J.S. Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring
I had problems uploading these so they're not placed how I would like. The top is me placing a stone on top of Oskar Schindler's grave. That is how people in Israel honor their dead.
The second is the excavated site of the city of Capernaum. And the bottom is part of the wall of Old Jerusalem.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is considered one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. It is arguably the best novel Fitzgerald wrote and certainly deserves its place as one of the sterling examples of the Jazz Age.
The story is told through the eyes of a man named Nick. He lives in Long Island next to the property of someone named Gatsby. It takes him a while but slowly he gets to know his neighbor.
The development of Gatsby is about as perfectly drawn as any character I've ever read about. At first he is mysterious. Who is he? Is he really an Oxford man as he repeatedly claims? How did he get so rich? Why is he here?
All sorts of artsy, intellectual, fashionable, and pretentious people populate his house. It seems he continually hosts parties.
As time goes on, Nick realizes that Gatsby has one goal. To meet a woman he fell in love with years ago when he was in the army, but who married someone else. Everything Gatsby is doing is driving him to this goal. He has envisioned the perfect strategy. He will woo this woman back.
Daisy is your typical beautiful, vapid Fitzgerald dream girl.
A lot of the conversation in this book is devoted to showing just how inane certain types of people's conversation is. Daisy is inane and shallow and vain. But Gatsby is obsessed with her.
Daisy encourages Gatsby. She's impressed by his wealth, by his attentions.
But sadly, she's too shallow. Even though her husband is cheating on her, she is too inert to change anything. She enjoys drifting.
Also, I think that, as much as Daisy is capable of loving, she truly loves her husband.
This story is one of tragedy. Gatsby created a legend of himself and a reality based on artificial construction.
Everything about him is artificial. His wealth, his background, his friends. Especially his friends. I won't give away the ending except to say that when it really mattered, Gatsby had absolutely no friends. They all dissolved like the shapeless, formless, people they really were.
I think it is effective that Fitzgerald narrates this story with an objective third party. I think this is the only story I've read of his that does that. It allows us to see the characters clearly, including that of Nick and his own role in the farce.
The story concludes appropriately: with an ironic twist. No doubt expressing the author's view of his own life.
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