in love with the life she lived.  He was in love with what she represented to him.  When the reader begins to learn of their brief courtship together we see Gatsby’s vision of “who” he was falling in love with:

He knew that Daisy was extraordinary, but he didn’t realize just how extraordinary a ‘nice’ girl could be.  She vanished into her rich house, into her rich, full life leaving Gatsby – nothing.  He felt married to her, that was all….She had caught a cold and it made her voice huskier and more charming than ever, and Gatsby was overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes, and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor.[1]

This – this beautiful escape into the world of the wealthy – is how he sees her.  And that’s what he loves!  Gatsby loves her money and her life and he cannot let go of the flirtation they shared that he saw as his entry into a life of comfort with a beautiful woman by his side.  When it all comes to a head between Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom – with Nick and Jordan watching on – Gatsby insists again and again that Daisy never loved Tom, that she was only with Tom because she couldn’t be with him.

“Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby.  “I love you now – isn’t that enough?  I can’t help what’s past.”  She began to sob helplessly.  “I did love him once – but I loved you too.”

Gatsby’s eyes opened and closed.

“You loved me too?” he repeated.[2]

Gatsby couldn’t understand or accept how Daisy could love him too.  This, I believe, is where it all comes undone for Gatsby.  If he could’ve understood this, accepted this, maybe he could’ve been with her.  Maybe they really could’ve had a relationship (the tragedies awaiting both Myrtle and Gatsby notwithstanding).  But in his mind it always had to be the two of them.  It could only be the two of them.  Yet we are complex creatures and nothing is more complex, more mystical, more untamable than love.  We will love many people in our lives in many different ways.  Human existence is a journey of love and growth!  That’s literally what we were made for!  Tragically, Gatsby couldn’t accept that and in being unable to accept that, he proved he couldn’t accept, couldn’t even know, Daisy.  Gatsby couldn’t even understand how Daisy could have a daughter until he saw Pammy with his own eyes.[3]

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Daisy and her daughter, Pammy. / Photo Credit – The Great Gatsby (1974)

Gatsby’s idealized vision of Daisy robbed her of her personhood and made her an object – another possession he could have.  This leaves Daisy, struggling in a marriage where her needs are not being met and she’s not being heard, wondering how can she trust – let alone love – someone who can’t understand there is more to her than a few weeks of flirting when she was a teenager.

For me, this is all perhaps best highlighted in a conversation Nick and Gatsby have about Daisy.  This is one of the saddest passages I’ve ever read in any book ever.

“I wouldn’t ask too much of her,” I ventured.  “You can’t repeat the past.”

“Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously.  “Why of course you can!”

He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand. 

“I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,” he said, nodding determinedly.  “She’ll see.”

He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy.  His life has 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[4]

Oh Jay…that breaks my heart.  He doesn’t really love Daisy.  He doesn’t understand himself.  His whole life has been a manic quest to regain something that never really existed anywhere other than in his head.  In no situation could this ever work.  There was no “happily ever after” here, even if Myrtle was never killed and George never sought his revenge on the wrong person.  Every time I read that passage, every single time, it breaks my heart.

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There was just SO MUCH you didn’t understand Jay, just so much… / Photo Credit – The Great Gatsby (1974)

It’s weird, I grant, to talk about how much I love this novel and then go on for three pages about how terribly sad it is.  But all of this is why I’ve come to love it!  There’s the universality of it all, yes.  One of the most important things art can do is reflect our own lives – our hope, joy, pain, and love – back to us across time and space.  But I also love it because, in seeing all this inside The Great Gatsby years after first reading it, it shows how great literature is something that lends itself to being continually rediscovered.  In many ways, The Great Gatsby was the first novel to really drive this lesson home for me.  So yes, it’s very human and it’s very sad…and I saw none of that (or perhaps it’s better to say I felt or understood none of that) when I first read it.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a beautifully tragic tale that taught me about all literature may still hold unseen to me, even after I’ve read the book once. And for that, I will always love it.

