Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Gatsby Passage

I'm asking my students to do this right now, so I'll play along and take it a step further by posting in public. The prompt: Write for 10 minutes on a passage in the book you're reading. Choose a passage that makes you feel something—an emotion, a memory, a pleasure in language, a frustration with the character. Respond to the passage on an emotional level, not an analytical level.

I'll write about The Great Gatsby, which fewer of my students chose than The Catcher in the Rye. The passage I've chosen is from the first chapter:

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had the familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." (4)

I know exactly what Nick means here. Or at least I have a sense of it. There's a time of year when everything seems to move incredibly quickly, the trees glow as if they're lit from within, and everywhere you look, things change and shift and blossom. The "fast movies" remind me of looking at my photos from the last year—in each album, the babies seem to grow exponentially, getting bigger and bigger and bigger and turning from little larval beings into the tiny people they've now become. Because I've spent so much of my life in academic environments, I always associate fall with beginning life over again. But perhaps now that I'm freer in the summer to watch things (people!) bloom and grow the summer will become my realm of endless possibility.

No comments: