“Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. HIs count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925
My oldest daughter, Rachel, showed me a quote that she had copied into her journal in high school from The Great Gatsby. “I just loved the way he created that scene of the grass bounding.” After some musty searching, I unearthed one of my long forgotten college journals with the exact same quote. What I find amazing is that they were the same lines that stood out to us in a book that is full of great lines. Hemingway gets a lot of credit – and he should- for paring language down to its essence in creating scenes and characters. But Fitzgerald hones it to perfection in this book. Line by line, this book is a marvel. The green light seems maybe a little too obvious to paint. But the swirling feeling of reality and emotion seemed like such a Van Gogh type of painting that I couldn’t resist. It won out over another scene that has always stayed with me – the stout man with owl-eyed spectacles in the library. Drunk for days, staring at the books, “They’re real,” he tells Nick in disbelief.