The Great Gatsby Blog 3

I am not going to provide a plot summary for the novel partly because I think everyone should read this book without knowing the end. (Mainly because I forget most of it already). Instead, I am going to analyze what I believe to be two great quotes from the novel.

“No-Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed 
on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams
that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows
and short-winded elations of men."

Did Gatsby turn out all right at the end? That is for you to find out. I am going to write about the two antagonists of the novel. Tom and Daisy. The final showdown between Tom and Gatsby near the end of the novel represented the clash between the New Money and the Old Money. Gatsby lost the fight. Tom’s iron fist forged by the pride of the long-lasting upper American society crashed Gatsby’s soul and his American dream. It was so close, Gatsby could almost touch it. Sadly, sometimes almost means never. The lesson for me is to never become too obsessed with the wrong person or object. Gatsby’s downfall is mostly due to his fascination with Daisy. He became fascinated and obsessed with her. But like Nick said: “They’re [Tom and Daisy are] a rotten crowd”. Gatsby’s failure to realize the fact that Daisy was the wrong person to peruse led to his downfall, but perhaps the reason why we love Gatsby so much is that he is so stubborn. His stubbornness led to the wake of his dream, and his shattered dream led to Nick losing his faith in all men.

"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 then one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back
ceaselessly into the past.

Another reason why we love Gatsby is due to the idea that all of us see part of ourselves in Gatsby. It is a fair statement to say that all of us had an untouchable dream at one point of our life. I wanted to become a writer in my younger years, now I am in a business school. We sympathize with Gatsby not because he failed, but because he was so close. Gatsby represents something beautiful in human nature, Daisy and Tom represent the opposite. Only a handful will be intimated by Gatsby’s failure. The rest, as Fitzgerald said, will ” beat on, run faster, stretch out our arms farther”. The dash in this excerpt for me means that the story continues, and the end has not yet be determined.

The Emperor of Ice-Cream Blog 2

The poem “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” screams the word contrast to the audience. The uplifting atmosphere against the silent body; the wenches dawdle while the deceased is “cold and dumb”; the concupiscent curds versus the dresser that is missing three glass knobs. The use of contrast and the imagery really pulls the reader into Stevens’s world.

In terms of the meaning of the poem, there are also two common interpretations. On one hand, some believe that Stevens is criticizing the people who are attending the funeral. They believe Stevens uses the contrast between the dancing crowd and the dead body to indicate how senseless people can be, and cold-hearted. On the other hand, there are also people who believe Stevens is saying that celebrating is the best way to say goodbye to the loved ones. They use the lines “Let be be finale of seem” and “Let the lamp affix its beam” to argue that Stevens’s message is that we should face death directly. Instead of drowning in the world of sorrow, we should focus on what is pleasant, hence the most important person during the funeral, is the “Emperor of Ice-Cream” because he provides happiness to the living.
The Emperor of Ice-Cream
By Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream. 

The Second Coming Blog 1

The Second Coming 
By William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

For me, the meaning of the poem is somewhat ambiguous. I believe the poem contains a religious message. The message is that some kind of revelation is going to happen after a period of chaos. The interesting thing about the poem for me is that two authors decided to name their work after the poem. Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem and Things Fall Apart written by Chinua Achebe. The former being a narrative piece which documents the counterculture movement happening in the U.S. during the 1960s. The latter being a novel that tells the story of an African clan leader Okonkwo, from his rise to power despite a humble beginning, followed by his unfortunate exile, to his downfall when the white men arrived. There is certainly something about the poem that is alluring.