Straight Talk: Maybe “Great” Gatsby Isn’t All That Great

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Amongst innumerable amounts of rhetorical garbage in Fitzgerald’s haughty, elitist book, the green light at the end of Daisy Buchannan’s dock is a symbol that the author fails to suggest has any significant meaning. Gatsby always looks like a stud as he preforms his evening ritual of looking over at that green light…and for some reason reminds me of Leonardo DiCaprio… God knows why. Anyway, that’s not my point. Let’s talk about the green light. Let’s also talk about the end of this book.

Don’t worry, there are no spoilers in my criticism. This whole novel is incredibly predictable so if you didn’t know that Gatsby dies at the end, then get a life or something. Reading is not for you.

I was baffled when Fitzgerald has the narrator essentially say that the light actually gets Jay Gatsby horny: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.” (180). Is orgastic even a word? Why is it used to describe green light at the end of Daisy’s dock?

I took it as my prerogative to find out that “orgastic” was coined by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and is most likely, according to Urban Dictionary, a cross between “orgasmic” and “orgiastic”. Wow, this Fitzgerald guy must be cocky as hell thinking he could just make up a word like that to describe a stupid light. Maybe we could cut him some slack, though. He did create a word that our very own Ted Cruz used to announce his running mate, and according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary “lookups increased 2600%”.

So by describing the green light as “orgastic” are we supposed to find some metaphorical, contextual meaning of the green light? Does Fitzgerald just assume that the reader would simply take it upon him/herself to come up with some conclusion that the light represents something even remotely sophisticated?

Maybe, by the end of writing this awful excuse for a modernist novel, Fitzgerald is so captivated and in love with his own superfluous literary techniques that through his writing of Gatsby’s affluence and grandeur, Fitzgerald begins to identify himself with the greatness of Jay Gatsby. My analysis concludes that Fitzgerald is a pompous, self absorbed writer seems to finally justify why he would simply make up a word. Fitzgerald synthesizes “orgastic” out of thin air to describe Gatsby’s feelings for the woman behind a green light.

 

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