The first home that I knew is an ocean away. Though I left there at the age of six, and have only returned for occasional brief visits, I will always regard it as my true home. The place of which I speak is in Palermo, Italy, an ancient city on the coast of Sicily.
Through my early childhood years, I lived in the center of Palermo. The houses there are a warm stone color with sculptured detail and an almost artistic form. You can smell the dampness of the stones as you walk by or into each home. By the early hours of the morning, the smell of sand and salt water reaches the city's streets. Not far from my childhood house, there is a town square which every day fills with Moroccan street vendors trying to make a living. The streets are overcrowded. Pedestrians spill onto the street as cars and motorcycles take up space on the sidewalks due to the lack of parking space.
As a young child in Palermo, I was awakened every morning by the calls of the vegetable and fruit vendor making his rounds up and down the streets. The people leaned out of the balconies, calling out their orders and lowering their baskets to retrieve their groceries. Each person in the building would participate in helping distribute the money to the vendor in return for their neighbor's groceries. By midmorning, the women would be outside washing their front balconies and communicating to each other the happenings of that morning and the plans of the day. Then the buzzing of the busy city would be abruptly silenced as the hour struck one o'clock, and everyone headed back home to have their supper and mid-afternoon nap. For miles away, not a footstep could be heard or a face could be seen. Then as quickly as the silence fell, at a minute past three the liveliness of a moving city came back to life.
My childhood house was owned by my grandparents. I lived there with them, my parents and brother, my great-grandparents and my two unwed uncles. Our home was thought to be larger than most for those times. It was located on the ground floor of a three-story building. There were three well-sized bedrooms that were separated by a long hallway, a spacious bathroom, and a comfortable dining room which was connected to a warm kitchen. There was also a large outdoor terrace that served as our everyday dining area in that generally benign climate.
My most memorable place in that home was the ground balcony located in our bedroom. I say our bedroom because I shared that room with my parents and brother. Even so, it was the one room that I considered my own. You could find me there for hours on end looking out from the balcony. I would usually stand at the edge of the doors to the balcony, but sometimes I would get a chair stacked with books and observe all those who passed by. Most of the passersby were people I knew. They would stop to say their hellos and then shower me with kisses and compliments, which I of course accepted so graciously. My mother would call out to me every so often to remind me not to unlatch the door and walk out onto the street, and to be polite and say hello to everyone I knew. All the while I would be singing and swaying my feet to the music that came from behind the walls of my neighbor's home or simply to a beat that would come to me. I had not a care in the world and the sense of complete happiness that those meaningless moments brought to me will forever live within me.
Those were times when my innocence was pure, life was simple and the true meaning of freedom existed for me each day. I look back now and realize those were the best times of my life. I would give anything to bring back, even for one moment, the feeling I had on that balcony when I was singing and swaying my feet to the music. The minor things I fussed over then would diminish in a heartbeat.
When I arrived in the United States, all the joys of being a child were torn away from me. I had to deal with the sense of loss and sadness. All those people I considered to be my family were now so far and I was to accept those here as my close family. I began to go to school here and the word responsibility entered into my vocabulary for the first time. I didn't know the language or the culture and I certainly looked and felt out of place. The friends I grew up with in Palermo were no longer there to comfort me. I was surrounded by a new group of children, who were strangers and did not accept me. My world was shattered and I could not even tell my parents because they were struggling even more than I. My mother was always crying because she had left all her family in Italy. My father was frustrated with financial issues and the worries of finding work. My brother was dealing with his own problems of fitting into an unfamiliar environment. Everything changed and it was for the worse. Even though things are of course better now, they will never be the same as they were back on that balcony. Though I've lived here in New York for most of my life, the house that I live in now could never give me the sense of home that I experienced when I was in my childhood home in Palermo.
Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own is written with an almost musical style which flows and rhymes from one thought to the next. It gives new meaning to the significance of having a room of one's own and what that might be. The book left me wondering what makes a room one's own? Exactly where you can go to sense that feeling of home? It never occurred to me how important it is to have a private place of refuge. In thinking further, I tried to imagine a place where there could be no invasion of my space.
With these thoughts in mind, I came to envision myself in the room that I occupied as an unborn child inside my mother's womb. This is the room where the nurturing of my mind and inner soul begins. It is where the stages of my human growth are evolving, within the warm glow of that nest that each woman can create inside herself. It is the place where I start loving, feeling and exploring the strongest of emotions. This room is the one place that provides total comfort from a harmful world.
My place inside is surrounded by sounds that seem a distance away, but yet are close enough to comfort me and become a familiar part of my world. Though secluded inside my room, I can feel the comforting caress of my mother's touch. Until the day of separation, there is nothing to suggest that I will ever depart from the safety of the room. I figure on staying here for the rest of my time. I have found the peace and assurance of a home. There is someone nursing me, at times speaking to me or maybe simply singing to me, whichever it may be it is a soothing message that comes through to me.
Then things slowly begin to change and the room is no longer sufficient. I become curious about other rooms and being to open the door that leads to the outer world. I don't realize that there is no coming back to this place. I turn and head toward the light, pushing to find my way out. The noises are steering me in the direction which I am restless to find. The sounds are getting closer and louder until I have at last abandoned the only room that I will ever consider to be truly my own. It is no longer warm and comforting, but strange and alarming.
The Room Within The Womb
Dark eyes, brown hair,
blueness in the cloud shrinking into that room
while I'm safe within my mother's womb
where seasons change outside this room
as growth transpires within her womb.
My lips and fingers fly,
to settle on the walls that lie
living only when I am inside
then preparing to die;
I lie beneath, playing with my limbs
for months on end waiting, resting till I must give in,
grasping wings of life, fainting sounds outside,
the hands that are nestled by my side.
White toes, sand-like heels,
with kick and screams that I let out
arms that cradle, tender whispers I hear
sounds so familiar to my uncovered ears
blinded and breathless, my life begins
without another beat to skip she begins to sing.
If Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde were alive today he would be a rock star living in Hollywood and would always be on the cover of gossip magazines. Oscar Wilde invented himself for the public. He was a genius who would never pass up the opportunity to tell someone of his genius but at the same time never took himself seriously. Oscar knew the duality of life, the good side and the underlying dark side and much of his life and work reflected this. He was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin and found his literary calling at an early age through letter correspondences with his mother, the Lady Jane Speranza Francesca Wilde. His mother too wrote patriotic Irish verse under the pseudonym, Speranza.
Wilde was born of professional and literary parents. His father, Sir William Wilde, was Ireland's leading ear and eye surgeon, who also published books on archaeology, folklore, and the satirist Jonathan Swift. His mother was a revolutionary poet and an authority on Celtic myth and folklore.
After attending Portora Royal School, Enniskillen (1864-71), Wilde went, on successive scholarships, to Trinity College, Dublin (1871-74), and Magdalen College, Oxford (1874-78), which awarded him a degree with honors. During these four years, he distinguished himself not only as a classical scholar, exhibitionist, and a wit, but also as a poet by winning the Newdigate Prize in 1878 with a long poem, Ravenna. He was deeply impressed by the teachings of the English writers John Ruskin and Walter Pater on the central importance of art in life and particularly by the latter's stress on the aesthetic intensity by which life should be lived. Like many in his generation, Wilde was determined to follow Pater's urging "to burn always with a hard, gem-like flame."
In the early 1880s, when Aestheticism was the rage and despair of literary London, Wilde established himself in social and artistic circles by his wit and flamboyance. Wishing to advance the cause of Aestheticism, Wilde published, at his own expense, Poems (1881). Eager for further acclaim, Wilde agreed to lecture in the United States and Canada in 1882, announcing on his arrival in New York City that he had "nothing to declare but his genius." Despite widespread hostility in the press to his languid poses and aesthetic costume of velvet jacket, knee breeches, and black silk stockings, Wilde for 12 months exhorted the Americans to love beauty and art; then he returned to Great Britain to lecture on his impressions of America.
In 1884 Wilde married Constance Lloyd, daughter of a prominent Irish barrister. Two children, Cyril and Vyvyan, were born, in 1885 and 1886. Meanwhile, Wilde was a reviewer for the Pall Mall Gazette and then became editor of Woman's World (1887-89). During this period, he published The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888), which reveals his gift for romantic allegory in the form of the fairy tale.
In the final decade of his life, Wilde wrote and published nearly all of his major work. In his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (published in Lippincott's Magazine, 1890, and in book form, revised and expanded by six chapters, in 1891), Wilde combined the supernatural elements of the Gothic novel with the unspeakable sins of French decadent fiction. Critics charged immorality despite Dorian's self-destruction. Wilde, however, insisted on the amoral nature of art regardless of an apparently moral ending. His later work Intentions (1891), consisted of previously published essays, which restated his aesthetic attitude toward art. In that same year, two volumes of stories and fairy tales also appeared, testifying to his extraordinary creative inventiveness: Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, and Other Stories and A House of Pomegranates.
But Wilde's greatest successes were his society comedies. Within the conventions of the French "well-made play", he employed his paradoxical, epigrammatic wit to create a form of comedy new to the 19th-century English theater. His first success, Lady Windermere's Fan, demonstrated that this wit could revitalize the rusty machinery of French drama. In the same year, rehearsals of his macabre play Salomé, written in French and designed, as he said, "to make his audience shudder by its depiction of unnatural passion", were halted by the censor because it contained biblical characters. It was published in 1893, and an English translation appeared in 1894 with Aubrey Beardsley's celebrated illustrations.
A second society comedy, A Woman of No Importance (produced 1893), convinced the critic William Archer that Wilde's plays "must be taken on the very highest plane of modern English drama." In rapid succession, Wilde's final plays, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, were produced early in 1895. In the latter, his greatest achievement, the conventional elements of farce are transformed into satiric epigrams--seemingly trivial but mercilessly exposing Victorian hypocrisies.
In many of his works, exposure of a secret sin or indiscretion and consequent disgrace is a central design. If life imitated art, as Wilde insisted in his essay The Decay of Lying (1889), he was himself approximating the pattern in his reckless pursuit of pleasure. In addition, his close friendship with Lord Alfred Douglas, whom he had met in 1891, infuriated the Marquess of Queensberry, Douglas' father. Accused, finally, by the marquess of being a sodomite, Wilde, urged by Douglas, sued for criminal libel. Wilde's case collapsed, however, when the evidence went against him, and he dropped the suit. Urged to flee to France by his friends, Wilde refused, unable to believe that his world was at an end. He was arrested and ordered to stand trial.
Wilde testified brilliantly, but the jury failed to reach a verdict. In the retrial he was found guilty and sentenced, in May 1895, to two years at hard labor. Most of his sentence was served at Reading Gaol, where he wrote a long letter to Douglas (published in 1905 in a drastically cut version as De Profundis) filled with recriminations against the younger man for encouraging him in dissipation and distracting him from his work.
In May 1897 Wilde was released, and immediately went to France, hoping to regenerate himself as a writer where he never lost his flair for drama. His only remaining work, however, was The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), revealing his concern for inhumane prison conditions. Despite constant money problems he maintained, as George Bernard Shaw said, "an unconquerable gaiety of soul" that sustained him, and he was visited by such loyal friends as Max Beerbohm and Robert Ross, later his literary executor; he was also reunited with Douglas. He died a broken man on November 30, 1900, of acute meningitis brought on by an ear infection. In his semiconscious final moments, he was received into the Roman Catholic church, which he had long admired.
The most striking thing about the poet's appearance was his height, which is several inches over six feet. The next thing to attract attention is his hair, which is of a dark brown color, and falls down upon his shoulders. His complexion, instead of the rosy hue so common in Englishmen, was so utterly devoid of color that it could only be described as resembling putty. His eyes were blue, or a light gray, and instead of being dreamy, as some of his admirers have imagined them to be, they were bright and quick--not at all like those of one given to perpetual musing on the ineffably beautiful and true. One of the peculiarities of his speech was that he accented almost at regular intervals without regard to the sense, perhaps as a result of an effort to be rhythmic in conversation as well as in verse.
