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16 April 2013

Comments

I've always thought that this novel is exactly the opposite of what adolescents believe, what they *need* to believe.

After all, what is the "moral" of GATSBY? From the famous opening line, it teaches that love always leads to disaster. That you can't re-invent yourself. And that your father was right all along.

Yes, I do think you can figure that out in high school and that is when it pisses you off the most, that you can't get past your upbringing sometimes. I would say by the time you've hit adulthood you have resigned yourself to your place in the world and hopefully have made some peace with it. I am super excited to see this movie too, let's go together and splurge on popcorn!

I'm finding a lot of books I was 'supposed' to read as a teenager (and even as a university student) are greatly improved with time.

Hapax,
I had to go back and look at the first line again: "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since." Is that the one you mean?
I find your comment so, so interesting. I'd LOVE to book club this book. At the end of the day, I don't know what the moral is. Was the problem that Gatsby couldn't re-invent himself, or that he tried to re-invent himself mainly for the benefit of a woman who couldn't or wouldn't appreciate it? Did he really love Daisy or was it just fascination with something so completely "other" than him? Lots to talk about. Mr. CR and I were talking it over and he referenced Daisy's "unhappiness," which I didn't get at all (Frankly, I was not a Daisy fan on first OR second reading). Furthermore, I wonder if there are gender differences in reading this book, as well as age differences? Fascinating. Kudos, F. Scott.

Katharine,
I figured some of it out in high school, but frankly, not the bigger picture of the insidious ways wealth works and the confidence and luck it conveys on those who have it. I'm think I'm less resigned to that now (or at least it pisses me off more now), actually, than I was when I was younger!

Heather,
I agree. Mainly I just felt so much more admiration for FSF. I've got to read a biography of him now. I wonder, what are they giving to kids in high school these days?

One of my favorite book bloggers just taught Gatsby to high schoolers and blogged about it here: http://aliteraryodyssey.blogspot.com/2013/04/on-teaching-great-gatsby-by-f-scott.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ALiteraryOdyssey+%28A+Literary+Odyssey%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Although I imagine teachers don't always realize what a student gets out of a book. Perhaps all we can ask is that teenagers have a good experience with a book so that they will come back to it at another time in their life.

Donna,
Thank you for that lovely link--I really enjoyed the blog author's enthusiasm for teaching this book.
I still say, though, I didn't care for Daisy, no matter how "trapped" the poor thing felt in her life. But that was a good discussion question to address with teenagers!

I'm no fan of Baz so I'm not looking forward to his adaptation, particularly since it was supposed to be released at Christmas of 2012, but was pulled. That's not a good sign.

Still I see your point about reading Gatsby in high school. Yet I believe it's fine to introduce students to books they can only understand a fraction of, e.g. anything Shakespeare wrote.

While this young man is probably beyond high school, he makes trenchant comments that show he's far beyond his generation. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl2YZbbNYVU

Also, Gatsby's a great book for teaching symbolism in high school. The symbolic colors are quite accessible.

I recently reread Gatsby, too, because I am super excited for the flick. I even watched the Redford version immediately after reading this time around because - hey, who doesn't like a young Redford? LOVE your review. I wonder about why we teach things to High Schoolers all the time now that I'm attempting to teach excel to HSers right now (short term sub job). They just do not care. Well, some do... I think. I like Donna's comment that maybe we can entice them into reading it again later.

Susan,
Yes, it does seem to go that way with Baz: love him or hate him. Even when his movies aren't reviewed well, though, I find I just love the spectacle of them. Big, loud, fast, interesting music. I don't need that sort of crazy excitement a lot, but two hours in a movie theater every few years or so seems about right.

Thank you for the YouTube clip--I started watching it last night but didn't have time to finish, although I will go back at some point. I agree it's important just to introduce students to stuff--and some teenagers, I'm sure, are more than very aware of America's class system--but still, I hope they're making the point to their students to just pop back in on the classics someday and see if they're a bit less dull after they've gained more life experiences.

Care,
I've never seen the Redford version! When I need my young Redford fix I always head straight for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Yeah, high schoolers. Mainly I salute anyone who tries to teach high schoolers everything (especially since they think they already know everything at that age--and I was as guilty of that as anyone!). And best of luck to you with teaching Excel. I wish I could take your class. I hate and fear Excel.

I own the original (Redford) version and love it. So much so that I'm prepared to hate the new version- especially if it's really going to have hip hop music in the soundtrack. 3-D for this kind of movie strikes me as odd, too.

If you'd like to borrow the original sometime let me know. But you'll need a VCR. I can send it home with Mr. CR the next time I see him.

Holly,
Well, what's not to love anytime Redford's involved?
Weirdly, I know more about that version from film classes than from experience--it's always bandied about as a classic example of miscasting (the thought being that Redford was too handsome to keep mooning about after Mia Farrow, who is not all that "classically" attractive) but I don't know that I buy that. I'll just have to see it for myself! We'll get it from our library to boost their circ numbers--but thank you for the offer of a loan.
Yes, 3-D is weird; I'll endeavor not to see it in that format. But I do love what Baz does with soundtracks. Every now and then, apparently, I just like a lot of spectacle, and Luhrmann almost always provides that.

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