This week in class, we began reading two novels: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. Not surprisingly both of them suck. No Im just kidding. Surprisingly, I should say, they aren’t actually that bad. The fact that we are reading them at the same time is slightly distracting but other than that the books themselves are not bad at all.
Or maybe they are bad, its just that I don’t care much for ranting anymore…Who knows. Anyway, on to the stories. The Great Gatsby follows protagonist Nick Carraway who also serves as the central narrator. Unlike other members of the upper class, Carraway informs us from the very beginning that he is a man who reserves judgments because others are not as fortunate as he. This however, we soon learn, is a lie. Nick constantly makes judgments about other characters allowing the reader to get some sort of emotional picture for them. For one, he describes Tom Buchanan, as an arrogant yet well-built man who relishes his “salad days” and wishes he were still playing professional football. It must be said though that Nick’s judgments are not far off the mark. Based on the dialogue, we see that Buchanan really is a fool and raging white supremacist as well.
The only thing I really don’t like about this book so far is that like all other “American classics” its plot consists of trivial, meaningless events, which fail to thread into a coherent story. I mean think about it, we’ve read about 60 pages or so and what has happened thus far. Nick has gone to Buchanan’s house, then to New York to a party with Buchanan, and now Gatsby’s party. That’s it.
As I Lay Dying is a confusing novel in its own right since its narrators consist of numerous random characters throughout the novel. That/s the problem with this book, there are so many characters its hard to keep track of whose who. The other thing that’s annoying is the fact that every character talks in their own stupid dialect making you want to shoot the author. It’s different though, ill concede that. Different enough to actually keep my attention for some amount of time. Unfortunately though, like The Great Gatsby, its plot is just boring. A pair of brothers are going to town to sell something for their neighbor while their mother is in her death bad along with the rest of the family. Why don’t any of these American classics have any action in them. Im not asking for much…just a few explosions or something like that. Seriously though, I don’t want to “think” I want to be entertained. Either way I’m not going to sit here and philosophically brood over the symbols and the motifs found in a trivial storyline because I don’t care. That’s the truth. I just don’t care at all. Maybe this is why books aren’t so popular anymore- because the so-called “good” books are just straight up boring. No one wants to read about how some upper-class guy with far too much time on his hands maneuvers through his over-privileged community. Most people just don’t care.