Oscar Wilde wrote energetically throughout his life. Although of undoubted quality, his works were not recognized by the literary community for many years. Oscar's work thrived on the realization that he was gay, but his private life flew increasingly in the face of the decidedly anti-homosexual conventions of late Victorian society. As his literary career flourished, the risk of a huge scandal grew ever larger.
Oscar Wilde, literature's most famous homosexual, did not invent Aestheticism, but was a dramatic advocate of the movement during his Oxford years. "Art for art's sake" became the catch-phrase for Aestheticism in the 1890s. Art was not supposed to instruct, offer any morals, nor social or political guidance. Through his works, Wilde intended to break free from the moral restraints and limitations imposed by Victorian society. The Picture of Dorian Gray was dubbed "the garbage of the French Decadents" and a "poisonous book" for this reason.
The Picture of Dorian Gray was Oscar Wilde's only novel. Like much of his work and life, the Gothic melodrama Dorian Gray was controversial. In his preface to the book he famously wrote that, "There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all." The Picture of Dorian Gray draws mainly upon two legends: the Faust legend and the myth of Narcissus. Wilde deals with the themes of sin and redemption, heaven and hell, Christ and the Devil, pride and repentance.
Dorian Gray is the story of a handsome young man who, seeing a portrait of himself, utters the fatal wish: "If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that - for that - I would give everything! ... I would give my soul for that!". Soon he gets to realize that his wish had been granted. The portrait begins to show signs of age and vileness as Dorian takes advantage of the supernatural fact and leads a life of sheer pleasure and immorality; terrible crimes soon follow, with Dorian murdering two friends, including the painter of his portrait, and the portrait becoming all the more hideous. After many adventures and, especially, agony and fear, Dorian decides to destroy the portrait. What actually happens at the last scene, is open for discussion.
The characteristics conventionally associated with Victorianism are what have caused an uproar about the original version of Dorian Gray. The term Victorian, which literally describes things and events in the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), carries connotations of "prudish," "repressed," and "old fashioned." Although such associations have some basis in fact, they do not adequately indicate the nature of this complex, paradoxical age that was a second English Renaissance. Victorian England saw great expansion of wealth, power, and culture.
In science and technology, the Victorians invented the modern idea of invention -- the notion that one can create solutions to problems, that man can create new means of bettering himself and his environment. In religion, the Victorians experienced a great age of doubt, the first that called into question institutional Christianity on such a large scale. In literature and the other arts, the Victorians attempted to combine Romantic emphases upon self, emotion, and imagination with Neoclassical ones upon the public role of art and a corollary responsibility of the artist.
In ideology, politics, and society, the Victorians created astonishing innovation and change: democracy, feminism, unionization of workers, socialism, Marxism, and other modern movements took form. In fact, this age of Darwin, Marx, and Freud appears to be not only the first that experienced modern problems but also the first that attempted modern solutions. Victorian, in other words, can be taken to mean parent of the modern -- and like most powerful parents, it provoked a powerful reaction against itself.
The Victorian age was not one, not single, simple, or unified, only in part because Victoria's reign lasted so long that it comprised several periods. Above all, it was an age of paradox and power. The Catholicism of the Oxford Movement, the Evangelical movement, the spread of the Broad Church, and the rise of Utilitarianism, socialism, Darwinism, and scientific Agnosticism, were all in their own ways characteristically Victorian; as were the prophetic writings of Carlyle and Ruskin, the criticism of Arnold, and the empirical prose of Darwin and Huxley; as were the fantasy of George MacDonald and the realism of George Eliot and George Bernard Shaw.
More than anything else what makes Victorians Victorian is their sense of social responsibility, a basic attitude that obviously differentiates them from their immediate predecessors, the Romantics.
In The Picture of Dorian Gray, the theme of music as a vehicle for one's emotional relationship to the world and other's around him is recurrent in Dorian Gray's language and actions throughout the novel. When the character is first introduced, he is seated at a piano, perhaps the most widely recognized and admired of all the musical instruments.
seated at the piano ... turning over the pages of a volume of Schumann's "Forest Scenes." "You must lend me these, Basil," he cried. "I want to learn them." (p. 11)
It is immediately evident that Dorian Gray responds emotionally to music and musical expression. This passage shows an enthusiastic desire to acquire the music and make it his own. Significantly, he chooses a work of Robert Schumann, a romantic composer known for his extraordinary pathos, emotional sensitivity and delicate psychological dimensions. Schumann is the object of Dorian Gray's excitement and admiration. Schumann is one of the most tragic figures of the 19th century. He always struggled to deal with the realities of life and suffered through poor health, and ultimately was committed to an asylum where he died at a young age. Perhaps this was foretelling of Dorian Gray's own tragic ending.
The philosopher, Carl Jung, maintains that "music expresses, in some way, the movement of the feelings (or emotional values) that cling to the unconscious processes." The words used to describe feelings very often have a slightly but significantly different meaning for each individual. Dorian Gray uses musical imagery to express his own feelings and emotions.
Music was a provocatively emotional force in Dorian Gray's life. Music was the language by which Dorian Gray related to his emotional self. This is evident from his reflection on first hearing Lord Henry expound his philosophy of Individualism:
"Music had stirred him like that. Music had troubled him many times. But music was not articulate. It was not a new world, but rather another chaos, that it created in us." (p. 14)
Such "chaos" refers to emotion. His determination to learn Schumann's "Forest Scenes" thus represents a desire to give form to chaos. In Jung's sense of the words, he is seeking to translate emotion into feeling.
Dorian reacts to Sibyl Vane, the first girl with whom he falls in love, as if she were music. His description of her is a clear example of how Dorian gave voice to his own emotions by putting them in a musical context. He describes her to Lord Henry:
"And her voice -- I never heard such a voice. It was very low at first, with deep mellow notes, that seemed to fall singly upon one's ear. Then it became a little louder, and sounded like a flute or a distant hautbois. In the garden-scene it had all the tremulous ecstasy that one hears just before dawn when nightingales are singing. There were moments, later on, when it had the wild passion of violins. You know how a voice can stir one." (p.50)
He refers to mellow notes as though this was a musical performance with an analysis of not only the melodic range of the voice but also the dynamic range of the voice (i.e., becoming louder). The passage is filled with the connections between musical images and emotional experience, such as ecstasy, passion and emotional stirring produced by the music.
