Oh, too be young again...

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I found a quote on page 93 of The Great Gatsby that involved age:

"There was a small picture of Gatsby, also in yachting costume, on the bureau - Gatsby with his head thrown back defiantly - taken apparently when he was about eighteen."

Upon reading these sentences, I immediately thought of the inexperience of youth compared to the wisdom of old age. Young people, particularly teenagers, are often accused of deeming themselves indestructable; unfortunately, many adolescants are guilty of this belief, which is evident in automobile crash statistics. Most wrecks are the result of young people driving too fast for conditions. Nick does not know Gatsby's age in the picture, but assumes he is about eighteen by his demeanor. Not until I read a passage in How to Read Literature like a Professer, however, did I take this realization one step further. On pages 66 and 67, Foster speaks on the topic of age: "the youthful exuberance that leads to self-destruction, the clash between sober, adult wisdom and adolescent recklessness..." While the majority of us grow out of the destructive phases of our youth, this does not hold true for Gatsby. Several times throughout the novel, Gatsby is compared to, or discreetly depicted as, a little boy. In fact, on page 88, Nick scolded Gatsby for acting so nervous around Daisy: "you're acting like a little boy," he erupted. Ultimately, I gathered from this comparison that Gatsby never did mature past the recklessness of his youth to gain the sobriety and wisdom that comes with age, a deficiency which ultimately led to self-destruction. 


I agree that Gatsby did not mature well
He was stuck in his past, his mind on Daisy and only her. He even wanted to quit everything he was doing to come home to her,
"...What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?" (see my entry on Chapter Seven for more of explanation.)
teenagers often skip school, or choose certain things that would be different if they did not have someone to share their lives with.

Rosalind Blair said:

I think that is a very valid. Gatsby does not seem mature. His lived his whole life based around a crush he had on a girl. To me, this seems very childish. He would do anything to be with her (such as buying a house that allowed him to see hers, to purhaps becoming involved in suspicious activities in order to live a life suitable for someone of her class). Perhaps Gatsby needed to realize what Nick did on page 186 "I'm thirty. I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor". Unfortunately Gatsby did not get the chance to ever grow up.

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