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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Budding Writers -> 
A review on ‘The Great Gatsby’ (II)
    2018-04-25  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Qianyu Ann Nie, Emma Willard School

To further demonstrate his faith in self-invention, Luhrmann employs symbolism in a scene. When Gatsby is holding Daisy in his arms, he hesitates and looks up to the sky — a bright star is gliding through the night sky — then he kisses her with symphonic music bursting forth from the background. The shooting star appears again later in the scene as Gatsby states that his life must “keep going up” like the nebula he pointed out to Nick.

This simile draws a parallel between the shooting star and his life, meaning that Gatsby is striving to improve his career and living standards progressively like a shooting star.

The star symbolizes Gatsby’s great aspiration. However, a shooting star is a fast-moving meteor that burns out upon entering the earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, although the meteor symbolizes Gatsby’s dream, its quality of evanescence foreshadows the demise of Gatsby.

Gatsby’s “success” in self-invention is a delusion that keeps him holding on to his expectations for a relationship with Daisy, and his efforts are unsurprisingly in vain because both the book and the movie foreshadow inevitable conflicts while depicting his aspiration of recreating the past.

When describing the ambiance of the conversation between Nick and Gatsby, Fitzgerald presents Gatsby as walking on a “desolate path” as he talks, surrounded by “discarded favors” and “crushed flowers.” His yearning to reconstruct time — so that he can discard the destitute self of the past and live like he was born rich — is so delicate that it may be “crushed” anytime.

The picturesque adjectives not only portray the forlorn disorder in the big house after the party is over, but also foreshadow the hardships Gatsby will encounter on the “desolate” road of recreating the past all by himself without support.

However, he is too stubborn and too faithful to give up his pursuit of Daisy. In the movie, symbols, lighting, as well as background music all emphasize Gatsby’s great ambition to recreate the past and win Daisy’s love while also serving to question the attainability of his hope.

Nick’s voice-over remarks that the uniform “[hides] the truth” in that Gatsby consciously conceals his poor origin, making Daisy falsely believe that this officer is of the same social status with her. But in fact, she is simply looking at Gatsby’s great aspiration instead of the truth.

This deceit plants the seeds for future conflict because the omniscient point of view propels readers to anticipate Daisy’s reaction when she finds out about the harsh truth. Furthermore, the nature of the love between Daisy and Gatsby is thus questionable when both of them idealize each other.

There is no honesty because Daisy is deluded by Gatsby’s “grand vision of himself,” and Gatsby is deluded by Daisy’s angel-like appearance and luxury, thinking she loves him as much as he does while waiting for her call on the last day.

Gatsby’s grandiose ambition in the book is examined by Nick with a disillusioned view: “If he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder.” This metaphor mockingly describes Gatsby as an infant who lies beside his mother’s breast sipping milk. Gatsby without aspiration is like the baby without “pap” which provides food and nutrition.

Gatsby will be able to find the meaning of existence once he attains success, but at present, he loses himself because it seems purposeless to center everything on a woman who may or may not truly love him. Nick’s point of view here reflects Fitzgerald’s thinking, delivering a sense of disillusionment to the readers.

The food for the baby, he writes, is the unattainable “wonder” that Gatsby has. This disillusionment, or realization, is ironic, since life is sustained by food, and thus Gatsby’s subsistence depends on his dream, a dream that will always be just a dream, as is proved by the ending of the book.

Gatsby’s dream is grand and beautiful. But I do not think that his demise represents a challenge to the feasibility of the American Dream. The self-creation advocated by the American Dream is not only about being whoever one wants to be, but also about working hard to earn the rewards that one deserves.

Although Fitzgerald never clarifies Gatsby’s occupation in the book, it can be inferred between the lines that the source of his wealth is not rightful.

Besides, unlike the optimism which propels the American people to move forward, Gatsby is stuck in the cage of the past he creates for himself.

Time flows. Just like one cannot step in the same river twice as the water is always flowing, Gatsby cannot twist the flow to go back in time.

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