Now you should go over to Pages Unbound and read Krysta’s answer to this question!  She picked…hahaha, ahhhh c’mon!  I’m not spoiling anything!  You should read it for yourself.  If you’d like to participate in a Classic Remarks yourself sometime, here’s a handy link to all the topics clear through the end of the year (something I could never plan out that far in advance myself but something I love that they’ve done and am so impressed by 🙂 ).

 

 

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[1] F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. (New York: Scribner, 2004), 149-50.

[2] Ibid., 132.

[3] Ibid., 117.

[4] Ibid., 110.

34 thoughts on “The Great Gatsby: A Classic I Read in School and Ended Up Loving (Classic Remarks)

  1. I read this in high school and didn’t like it much then. I don’t really remember *why* I didn’t like it, though now I’m wondering if I wrote a review of it somewhere I could eventually did out (I wasn’t blogging then, but did keep notes on books!). I always think I’d like to reread it sometime because I know a lot of people like it, but I never seem to get around to it. I think I would definitely see more of the sadness now and not just think it’s a bunch of annoying rich people or whatever I thought in high school.

    Still waiting on my order of The Alchemist to arrive, though, since I need to read that too!

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    1. The whole “annoying rich people” is one of the reasons I’ve always liked the 1974 film more than the 2013 one. I think a big part of Fitzgerald’s commentary was in how hollow and meaningless wealth can be. The parties always seemed to me (at least after I read it) as these empty set pieces. The real point of the book was the quiet and/or awkward and/or impassioned dialogue between the characters. But Lurhmann’s party scenes were so over the top, I think they became too large a part of what people remember about his film and that did the story a disservice.

      What if you did find your old notes on books?? I think that would make for such a fun series! You could reread certain books and write pieces where you compared Past Briana’s point of view with Present Briana’s thoughts on the same text.

      Also, yes, I totally think you should read ‘The Alchemist’ before you even think of rereading ‘Gatsby.’ I mean, ‘Gatsby’ is good but there are priorities!!! And nothing beats ‘The Alchemist’ as far as I’m concerned :).

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      1. That makes a lot of sense! I haven’t seen the new film, but the advertising did seem to focus on the glamour of it all, and I do think a lot of people have this idea that The Great Gatsby=lavish parties=fun, without necessarily a lot of thought about how the parties in the book are really just empty.

        I did one post in 2014 with reviews I wrote before the blog! (So ignore the post formatting…) The Great Gatsby isn’t on it, though.

        https://pagesunbound.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/before-the-blog-reviews-from-the-past/

        I think I may need to check the B&N account to see if my copy of The Alchemist is actually going to ship soon. :p

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      2. This is exciting! Thanks for sharing it! I’m going to check it out now. And what the heck Barnes and Noble?!? People want to read their Paulo Coelho! You’ve gotta hook them up!

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      3. I go back and forth A LOT with Daisy. Sometimes I read the novel and I see her (as I express in this post) as a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who doesn’t have the strength to leave and/or doesn’t see a path out of it. And I feel for her. Other times I read it and I think she’s meant to be this embodiment of the shallow, vapid, emptiness of wealth – all glitter yet no worthwhile substance. And she frustrates me. I never really know what to make of her character and my view on her changes each time I read it – probably based in part on my own mood/what I’m thinking about at the time of reading.

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      4. I definitely think I was going with the shallow interpretation the first time I read the book, but I would like to see if I have a bit more sympathy for her if I reread it! Which I am seriously considering doing now since I have received and finished reading The Alchemist. (Which I am still thinking about a bit before I write a review! Major props for the ending, though, which I did not predict. I think it would have been great ending there without the epilogue, too.)

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      5. Aaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!! There is SO MUCH for me to be excited about here. I have a million things I want to talk to you about but I’ll wait until I read your piece on it and then we can go from there :).

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      6. I finished rereading The Great Gatsby, and I actually did like it more this time! Still not my favorite book or anything, but I think the two stars I’d giving it on Goodreads previously was a little unfair.