Later, he reflects about Hetty Merton, the last girl with whom he falls in love:
"What a laugh she had! -- just like a thrush singing." (p.161)
The fact that he should associate both Sybil and Hetty with music suggests that a considerable degree of feeling (or emotional value) "clings" to both of them. This implies that Sybil faces Dorian with a challenge to translate his immediate infatuation with her (excessive reaction, and thus emotion) into a reaction in which he is capable of a balanced feeling toward her.
The relation between Sibyl and "emotion" is confirmed in chapter IX, when Basil comes to console Dorian after hearing the news of Sibyl's death. Dorian does not want to be reminded of an emotion he felt the previous evening:
"I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, to dominate them."
Perhaps this is why Dorian was so anxious to learn and appropriate to himself the Schumann music, so that he could master it and dominate the music rather than merely being subjected to the emotion of it. In the space of only a few weeks, he has moved from infatuation to ice-cold indifference for his love Sibyl.
The picture in the attic was a mirror to Dorian's true self.
It reflected his innermost soul, and showed the accumulated effect of his life's
actions. Likewise, the fictional character of Dorian Gray was, in may ways,
reflective of the true Oscar Wilde. Dorian, the work of Wilde's art, was the
mirror of Wilde the man. A stylish bon vivant to the exterior
world, yet seething with turmoil and conflicts inside. Thus, he is the timeless
representation of the modern man. He is the epitome of his Victorian times,
and, at the same time, transcending time in his universal relevance and appeal.
An Anglo-American poet, critic, dramatist, and editor, Thomas Steams Eliot was a major innovator in modem English poetry, famous above all for his revolutionary poem The Waste Land (1922). His seminal critical essays, such as those published in The Sacred Wood, helped to usher in literary modernism by stressing tradition, continuity, and objective discipline over indulgent romanticism and subjective egoism. In rejecting the poetic values of the English romantics and Victorians, Eliot, along with William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound, set new poetic standards equal to those established by James Joyce and Marcel Proust in fiction. In 1948 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
Eliot, born in St. Louis, Missouri, September 26, 1888, was descended from a distinguished New England family. Between 1906 and 1914 he attended Harvard, studying widely in literature and philosophy. As a graduate student in philosophy, Eliot went abroad to study principally at the Sorbonne and Oxford. Wit the outbreak of World War I in 1914, he decided to take up permanent residence in England and became a British subject in 1927.
In 1915 he married Vivien Haigh-Wood, whose mental instability led to her confinement in institutions from 1930 until her death in 1947. The emotional difficulties produced by the marriage evidently prompted some intense passages in Eliots poetry. Living in London, he worked as a teacher and bank clerk and helped edit the imagist magazine The Egoist (1917-19). In London he also met his countryman Ezra Pound, who read Eliots poems and responded enthusiastically. From 1920 to 1939 Eliot edited The Criterion, and in 1925 joined the publishers Faber and Gwyer as an editor; he subsequently became a director of the firm, later renamed Faber and Faber. In 1927 he joined the Church of England. Eliot was awarded the British Order of Merit in 1948 and the American Medal of Freedom in 1964.
In January 1957, Eliot stunned virtually everyone who knew him, when, with no prior announcement, he married Valerie Fletcher, his secretary at Faber and Faber; he was sixty-eight years old, she was thirty. After an extraordinarily painful first marriage, followed by many years of guilt and loneliness, Eliot in the last years of life enjoyed an emotional and physical closeness that he had never knowing before. Unfortunately, his happiness would be short-lived. After several years of declining health, he died of emphysema at his home in London on January 4, 1965, six days before his eighth wedding anniversary.
As a young poet Eliot found inspiration in French Symbolist poetry, particularly the ironic, self-deprecating verse of Jules Laforgue, and in the flexible, colloquial blank verse of the 17th-century metaphysical poets and Jacobean dramatists. Both influences are apparent in his first important poems, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1909-11) and Portrait of a Lady (1915), both published in Prufrock and Other Observations (1917). Equally influential were his readings of Dante, Shakespeare, ancient literature, modem philosophy, and Eastern mysticism, all of which influenced other early poems such as Mr. Apollinax (1916), Sweeney among the Nightingales (1918), and Gerontion (1920), a poem that anticipates the power of The Waste Land. With the help and encouragement of Ezra Pound, Eliots poetry began to appear in English and American magazines. Pound regarded Eliot as a truly modem poet who had developed an extraordinarily original idiom that fused tradition and superior learning with the contemporary and colloquial.
Eliot was not a prolific poet, but his small output soon gained respectful attention from readers of modern poetry on both sides of the Atlantic. During the postwar years his prevailing sense of despair and sour irony, and his conviction that our times and civilization fall short of past grandeur, struck a responsive chord in many readers. The appearance of The Waste Land in 1922 aroused both notoriety and genuine admiration. It was notorious because it appeared bafflingly obscure, and at the same time slangy and iconoclastic, a gesture of defiance toward traditional literary ideals; it seemed a poetic expression of the Jazz Age. More discerning readers responded to the deeper aspects of the poem: its juxtaposition of disparate, clashing images; its superimposition of past and present, ancient myths being reenacted in a modem urban setting, Dante and Shakespeare counterpointed against blues and ragtime.
Eliot quoted or alluded to a wide range of literary sources, incorporating them into the texture of the poem by a marked personal rhythm. However difficult particular passages may be, Eliots verse is emphatically memorable. The Waste Land was the product of several years gestation and, like most of Eliots poetry, is composed of fragments that were carefully arranged and juxtaposed, rather like the collage technique of 20th-century painting. In a 1971 published facsimile of the original manuscript, it became evident how much the final form of the poem owed to the extensive revisions made, at Eliots request, by Pound.
