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Twenties atmospheres, the age of jazz, prohibition[1], lights, parties, beautiful cars and cocktail dresses. How not to be fascinated? One immediately thinks of jewels, make-up, sets. To wealth!

Probably those who lived these years would not really agree with the imagery that was created around the magical twenties, since struck by lights and colors, it is easy to forget that that decade is right between the two world wars, and that all that exaggeration, display of power, money and happiness served to cover a majority of the population in misery and depression.

The manifesto of the decade, at least of the American one, we know well how different lives were in Europe !, is undoubtedly THE GREAT GATSBY, issued in 1925 by the skilled hands of Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1900). The novel, for those few who did not know it, is based on the indecipherable and ambiguous figure of Jay Gatsby, a self-made man enriched in a rather suspicious way, who, harassed by the figure of his beloved Daisy, symbolizes myths and contrasts of ” American dream”. It is narrated by Nick Carraway, a character who is essentially the opposite of Gatsby.

I have a particular story with this great classic, because the first time I read it – if you can say so – I did it in English. At the time, however, my English was much less fluent than it is now, and I think I missed pages and pages of facts and dialogues in a desperate attempt to reach the conclusion.

There was no google to help me, nor some magical translator, or someone who summarized it online. All I had was the dictionary. That’s all.

The approach was somewhat tragic, and for quite a while just hearing about Fitzgerald gave me a shiver down my spine.

 

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Several years later, the fabulous film[2]with Leonardo Di Caprio came out, and for him and only for him I went back to approaching this story.

Needless to say, I fell in love with it! Hence, I decided to give the novel a second chance, I still had the original version at home, but this time I bought the Italian translation and read that one.

Wonderful!

Wonderful!!

Two years later, finally reading the English version with some more awareness, I realized how much I had missed the first two times I had read it.

The style, the words, the dialogues are something perfectly thought out for each character, for each situation; and only in this third reading I did realize how much it is a story of loneliness and indifference and only secondarily a story of love.

It is absolutely true that << the books are mirrors, they reflect what we have inside >> [3], and in fact more than understanding how it would go between Jay and Daisy, I wanted to know if Nick would become a writer leaving behind the boring life as a banker.

Risultati immagini per grande gatsby gif

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” —The Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald flaunts a world of illusions, he makes us believe that we can be better than we are but that in the end, when you do the math, there is little left. He gives us two last heartbreaking chapters, in which he sinks the knife more and more into the infected wound of falsehood and the lack of values ​​(excluding that of money) of the American society of his time (only his ??? Look who they voted … ).

What strikes me, which prompts me to say “yes it’s a great classic to read” is the proximity to the contemporary era.

The crisis of values, the constant search for power, for something better, more … of showing off an image of us that belongs to the public (before it was the party, now the photos on social networks), but which often hide, too well, a deep loneliness.

Fitzgerald could have written the same novel even today, changing the atmosphere a little but not the basic plot, not Jay’s ambitions, Daisy’s superficiality, the image that matters more than substance.

“I hope she’ll be a fool. That’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” — The Great Gatsby

We continue to say not to repeat the mistakes of the past, we recommend ourselves, we create technologies that prevent us from doing so. But in the end perhaps Nietzsche was right “This life, as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live it again and again countless times, and there will never be anything new in it” and everything is nothing but an Eternal Return.

I really hope not, and you?


[1] Period that goes from 1919 to 1933 and in which the production and sale of alcohol is prohibited in the United States. The amendment, strongly supported by religious societies and fundamentalist political groups, favors the flourishing of illegal production and smuggling activities, usually run by gangsters and mafia associations.

[2] The peculiarity of the film is that Nick tells his story through the writing of a novel, his own, which is nothing more than “The Great Gatsby”. He himself becomes Fitzgerald and the aforementioned phrases are an integral part of both the actual novel and the novel within the film.

[3] Zafon.