Favorite Scene Saturdays: an appearance by an American classic (and a favorite of mine.)

To change things up a bit, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite passages from The Great Gatsby. I’ve adored Fitzgerald’s poetic prose since I picked it up in college — and yearn for my prose to sing like his. Until then, I read and reread and hope that one day, I will acquire a pinch of his writing genius.

Enjoy FSF’s brilliant mind.

“He smiled understandingly–much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrate on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor, It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely that impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point it vanished–and I was looking at an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care.

Almost at the moment when Mr. Gatsby identified himself, a butler hurried toward him with the information that Chicago was calling him on the wire. He excused himself with a small bow that included each of us in turn.

‘If you want anything just ask for it, old sport,’ he urged me. ‘Excuse me. I will rejoin you later.’

When he was gone I turned immediately to Jordan–constrained to assure her of my surprise. I had expected that Mr. Gatsby would be a florid and corpulent person in his middle years.

‘Who is he?’ I demanded. ‘Do you know?’

‘He’s just a man named Gatsby.'”


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