Two years before The Waste Land appeared, Eliots collection of essays on poetry and criticism, The Sacred Wood, was published (1920). His best-known essay, Tradition and the Individual Talent, advanced the key points of all his later criticism: the importance of literary history and tradition, and the belief that poetry lies not in an unbridled expression of emotion but in an escape from emotion. In Hamlet and His Problems, he called Shakespeares play an "artistic failure" because of Hamlets inexpressible emotional attachment to Gertrude, and coined the term objective correlative, meaning an image or metaphor that arouses emotional response in the reader. Other essays on Dryden, Donne, and the metaphysical poets generated new interest in these writers.
Following his conversion to Anglo-Catholicism, Eliots poetry took on new spiritual dimensions. The six-pan poem Ash Wednesday (1930) sensitively traces a pattern of spiritual progress. The emphasis is on the struggle toward belief rather than the triumphant assertion of it. Eliots last major poetic sequence, Four Quartets (1943), which was written in four sections from 1935 to 1942 and which he believed to be his finest achievement, is religious in a very broad sense. It deals with ideas of incarnation, the intersection of time and eternity. and the discovery of spiritual insight in sudden and unexpected moments of revelation. More personal than the previous poems, it is exquisitely lyrical and musical in structure.
With his best-known play, Murder in the Cathedral (1935; film, 1952), based on the murder of Thomas Becket, Eliot hoped to revive poetic drama. Commissioned for the 1935 Canterbury Festival, it is an effective combination of theater, liturgy, and verse. His other plays, The Family Reunion (1939), The Cocktail Party (1949), The Confidential Clerk (1953), and The Elder Statesman
(1959), are contemporary secular dramas that, like the poems, draw on a variety of literary sources.
Eliot commented at length on the subject of drama in Rhetoric and Dramatic Poetry (1919) and Dialogue on Dramatic Poetry (1928).
Although Eliot is widely regarded as a great poet and equally great critic, some readers have been put off by the austere personality revealed in the writings. But the best of his poems and essays have a remarkable capacity for renewing themselves and revealing a man who was not only an imaginative artist but also a keen cultural commentator who made readers reevaluate their notions of literature. It is almost impossible to overstate Eliots influence or his importance to twentieth-century poetry. Through his essays and especially through his own poetic practice, he played a major role in establishing the modernist conception of poetry: learned, culturally allusive, ironic, impersonal in manner (but, in his case, packed with powerful reserves of private feeling), organized by associative rather than logical connections, and difficult at times to the point of obscurity.
Artists and writers have often had much to teach Christians about the world around tern. They express the mysteries of faith in a more concise and beautiful way than ninny traditional theologians. Eliot had a keen interest in matters of faith and theology, Eliot also believed that a lot of the most remarkable achievements of culture had arisen out of discord and disunity. He thought that society in his own age had broken down to a large extent, as expressed in his great modernist poem The Waste Land. Writing after the Great War, he felt that modem life was rife with futility and anarchy. It was his interest in the institutions of society that led him to see the importance of communal worship, and the significance of religious practice for entire nations, as well as for individual souls.
Eliot wrote poetry partly as a means of escaping from the trials of his life, but he also died saying that his creativity had caused him great personal suffering. He wrote several plays: Murder in the Cathedral, The Family Reunion, The Cocktail Party, and Four Quartets. These all dealt with the religious aspects of time and redemption. Even when writing about the suffering of individual people, Eliot maintained a sense of hope, and he was not given over to despair.
T. S. Eliot, not satisfied with being the major poet and literary critic of the first half of the twentieth century, repeatedly set himself the double task of bringing Greek-style tragedy and poetic language to the modem theater. That he succeeded at all is a testimony to his genius; and while The Family Reunion is occasionally awkward or heavy going, it is undoubtedly powerful drama.
As a solidly British family gathers for the matriarchs birthday, the one prodigal son is awaited with some trepidation. There has always been something, well, different about Hany, and it is not certain that he will be ready or able to take his place as new lord of the manor.
Indeed, Harry proves to be more than a little troubled, haunted by fear and guilt that take on physical form. Such persecution, he feels, must have some basis, and he is slowly going mad with the obsessive sense of his own sinfulness.
In the course of the play Harry learns things about his family that relieve his burden: his parents generation were not pure, and the vague sense of evil he grew up with had a factual basis outside him. In other words, he was right in sensing sin, but it wasnt his sin. This discovery frees him at least enough that he can begin the journey toward possible happiness.
T.S. Eliots The Wasteland is a poem about the spiritual emptiness of our modem society. It tells of a world in which the daily activities of man, the many rituals and ceremonies of everyday life, have become devoid of meaning. The poem thus describes a world in need of regeneration. The despair is not in the death of our world, for death is an inevitable part of the cycle of existence. Rather, Eliots concern is where our modern society will find its rebirth. In answer to this question, Eliot looks to the ancient myths and ceremonies of death and regeneration The Waste Land can be revived and saved, but only if the empty, broken ceremonies are replaced with substance and meaning.
Eliots concern with ceremony, and his abundant reference to mythological and religious material, are evident throughout the poem. The title of Part I, "The Burial of the Dead," comes from the Anglican burial service. The poem then begins with a meditation on April, the "cruelest month." April, the traditional month of Easter, is cruel because it mixes "memory and desire," but brings no true renewal. We then are introduced to "Madame Sosostris," a mock Egyptian fortune teller who, with her tarot cards, makes a parody of the mysteries of ancient religion.
The tarot card reader tells us to "fear death by water," thus invoking the water imagery that reins throughout the poem. Water is at once a symbol of purification, baptism, and renewal. ft is the source of growth and regeneration, but, at the same time, is the agent of drowning and death. Water expunges sin, kills off the old, washes away the tainted and decayed spirit and makes possible the resurrection that mankind must attain. For this reason water, perhaps the most common element of human ritual, plays all of its diverse roles in The Waste Land. In the spiritual dryness of the Waste Land, the "dry stone" gives "no sound of water" (24). The poem goes on with repeated reference to rain, the River Thames, and, most poignantly, to "Death by Water," the title of Part IV, which recalls the drowned Phoenician Sailor of Part I. It is through the cleansing death of water that life is resurrected, as it is through baptism that the faithful are to be reborn.
Part V of the poem brings the water imagery to full measure. It opens with an allusion to Christs imprisonment and trial, with images of Gethsemane and Golgotha. This passage suggests the hopeless days between Good Friday and Easter, when regeneration seems impossible (lines 323-
"After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead."
The imagery of a primal ceremony is evident in this passage. The last line of "He who was living is now dead" shows the passing of the primal ceremony; the connection to it that was once viable is now dead. The language used to describe the event is very rich and vivid: red, sweaty, stony. These words evoke an event that is without the cares of modern life- it is primal and hot. A couple of lines later Eliot talks of "red sullen faces sneer and snarl! From doors of mudcraeked houses."
The ensuing lines then declare that "here is no water, only rock." (line 331) Eliot then repeatedly juxtaposes the images of water and rock, the one being the life giver and redeemer, the other being the hard unforgiving reality of death:
"Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand"
From the primal roots of ceremony Eliot shows us the contrast of broken ceremonies. Sonie of these ceremonies are broken because they are lacking vital components. A major ceremony in The Waste Land is that of sex. The ceremony of sex is broken, however, because it is missing components of love and consent. An example of this appears in Part II, lines 99-100:
"The change of Philomel, by the barbarous king.
So rudely forced."
This is referring to the rape of Philomel by King Tcreus of Thrace. The forcing of sex on an unwilling partner breaks the entire ceremony of sex. Rape is not the only way a broken sex ceremony can take place. The broken ceremony can also occur when there is a lack of love, as shown in lines 222-256. This passage describes a scene between "the typist" and "the young man carbuncular." What passes between these two individuals is a sex ceremony that is devoid of love and emotion (except for, perhaps, the emotion of lust on the part of the young man). The typist is indifferent to the whole event and the young mans "vanity requires no response" (line 241). For a ceremony to be effective, the participants have to have some degree of faith in what they are doing. They must believe that the ceremony will result in something worthwhile. The participants in this broken ceremony had no faith in what they were doing; they were just going through the motions. This is made obvious when the secretary says "Well now thats done: and Im glad its over." (line 252).
Conversely, ceremonies can also be broken when there are too many components in the ceremony, something extra that serves to break them. In The Waste Land this is demonstrated by the presence of a third person in a ceremony that should contain only two. In lines 139-166, Eliot presents a scene with "one too many." A husband (Albert) and a wife (Lil) are about to be reunited after Alberts four year absence. What should be a happy reunion ceremony is broken by the intrusion of a third person- Lils "friend." She belittles Lil and then threatens her by saying (lines 149-151):
"And if you dont give it [a good time] to him, theres others will, I said.
Oh is there, she said. Something othat, I said.
Then Ill know who to thank, she said, and gave me a straight look."
For a true bond to occur in a relationship there must be a true connection between two people. If one of the people in the relationship is cheating on the other, this is another example of a third person breaking a two person ceremony. In lines 359-366, Eliot writes:
"Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do now know whether a man or a woman-
--But who is that on the other side of you?"
This passage shows a relationship between two people. One of them sees a third party. It is unknown if this is actually another person (such as someone with whom the unfaithfulness is occurring) or if it is a secret person "wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded" that is manifesting themselves as an intruder on the walking couple. Whichever it is, it is breaking the ceremony of the relationship and obviously bothers the speaker who mentions "the other walking beside you" three times in just seven lines.
Language is very important in the genre of poetry and Eliot makes good use of it to show components of ceremonies. The way the language is used in the poem creates broken parts everywhere in the poem. Eliots use of repetition is reminiscent of the chant that often accompanies religious ceremonies. The repeating in lines 121-122 "Do you know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember nothing?" is like a catechism in form. Lines 322-324 "After the.. After the...After the..." also further the ritualistic, ceremonious feeling of the poem. The analytic style that Eliot applies gives the poem a disjointed, broken feeling, almost as if the whole poem is a ceremony, and all of the selections are little cracks in what is ultimately broken. The fragmented use of allusions, combined with the foreign languages and different speakers, help establish the "unwhole" feeling of the poem. Eliot shows the dry, cracked waste land, but in the ending of the poem he gives us hope with the ritualistic chant of "Shantih shantih shantih" (1. 434) which translates (according to the notes) as The Peace which passes understanding. Ceremonies are prevalent throughout T.S. Eliots poem The Waste Land. The contrast between rituals that contain too little and rituals that contain too much show just how broken the waste land is. The actual literary tools that Eliot uses helps give the poem an apparent broken feel.
This biography is not of just one great author of the Jazz Age, but also of his inspiration, his life long love, his wife, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. Together they were the representation of fame, of wealth and also of despair. Their whole relationship coincided with the rise and the fall of the roaring twenties.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was the son of Edward and Mary (Mollie) McQuillan Fitzgerald. He was named after Francis Scott Key, the author of the National Anthem, who was his second cousin three times removed. His mother's family were Irish immigrants who became wealthy as wholesale grocers in St. Paul. After many attempts by Fitzgerald's father to make a living, the family ultimately lived on Mollie's inheritance.
Fitzgerald attended Princeton in September 1913, anticipating graduation in 1917 as a writer of musical comedies. He was not the type to pay attention in his classes. He mainly wrote for the Princeton Tiger, which was a humor magazine and the Nassau Literary Magazine. He also wrote scripts and lyrics for the Princeton Triangle Club musicals. In 1917, on academic probation and unlikely to graduate, Fitzgerald enlisted in the army. He was designated second lieutenant in the infantry. Convinced that he would die in the war, he rapidly wrote a novel, The Romantic Egotist
In 1918 Fitzgerald was stationed in Alabama when he met Zelda Sayre. Zelda was the 18-year-old daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. They met, fell in love and got engaged all within less than a year. The war ended before Fitzgerald had a chance to go over seas and that gave him the opportunity to focus on getting his life started with Zelda. However, Zelda could not be patient and broke off their engagement in June of 1919.
Francis Scott Fitzgerald cracked down and wrote This Side of Paradise which was published in March of 1920, and a week later on April 3rd, Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald wed. Their wedding was put together in such a hurry that neither of their parents attended and there was no reception afterward. After they were married for a little over a year, Zelda and he had a daughter named Francis Scott (Scottie) Fitzgerald.
