Friday, April 8, 2011

The Great Gatsby in 3D

So finally, The Great Gatsby will be adapted, again, into a movie. As a literary nerd, I'm sure everyone's expecting me to be excited for it, and I would be, if I particularly liked the book. As a feminist, the book just strikes me as another rich white man writing a book that ignores anyone not white (rich, able, straight, etc.) and then vilifies women, because really, how dare Daisy spur Jay on for so long and then, once she does return his affections, how dare she cheat on Tom?
My other annoyance is that this novel is being adapted over other novels. The Great Gatsby was published in 1925. That same year, writers like Willa Cather, Dorothy Scarsborough, Sigrid Undset, Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, and Gertrude Stein were publishing novels, and their works are so frequently ignored by the general public. (Academics still read some of these writers, but are mostly ignored by the general public. Most Americans have heard of The Great Gatsby; how many have heard of The Professor's House?) Moreover, there are other great writers from the same time period who were writing about the forgotten or were part of marginalized groups, like Kafka or Proust. Once again, a story of someone with immense privilege is given way more attention than the stories that in many ways deal with the lives of more than just a small few.

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