• On the Opening of “The Great Gatsby”

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 1 comment

    Four score and seven years ago, F. Scott Fitzgerald released what is considered one of the greatest American novels, The Great Gatsby. Most of us have read it, probably both for school and for pleasure, and with a new film adaptation slated to come out next summer, lots of us will probably pick it up again.

    As a reminder of what you’re getting into (and I mean that in a non-ominous manner), here’s the opening to that fine book:


    In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

    “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

    He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores.


    Do these four lines call up some fond memories? Or are you suddenly back in that 10th-grade English classroom, stomach in knots, knowing that your five paragraph argument essay on Dr. T.J. Eckleburg is due tomorrow and you haven’t even started?


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    Laura Roberts

    Who the Hellmann’s Mayonnaise is T.J. Eckleburg?! Gatsby is probably the one “academic” text I never read in academia. Therefore, I can enjoy it, free from such fetters. (On the other hand, Tender Is the Night didn’t fare so well.) I love the way the narrator describes himself as being non-judgmental (even though, let’s face it, it’s obvious that he’s the ultimate judge, at least of this story), and says this has given him some very interesting stories, but has also left him defenseless against phenomenal bores. STORY OF MY LIFE. But then again, he comes from privilege, and so… Read more »

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