Their life during the twenties was filled with booze, spending money and traveling. The Fitzgeralds traveled to Paris, the French Riviera, England, Italy and Switzerland. In Paris at the Dingo Bar is where Fitzgerald first met Ernest Hemingway in 1925. In Hemingway's A Movable Feast he portrays Fitzgerald as a fool, a nuisance and a hopeless drunk. He also said that Fitzgerald embarrassed him by praising his work, asking him personal questions and passing out. But Hemingway had great respect for Fitzgerald's writing and had openly said, "he would do anything to help Fitzgerald get over his sickness." He was referring to Fitzgerald's addiction to alcohol.
Also during the twenties Zelda had a series of mental breakdowns which kept her in and out of clinics all over the world. She was determined to get over these breakdowns by taking up ballet, painting and writing a novel. Her paintings have been on display in New York and her novel was published in 1932 against her husband's will. His main reason for her not to publish her book was that he was mortified by her display of concentration in completing her novel so rapidly. He also felt that she took things from the book that he was writing and used them in her novel.
Between 1936-1937 were considered the "crack up" years for Fitzgerald. He was ill, drunk, in debt and unable to write commercial stories." He meets Sheilah Graham in 1937 and she becomes his new love. Even this new love in his life could not save Fitzgerald from the inevitable. He worked as a freelance scriptwriter and started his last novel when he died of a heart attack in 1940. Zelda was living with her mother when she heard the news of his death. Seven years later Zelda was readmitted
to Highland Hospital in North Carolina where a year later she died in a fire. She was buried next to Fitzgerald and later their daughter would join them.
Fitzgerald died believing himself to be a failure. A sad ending to one of the greatest and well-loved authors of the Jazz Age. His most famous novel The Great Gatsby defines the classic American novel and also as many of his other novels do, they describe the life that Fitzgerald led. Today Francis Scott Fitzgerald is now permanently placed with the greatest writers who ever lived, where he wanted to be all along and where he belongs.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) is best known for his novels and short stories which chronicle the excesses of America's 'Jazz Age' during the 1920s. Born into a fairly well-to-do family in St Paul, Minnesota in 1896 Fitzgerald attended, but never graduated from Princeton University. Here he mingled with the monied classes from the Eastern Seaboard who so obsessed him for the rest of his life. In 1917 he was drafted into the army, but he never saw active service abroad. Instead, he spent much of his time writing and re-writing his first novel This Side of Paradise, which on its publication in 1920 became an instant success. In the same year he married the beautiful Zelda Sayre and together they embarked on a rich life of endless parties.
Dividing their time between America and fashionable resorts in Europe, the Fitzgeralds became as famous for their lifestyle as for the novels he wrote. Fitzgerald once said 'Sometimes I don't know whether Zelda and I are real or whether we are characters in one of my novels'. He followed his first success with The Beautiful and the Damned (1922), and The Great Gatsby (1925) which Fitzgerald considered his masterpiece. It was also at this time that Fitzgerald wrote many of his short stories which helped to pay for his extravagant lifestyle. The bubble burst in the 1930s when Zelda became increasingly troubled by mental illness. Tender is the Night (1934), the story of Dick Diver and his schizophrenic wife Nicole, goes some way to show the pain that Fitzgerald felt. The book was not well received in America and he turned to script-writing in Hollywood for the final three years of his life. It was at this time he wrote the autobiographical essays collected posthumously in The Crack-Up and his unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon. He died in 1940.
The Great Gatsby was first published in 1925. The novel would prove to be Fitzgerald's most accomplished novel, and was an immediate critical success. Despite the favorable reviews, the sales for the novel were disappointing.
Within the novel, Fitzgerald uses the character of Nick Carraway as the first-person narrator. It is through Carraway's eyes that we see the other characters and the world they live in. Carraway is the only character in the novel to exhibit, and hold onto, a sense of morals and decency throughout the novel. Symbolism is heavily used, and can be found in both the characters actions and the physical objects. Through the novel, Fitzgerald puts across the idea that the American dream has been corrupted by the desire for materialism. We see that Gatsby had a pure dream, but became corrupt in his quest towards that dream.
Much has been made of Fitzerald's relation to his characters. Many of the characters in his novels are based on people from his life. Within the characters of Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby we can see the dueling parts of Fitzgerald's own personality. Gatsby and Fitzgerald are alike by both being self-made men who have achieved financial success. Similarly, they both achieved their financial success for the love of a woman. Gatsby felt that he needed wealth to win the hand of Daisy, and Fitzgerald felt the same about Zelda. The love of a woman was the motivating factor behind virtually all of Gatsby's actions, and many of the young Fitzgerald's. Fitzgerald would spend the majority of his career struggling to earn as much money as possible to maintain the priviliged lifestyle that Zelda desired.
Nick Carraway can be seen to represent the outsider that Fitzgerald felt himself to be. Both Fitzgerald and Carraway found themselves surrounded by high society and dishonest people.
Neither of them truly fit in with those surroundings. One of the major themes within the novel is East vs. West. Carraway comes from the West, and returns to it by the novel's end. Through Carraway, Fitzgerald shows his fondness for the West, which he idealized as being a moral land. It is their dissatisfaction with their surroundings that Carraway and Fitzgerald share. It is because of such feelings, that they both feel like outsiders.
The Great Gatsby
Close Textual Analysis
(Gatsby has a romantic ideal which transcends his materialistic life. But he is out of place in this spiritless world which modern life has become.)
In his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald tells the story of a romantic ideal and its ultimate destruction by the inexorable rot and decay of modern life. The story is related by Nick Carraway, who has taken a modest rental house next door to Jay Gatsby's mansion. Jay Gatsby is a young millionaire who achieves fabulous wealth for the sole purpose of recapturing the love of his former sweetheart, Daisy Fay Buchanan. Five years prior to the principal events of the story, Daisy broke off with Gatsby and married the vulgar and arrogant Tom Buchanan because he was rich and came from a respectable family. In the years since, Gatsby turns his memory of Daisy into a near-religious worship. He places her on a pedestal and transforms her into his own romantic ideal. In the process, he also transforms himself. He changes his name from Gatz to Gatsby; he invents a past, saying he was from a wealthy family and studied at Oxford; he affects the speech patterns of an English aristocrat ("old sport"), and stages parties that resemble theatrical productions.
