“If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the “creative temperament” – it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
I had a frightening realization the other day, as my husband was driving us back from Boston. Frightening in that it was one of those moments when the whole life you’ve built for yourself comes under keen and brutal question, and shifts irrevocably. Since reading ‘The Great Gatsby’ in 1994, I’d always felt a rather obvious affinity to the titular character himself. He had style, he threw grand parties, and he was a die-hard romantic to his disillusioned end. But what if, after all these years, I wasn’t Jay Gatsby, but Daisy Buchanan? The thought pierced my head – immediately dire and dreadful in the way that it could only be true – and then comforting and resigned, for there could be no other way… and the story had, then, already been written.
It was in something that Carey Mulligan (who plays Ms. Buchanan in the new Baz Luhrman film adaptation) said in an interview for her ‘Vogue’ cover story, describing Daisy: “The Gatsby thing is a wonderful escapade, but it is an escapade. It’s not real life. She’s smart enough to know when to come home.”
Smart, yes. But a little – and sometimes a lot – sad, too.