        And I think I see Daisy as a bit of both–shallow but also sympathetic for being stuck in a marriage with a guy who clearly doesn’t respect her. I think what most struck me when I first read the book is how she says slightly inane things and then REPEATS them, but now I wonder if she’s really that vapid or if some of it is affectation because she knows her husband is cheating on her and that people don’t really respect her, that she’s just supposed to be pretty and charming and nothing else. Even Nick kind of mocks her at times, which I don’t think I noticed originally either. (He’s definitely not as nice as I remembered.) My real question might be how much Daisy’s marriage has changed her, but we don’t really know anything about her past besides that she was popular and maybe a bit of a flirt–which doesn’t necessarily imply she was always that shallow or flighty. (Also the thing I really judge her for now is ignoring Gatsby’s death. Yeah, she was having an affair with him and there’s something to be said for breaking that off, but she also did say she was in love with him and knows he was obsessed with her. I’m with Nick in thinking she could have sent a flower.)

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      7. I found myself contemplating Daisy’s past the other night, too. Because Nick is the narrator of the text and, to the best of my knowledge (or at least how I remember it), what he learns of Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship/flirtationship comes from Gatsby himself. So was that how Daisy really acted? Or was Gatsby already creating a quasi-fictional past, too?

        I think, in some ways, Daisy may be the most interesting character in the novel simply because there are all these shifting pieces around her. It is very hard, if not impossible, to get a sense of who she truly is – at least from what Fitzgerald gives us in the story. There is just so much that can be said about her and, as you outline above, so many little things can shift in little ways and it completely changes my read on her.

        I’m completely with you, though, on Nick being a bigger jerk than I thought he was when I first read it. And I absolutely agree with judging Daisy for ignoring Gatsby’s funeral! I think, while everything else about my take on her is open to shifting each time I read it, I am always upset with her for that. Yes, moving on and seeing if she could rebuild her marriage is admirable but how could she not even send flowers? Blah.

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      8. Yes, we basically get Nick recounting Jordan’s memories of Daisy (she admired her because she was a pretty, popular older girl) and Gatsby’s memories (she was the first “nice” girl he’d really met). That doesn’t tell me much of anything! I can probably read something into it that people seem to think her MOST memorable qualities are that she’s pretty and kind of charming, and no one ever said she was bright, but I would still love to know if she really was different before marriage and being constantly cheated on and kind of ignored. (And I guess I got that maybe Gatsby didn’t know much about her after all, since he seems to be mostly comparing her to some “disreputable” women he interacted with before meeting the “nice,” respectable Daisy).

        I do give her a little credit for being the only one who cares even marginally about her kid! Everyone else just…ignores her existence?

        Yes! She told the guy she loved him and led him to believe she would run away with him. and then he dies and she acts like she doesn’t even know him! AND he died because he was willing to say he was the one driving the car when Myrtle was killed! (I don’t know how much she knows about the situation, but I’d guess enough that she should realize she owes him big time for being willing to say he was the driver.)

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      9. Every time I read this I feel worse for little Pamela. She’s hardly mentioned! At all!
        That poor girl. If I was to let my imagination create the epilogue or sequel to ‘The Great Gatsby’ I wish would happen, it would see Daisy leave Tom a year or so later and take Pammy with her. Then, as she grew up, Daisy could show Pammy who she really is, all the while teaching her about fighting for your needs and being heard in relationships.

        Also, there could be a few chapters where she works through her guilt over the whole skipping-Gatsby’s-funeral thing. Because you’re right! There is no way, even if she tried to ignore the news, that she wouldn’t’ve known Gatsby took the blame for her when she literally killed someone. She is directly responsible for Myrtle’s death and also has a degree of culpability in Gatsby’s. Maybe this imaginary sequel could see the chapters alternate between her and Pammy’s life and Daisy trying to come to terms with what happened to Gatsby. Then, the final chapter could be a conversation between Daisy and Pammy where she tells her all about what happened and how it’s shaped her life.