The irony is that Gatsby's extreme pursuit of materialism is just an elaborate facade that allows him to pursue his enchanted spiritual vision. All of the trappings of his wealth have a sense of the unreal, as having no weight or substance. Our first sense of this occurs in Chapter 3, when Gatsby invites Nick to one of his parties. In Gatsby's library Nick encounters a drunken guest who announces that Gatsby's books are actually real:
"What do you think?" he demanded impetuously.
He waived his hand toward the book-shelves.
"About that. As a matter of fact you needn't bother to ascertain.
I ascertained. They're real."
The guest goes on to liken Gatsby's recreation of a true library to the work of a great stage designer:
"See!" He cried triumphantly. "It's a bona-fide piece of printed matter."
"It fooled me." "This fella's a regular Belasco." "It's a triumph."
"What thoroughness!" "What realism!" "Knew when to stop, too - didn't cut the pages. "But what do you want?" "What do you expect?"
It is clear that, while Gatsby possesses a vast wealth of things, his things do not possess him. He stands outside of them, apart from them in a transcendent way. He was the elusive loner at his own extravagant parties. He never was in his own swimming pool, never cracked a book in his library. Gatsby is so disconnected from his surroundings that he seems to be just another guest in his own house. When Gatsby shows up at Nick's house one evening, Nick points to Gatsby's blazing mansion, with all of its rooms illuminated, and remarks that it looks like the World's Fair.
"Does it? He turned his eyes toward it absently.
"I have been glancing into some of the rooms."
"Let's go to Coney Island, old sport, In my car."
"It's too late."
"Well, suppose we take a plunge in the swimming pool?"
"I haven't made use of it all summer."
A few days later, when Gatsby realizes his five-year dream of showing Daisy around his extraordinary home, everything seems to be as new and unfamiliar to him as it does to his guests:
"Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions in a dazed way, as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real. Once he nearly toppled down a flight of stairs."
In stark contrast to Gatsby's romantic idealism, Daisy and her husband, Tom Buchanan represent the vulgar, dissipated, and spiritually bereft world of a modern materialistic society. Daisy is outwardly charming but inwardly shallow. Her voice is seductive and "full of money" but never says anything of substance. Tom is strong, arrogant, and physically brutal, but is intellectually and morally weak. They and their friends drift through their empty lives in a listless vacuity, devoid of any ideals. When Nick first comes to their house, he finds Daisy and her friend Jordan Baker lounging on an enormous couch, from which they proceed "slenderly, languidly" to their rosy-colored porch:
"We ought to plan something" yawned Miss Baker, sitting down at the table as if she was getting into bed.
"All right," said Daisy. "What'll we plan?"
She turned to me helplessly: "What do people plan?"
Tom shatters the idle atmosphere of this particular scene by
seizing on Nick's casual comment about feeling uncivilized in their overwhelmingly
"Civilization's going to pieces" broke out Tom violently.
"I've gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things.
Have you read The Rise of the Colored Empires by the man Gaddard?"
After Nick's rather dismayed reaction to this outburst, Daisy offers her assessment:
"Tom's getting very profound," said Daisy, with an expression of unthoughtful sadness, "He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we -- "Well, these books are all scientific," insisted Tom, glancing at her impatiently. "This fellow has worked out the whole thing."
Of course, the whole discussion is anything but profound. It is indicative of the sense of suspicion and unease with which these people view the world around them, and their utter inability - or unwillingness - to penetrate that world with any real thought. In fact, their world is a wasteland, a barren place of burnt out desires and lost hopes.
The image of the wasteland permeates The Great Gatsby. It's starkest manifestation is the "valley of ashes" that lies about half way between West Egg Village and New York City. This is literally a huge ash heap, but it symbolizes what America has become. It is described as a "fantastic farm," but, instead of nourishing crops or livestock, this farm is where ashes "grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens." It is a barren burnt out place where ashes "take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-gray men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air."
Overlooking the valley of ashes are the gigantic eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, peering out from an old fading billboard that was set there years previously to advertise the practice of some Queens County oculist. The eyes "look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose." The oculist is long gone, but his eyes "brood on over the solemn dumping ground."
The wasteland theme echos the ideas developed by T.S. Eliot in his landmark poem "The Wasteland" published just three years prior to the publication of The Great Gatsby. T.S. Eliot, whose very name seems to be an inspiration for the name of T.J. Eckleburg, devoted his poem to the vision of a modern society whose rituals and ceremonies have become devoid of meaning. In "The Wasteland", mankind has lost touch with its spiritual self, and God is absent from the world.
Dr. T.J. Eckleburg is symbolic of T.S. Eliot's lost God of "The Wasteland." Dr. T.J. Eckleburg is the God of F. Scott Fitzgerald's wasteland. In the valley of ashes, God's presence has faded. God has become faceless and detached, brooding silently and indifferently over the futile lives of the ash-gray men who live there.
Jay Gatsby represents the original vital spirit that was America before the decay and ruin of the wasteland. He had a "resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American... He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand." There was an "eternal reassurance" in his smile. He had "an extraordinary gift for hope" and a "romantic readiness." All of these qualities are evocative of the pure virginal spirit and boundless promise of early America. This was the American that Nick reflects upon when he gazes across the bay and thinks of how this world appeared before all of these "inessential houses":
"I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes - a fresh green breast of the new world."
In the end, the wasteland has won out over the spiritual promise of this new world. The verdant breast of America has been overcome by the gray ashes of New York. Likewise, Gatsby's dream is crushed by the realities of the true Daisy when finally he catches up to her. The house goes dark, and Gatsby himself is shot dead by the confused and deranged husband of Tom Buchanan's mistress. And after the romantic ideal is snuffed out, the hardened and spiritless life of modern America stumbles on. Tom and Daisy just moved on - "careless people" who "mashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together." Nevertheless, in the end, we always have hope because there will always be Gatsby's among us. Those who believe in the promise of a future that "year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further .... And one fine morning -- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."