Why Fitzgerald’s Prose Is Like Butter
If you haven’t noticed, I’m drawing out The Great Gatsby experience. It doesn’t take me this long to read a 200-page book, but there’s so much to share about this novel that I had to linger on it for a while.
This novel is so jam-packed with buttery-smooth writing that it makes you want to eat it. Yes, physically eat the book. Okay, not quite. But almost.
Anyway, here’s one of the passages that jumped out at me. Gatsby is taking Daisy—who is visiting his mansion for the first time—on a tour through the house with Nick.
He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher—shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, and monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.
“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.”
Fitzgerald’s writing sets the mood perfectly for that scene.
Daisy’s reaction, as it is throughout the novel, is dramatic and over-the-top, but it also is a perfect representation of the time period—which itself was over-the-top and materialistic.
Fitzgerald’s prose is just sick, and by sick I mean good. When I read this novel, I feel like I hear the dialogue, see the scenery, and smell the aromas that he describes. It’s just good.
Hope you’re not tired of the Gatsby posts yet. I’ll have one or two more before I review the novel next week.