Huyen N. Nguyen

Book · The Great Gatsby: The glorious past is still the past

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I finished the book today. The journey was a mix of audiobook and ebook; I listened to the final chapters all the way to the grocery store, while shopping, and then all the way home. I gasped when Gatsby said to Tom’s face that Daisy didn’t love him.

The very last line of the novel:

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Immediately it reminded me of how Gatsby wanted to make things as they were five years ago. But he changed; the man had secrets he didn’t have five years ago. Daisy changed. She was no longer the girl who only loved Gatsby; now she loved Gatsby and her husband.

“I love him too. I can't say I'd never loved Tom.”

This time around, Gatsby was no longer right about whom Daisy loved. At Gastby’s funeral, not one word was from Daisy. The love of his life, the love that made him insist on staying in West Egg instead of running away after the accident because he didn’t want to leave her alone, didn’t give a damn about his death. How painful.

I don’t know if Daisy ever tells Tom that it was her who was behind the wheel. But I don’t think she would do a such thing; instead, she would enjoy her life the best way she knows how: on other people’s expense.

So, no, you can’t live in the past.