        Should we just take it on ourselves to write a follow-up to ‘The Great Gatsby’? Because it feels like we are striking gold here.

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      10. This sounds amazing! I would read it! You should write it!

        (As I was going through your ideas here, I was thinking it was a little odd someone hasn’t written a book about Daisy already until I realized…the copyright on The Great Gatsby expires the end of this year! You can start writing and have your sequel ready to go in 2021!)

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      11. Thank you for the vote of confidence in my idea! However, I’ve never been much good at writing fiction. I can riff some dialogue and sketch out a plot. But I just can’t write a scene where anything comes alive.

        I mean, your research into the copyright kind of makes me want to try though…

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      12. Really?? I bet that’d be interesting! I wonder how they’d go about the party issue. Are they big, central splash pages like we often get in the movies? Or are the parties the background pieces to the more intimate scenes the novel tends to create? Thank you for the head’s up! I’ll have to look into this!

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      13. I see the “literature” graphic novels on the shelf at Barnes and Noble all the time but they aren’t stocked as regularly at my local comic shop (which is odd because they have A TON of non-comic things and all the literature sections a “normal” book store would have). So either I’m looking in the wrong places in Books Galore or it says something (at least in a vague way) about clientele at each shop.

        Either way, good luck! I hope you find your way to it sooner rather than later. And if it makes you feel any better about the limits of your library during COVID life, my local libraries aren’t even open for curbside pickup or anything yet.

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      1. Hopefully you enjoy it! I’ll feel bad if I’ve inadvertently misled you and you find the reread lacking. However, if I have, feel free to come back and yell at me in the comment thread here sometime XD.

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  2. I’ve read this book three times- each in a different decade of my life and seen a different perspective each time. When young I thought Gatsby’s love for Daisy so very romantic, but in later readings, it proved to be toxic. Everyone (besides Nick) was unlikable and foolish with a strict class divide that only led to unhealthy dynamics between friends and family. The ending was obviously a tragedy with biting social commentary.

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    1. I had an earlier draft of this piece where I went into the social commentary! It is such a scathing indictment of wealth as empty (at best) and destructive (at worst). But I just couldn’t find a way to make the final piece flow how I wanted it to with that in there. Ah well, I guess it’s just another reason to write about ‘The Great Gatsby’ another time.

      When I was younger I thought Gatsby living his whole life for Daisy was romantic, too. Then I realized he wasn’t living for her so much as this vision he created and all that toxicity began to reveal itself. Seeing the truth of the relationship was a jarring realization.

      And that would have to be such a fascinating experience, reading the novel once a decade like that! I’m sure it would prove an emotionally evocative journey.

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      1. It has made me revisit other books- such as Fahrenheit 457. I found it dated when I tried reading it in my early 20s but when I revisited it a few years ago, I really loved it. Because I am now a librarian, I saw the censorship in such a different way, as now I see the Gatsby relationships in a new light.

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      2. That’s so cool. This conversation is making me want to try rereading other books – like ‘The Bridge of San Luis Rey’ – which I hated in school to see if I like it now.

        I’ve actually never read ‘Fahrenheit 457.’ I don’t know how I got through high school and college with it never being assigned. I keep thinking I should check it out sometime…but then for whatever reason I pick something else.

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      3. Whoops, I meant 451! But anyway, I listened to it on audio and it had commentary by Ray Bradbury at the end and he offered insight as to why he wrote it. He was an amazing author and thinker.

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      4. Well, your typo completely underscores my lack of familiarity with the book and even with the temperature at which paper burns XD. Hahaha, yep, I didn’t even blink at that. Also, whenever I talk with you (or read your posts) I think I need to explore audio books more seriously. It’s a whole dimension to reading I just don’t participate in and I have a few other friends who rave about them, too. It’s not that I don’t like them or anything. It’s just not my habit. I tend to associate driving with music (even on long car trips it’s music with stand-up comedy breaks) and sitting at home on the couch with reading. But then these conversations remind me I’m kind of limiting myself.

