Gatsby’s Car and the American Dream

The Great Gatsby and the Car

If the Fast and Furious franchise has taught us anything, it is that cars are closely linked to the American Dream. It should be no surprise that The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a novel considered a seminal text of the American Dream, features a car as both plot device and symbol.

Gatby’s car, introduced when Gatsby’s takes Nick to lunch, represents his status and can be understood as a of Gatsby’s character.

 “It was a rich cream color, bright and there in it’s monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns.” (pg.33)

 The bright colour of the car and reference to the mirrored suns reflects Gatsby’s wealth as well as an attempt to draw the attention of Daisy. The metaphorical reference to it’s “monstrous length” provide an over-exaggerated depiction of Gatsby and his wealth. The listing of various boxes that have been attached provide a sense of the added adornments that pus the car, and by implication Gatsby, beyond the more established wealth of East Egg and Tom and Daisy.

 

The contrast between Gatsby and Tom and proximity of their characters is presented through the pivotal Plaza Hotel chapter when they swap cars, facilitating the first tragedy of the novel (it is arguable there are many tragedies in The Great Gatsby, the first irrevocable tragedy is the death of Myrtle). Tom’s brief stop at Wilson’s garage while driving Gatsby’s car sets the stage for Myrtle running out into the street and in front of the speeding car after the traumatic events at the Plaza Hotel. By running out into the street, Myrtle is actively chasing her dream of Tom and wealth. Her death presents a dramatic reminder of the fatal consequences of chasing a dream.

 During their brief stay at the Plaza Hotel, both Gatsby and Daisy are forced to confront the reality of each other. Gatsby faces the obstacle of Daisy’s love for Tom that cannot be quickly swept away. Daisy realises that Tom and Gatsby are more similar than she might have imaged, diminishing the dreamlike status of Gatsby. After Tom has triumphed over Gatsby and regained his wife, it is significant that he says:

 “You two start on home, Daisy,” said Tom. “In Mr. Gatsby’s car.” (126)

 Tom is clearly confident in his victory over Gatsby and nothing to feel from the man, trusting that even though Daisy will ride in the Gatsby’s monstrous car, it will not be sufficient enough to provide Gatsby with any measure of success. When Gatsby’s car become the “death car” (128) after leaving the Plaza Hotel, it is not just Myrtle who is killed, Daisy and Gatsby’s dreams have also died.

 Let us forget for a moment the ridiculousness of Daisy wanting to drive so she could steady her nerves. Gatsby tells Nick, “when we left New York she was very nervous and she thought it would steady her to drive” (133). Instead, the death of Myrtle is a symbolic retaliation of Daisy on Tom for his cruel destruction of her dream. Unfortunately, Myrtle’s tragedy begins a reaction that ultimately kills Wilson and Gatsby utilising the car as a means to (incorrectly) identifying the murderer.

 Oh yes, and here is a Fast and Furious trailer for good measure.

 

 

 

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Say it ain’t so, another Suicide Squad trailer 

Say it ain’t so, another Suicide Squad trailer 

We are days away from the release of Suicide Squad and what do we get? Another trailer.

Suicide Squad, another trailer…
An obvious advertising ploy given the Comic Con schedule. Maybe a little redundant because of all the other trailers.

The movie does look like it’s going to be good, even though there doesn’t seem much footage that hasn’t already been in the trailers. I don’t think I have the patience, but I wonder how much of the film could be created from the trailers. 

I am also curious whether there will be a post film trailer. 

You’ve never heard of a secret council…

Gotham is chugging along with increasingly reliable stories. The first season finale of Gotham left us with a second season that ramped up the drama and drew much more specifically on the stories that make Batman great.

Threatening Bruce Wayne’s life over and over again does seem pretty redundant. They can mess with teh characters, but an element of dramatic irony means nothing really terrible is going to happen to Bruce, beyond the whole mum and dad getting killed.

There is good use of familar Batman characters and enough new ones to keep it interesting.

All generally positive reviews aside, my favourite and most memorable moment in all episodes is when Hugo Strange says to a drugged Jim Gordon, “You’ve never heard of a secret council.”

Pure classic.

 

12 Monkeys: Is change possible through time travel?

12_Monkeys_Intertitle12 Monkeys is running through a pretty solid second season. The show might not have Terry Gilliam’s aesthetic, Bruce Willis’ confused gruffness or Brad Pitt’s all too convincing insanity, but it is providing consistently gripping narratives and a whole host of insights into the characters.

