The “High Bouncing Lover”?
Here’s what I love about Fitzgerald. Right when you open The Great Gatsby, you get a sense that this is a different book.
What do I mean?
I’m talking about the epigraph. Now, usually, authors will quote another famous author, philosopher, or someone like that in the epigraph.
But not Fitzgerald. He quotes himself. See, if you didn’t know (and I actually didn’t know this until college), the epigraph in Gatsby is fake.
“Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she cry “Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!” – Thomas Parke D’Invilliers
Thomas Parke D’Invilliers is not a real person. He’s actually a character in Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise.
So that’s an interesting little tidbit.
And I love what Fitzgerald says with that epigraph. That, in one sentence, pretty much explains the entire novel.
Gatsby did everything short of wearing a “gold hat” for Daisy. He “bounced high” by making himself noticeable and throwing extravagant parties just for her. Finally, she noticed.
Then, you know the rest.
Such an awesome opener. And, yet, it’s fake.