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  3. I love that you chose The Great Gatsby! It’s my anecdotal experience that a lot of students really tend to enjoy this one (I did, too!). As you point out, maybe part of that is because the text is on the shorter side. But, there is something to be said for managing to write such a powerful story in such a concise way! And for managing to win over students–who, as you also point out, tend to dislike anything just because it’s been assigned as work.

    I love, too, that you ended up revisiting The Great Gatsby and finding new things to appreciate about it. For me, that’s what makes a text really special–you can keep going back to it and seeing something new. Sometimes life experiences help us focus on a specific aspect of a text we overlooked before or just weren’t interested in. Or maybe we didn’t understand it before, but new experiences help us see what the author was saying.

    Finally, I think this post is really impactful just because it reminds us that teachers can make a difference. I imagine teaching the same text every year over and over again can make a teacher wonder sometimes how many people really care and if they are really making a difference. But your experience shows that, sometimes, we do go back to something we were taught and we actually start to understand it! I know there are books I was first taught in school that I return to almost every year. My teachers will never know it, but they gave me a gift that will continue to be with me for life– a gift that, in some cases, was truly transformative.

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    1. I may just be in an extra emotional place as we did our graduation yesterday (it was a seven hour, drive-thru affair – so the kids could come with their family, walk across a little stage we built in front of the school, and have their moment all while social distancing – and it was the first time I saw my kids in 80 days) but what you’ve said about students continuing to explore what they learned and coming to a more full understanding on their own later in life is making me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy :). And you’re right. The teacher who first introduced me to Gatsby, Daisy, Nick, Jordan, and the rest has long since retired. She will never know how much I’ve come to adore this text and how much it’s taught me, long after we finished talking about it in her class.

      And I am totally with you on the power of brevity! You’ve read enough of my posts to know that’s not a strength of mine XD. It takes me two-to-three pages just to say I’d rather fly the TARDIS than the Millennium Falcon! So I am always impressed and envious (in a good way! not an angry, jealous way) of writers who can convey so much in a concise manner. It is definitely a gift. In some cases, I bet it also more easily invites readers back to the text. ‘Gatsby’ is just under 200 pages. I can read it on a quiet afternoon/evening if I have the time. So that makes me more inclined to pick it up. Other, longer works give me a bit more of a pause before I reread them. I still do, but I contemplate the choice more than I would with something like this.

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      1. It’s so wonderful your students still got to have a graduation! I know it’s a big day for the kids and their families, so I’m glad they got a celebration, even if it looked different from past years! And you got to see them, too! It is weird to think that everything close and there are some people we just aren’t going to see again.

        Yes, that’s a great point! There are books I long to reread, but some of them are quite the commitment! Sometimes I just pull a shorter book from the shelf I like the sense of accomplishment from finishing.

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      2. I get that weirdness. When it became clear we weren’t going back to school, the majority of my seniors got to a place where they were able to accept that – whatever acceptance meant to each of them – on their own terms. But the thing I heard again and again which was hardest to deal with was how they had their “last” everything – last day of school, last time opening their locker, last time being in class with their friends, last lunch in the cafeteria, last time listening to morning announcements – without even knowing it. AND, since we’re still in quarantine locally (only Yellow Phase, we’ve not yet moved on to Green Phase), there aren’t graduation parties or summer hanging out like they usually have, Naturally, transitions are a part of our life. But it’s hard to transition with no satisfying sense of closure. I know our graduation approach helped me immensely – to see and talk with all my kids one more time. But I do hope they are finding their own version of that someway, too.

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      3. Yes, that’s a really good point. Initially, people seemed to think we’d be back to normal within a matter of two weeks or so, so I don’t think anyone was mentally prepared for everything to close indefinitely. I do think students have had some of the hardest adjustments to make since they often are looking forward to events that only happen once. Even if’s just sophomore year–you don’t get that back again.

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