 In an effective development on the original plot, the virus that drove the first season and the original movie has been defeated and yet the future still looks bleak. The ability to navigate the thin line of consistency and change is one of the show’s strengths.

The post-apocalyptic world is crucial to the narrative, but to suggest that time travel changes nothing undermines the whole narrative. Balancing the two produces those mind-squeezing moments when you think you know how time travel works and then it slips away.

The show has included a number of excellent moments of the future defining the past. As the Traveller, Ramse defined Cole’s actions for the whole first season and still gave us a redemptive moment when Cole and Ramse were reunited. The existence of the Witness as a time travelling manipulator with the objective of collapsing all time, is a threat who seems to be connected to an irreversible existence of time alongside changes that define the problems encountered by the opposition to the Army of the 12 Monkeys.

The ability of the show to throw up questions of indirect causality is one of its higher-function achievements.

When Cole and then Ramse and then Cassie travel back in time, do they merely enact what has already happened or what was already going to happen or do they merely support the events that have already happened because they went back in time?

The most recent moment was when Cole and Charlie saved Victoria Mason from Slade, the serial killing primary in episode 6 Immortal. Do we think a little Mason is going to appear as a significant figure in the army of the 12 Monkeys?

However, episode 8 Lullaby creates a time loop experienced by Jennifer Goines (thanks for the Groundhog Day reference, Jennifer’s 80s film references are great. The future intention to kill Jones and stop time travel creates a problem with Cole and Cassie repeating the same day until they are able to change the day while keeping it the same. They leave Jones thinking her daughter is dead while saving her daughter and leaving her in the care of Jennifer. In the future, Jones is reunited with her daughter. The actor who plays Jones’ daughter interesting appeared in a previous episode. Beyond the question whether the writers already preparing for this eventual plot line is the real question about time travel driving the show, had the change already taken place? Was Hanna always alive or was Jones and Cole experiencing a timeline without Hanna until Cole and Cassie return to save her?

Maintaining this balance between time travel change and consistency is what is making 12 Monkeys compulsive watching. How long can 12 Monkeys keep up the balance between change and the irreversible nature of time? Hopefully long enough to show us the identity of the Witness. Then who knows what the future holds…

 

Has Suicide Squad had a trailer?

It’s the start of June, summer feels like it’ really getting started. We’ve booked the holiday, department stores are starting to put swimsuits on sale and grocery stores are selling beers pre-mixed with lime. I’m thinking to myself what do I really need? Another Suicide Squad trailer? No, not really.

And yet here is the new trailer.

So, this one has all the parts we’ve already seen in the other trailer, except Batman makes a cameo . And really, doesn’t that make all the difference? While the Batman footage doesn’t look completely different from the fan film shot during production, there is yet more on this mysterious enemy they are fighting.

The Joker is clearly on the guest list, but might not be the big bad enemy. The Joker is too valuable to waste on the first film. Jared might be looking like a good bit of franchise work.

Instead, the villain for the Suicide Squad movie looks to be legion in numbers and probably supernatural. In an interview, David Ayer hinted at the villain saying the Squad faced a dangerous and unknown force. Clips suggest supernatural, which is convenient if you want an opportunity for a bunch of bad guys to cause destruction.

The Suicide Squad might not be as good as Deadpool, but we are looking forward its arrival on August 5. That should give enough time for another trailer, right?

 

Free Comic Book day

The first Saturday of May is upon us, bringing with it the annual Free Comic Book Day.

Not exactly a national holiday and not like many of the other made up days where we are encouraged to buy products to celebrate someone else’s made up day. Free Comic Book Day is everything it suggests. A day when there are free comic books available.

And all you need to do is turn up to a comic book shop. Simple. There are a selection of free comic books. A selection of free stories, well worth a trip.

Check out the selection.

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RIP Prince

Prince died toady.

People will commiserate with hashtags. Facebook will be aglow with tributes. Memes will explode in sympathy.

But when all is swept aside, the music remains. We can say it’s probably what he wanted, but I am pretty sure he would have rather lived. It doesn’t matter. We have the music and it will remain.

We might have seen him in concert or followed him in the media, when all is considered, the music was what we had to begin with and what we have now.

He left us with so much. His was a talent above almost all others and we should be thankful.

1958 -2016

Listen for him.

prince