Matters of the Heart: The Great Gatsby and other Cogitation.

“No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
― F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby

It’s mid April, which means that it is less than a month until the highly anticipated film, The Great Gatsby, hits the big screen. The first time I read this book, I was a sophomore at Garland High School. I recently re-read my high school copy, which was rather intriguing, as it had all my annotations from my analysis paper I wrote. If there’s one thing I learned in high school, it was how to write an analysis essay. (Thank you International Baccalaureate program!) I enjoyed the book the first time around, but reading it for pleasure made me appreciate it even more.

Re-reading it, I noticed this eloquent quote regarding Mr. Gatsby:

“His brown, hardening body lived naturally through the half fierce, half lazy work of the bracing days. He knew women early and since they spoiled him he became contemptuous of them, of young virgins because they were ignorant, of the others because they were hysterical about things which in his overwhelming self-absorption he took for granted.

But his heart was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the washstand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangles clothes upon the floor, Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination  they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing.”

If those paragraphs were food, they’d be a three course meal. Fitzgerald always has a way of making me want to drink in his words.

For those of you who have never read the Great Gatsby, pick up a copy; it’s an easy and enjoyable read. Gatsby is a man who has it all. Well, on the outside he has it all. It’s funny how Fitzgerald refers to Gatsby’s heart as being in a “constant and turbulent riot”, because most people of today’s world have that same issue.

You hear everyone say phrases like “go where your heart takes you”, “what does your heart say?”, “follow your heart”, but God doesn’t say that.

Look at Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

or Mark 7:21-23 “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

or even Ecclesiastes 9:3 “This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.”

Proverbs 27:19

Point being, don’t trust your heart, trust God. The heart will lead you astray, God will not. The heart is often connected to human dreams and desires, which at the end of the day are nothing in comparison to God’s plan for us. Gatsby let his heart grow wicked and sick and focused on worldly gain that eventually caused his demise. His body may have died, but his soul was dead long before he was killed.  (oops. sorry if you haven’t read the book…). Focus your mind and thoughts on heaven and you’ll keep on living even after you die.

“All I kept thinking about, over and over, was ‘You can’t live forever; you can’t live forever.”
― F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby

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