Monday, January 28, 2013

The Great Gatsby (Interest Driven Learning)

I never read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald because it was not assigned reading in my public school or at college. I planned for my sons to read it in our homeschool since it's a classic.

Last month at the library's small used book shop I spied a used copy of the book for a buck so picked it up. Then my husband mentioned it was his favorite assigned reading in all of school and college. While going to see Les Miserables as a family they showed the movie trailer and my fifteen year old whispered, "Can I read that book now? The book is always better than the movie so I want to read it first." Given all that we've been through lately and his rebellion and resistance I nearly wept to hear that.

The book was handed over but my son still is not reading a lot. Given our current many hours in the car for medical appointments schedule I checked the audio book out from the library and we are listening to it together.

We're on chapter eight tonight (of nine) and we are rivoted. The only thing I'd heard of this book from (Christian) homeschoolers was it is a corrupt book that is horrible. Speaking of the writing I am enthralled with Fitzgerald's ability to write with such detailed descriptions so as to evoke the scene completely as well as his ability to describe people, culture, and attitudes regarding social standing and ways of life of that era in time.

This afternoon my son said that he felt that The Great Gatsby was "a good certain kind of story similar to To Kill a Mockingbird". I asked if he meant the two novels were somehow connected and he said, no, just a high quality of writing. (That's why it was elevated to be called literature!) Oh Praise God, he is starting to get it. I was starting to think all hope was lost...just two months ago he was ranting that literature is BS and all sucks.

Tonight I believe we're already in the denouement and we crave to know how it will all wrap up. We watched the trailer and both of us came to the conclusion that while we were drawn in by the movie trailer we worry that it will overly focus on the glamour and played up the party scene and show an excess of wealth that goes beyond the book's description, as well as vamping up the sex at the risk of losing the true personalities and the overall message of the issues regarding old money and new money on Long Island. Now I need to say I don't have a sheltered nerd weird kid (I am sorry if this offends you to hear me talk about some kids like that but...) to hear him say this about loving the story in the book and how Hollywood changes it was just unbelievable. We will have to wait until May 2013 to find out though, what Hollywood has done to this classic. Let's hope the real message comes through.

And by the way you can appreciate a story and see the corruption and sin and which is the entire point, to be revolted, without calling the classic novel something negative.

We both love the remake of "Happy Together" done by Filter, (originally by The Turtles). After hearing this new version I had my son play the original and he thinks it's too sappy. I knew the original song from my teen years when I went through a 50s & 60s oldies phase and like that too. But the new version is powerful and shows passionate love, a hunger, and anger, all appropriate to the story.

Original by The Turtles

The cool music into to the trailer is the official theme song "No Church in the Wild" by Kanye West and Jay Z but when you hear the original you get also the vocal tracks which are hip hop which does not interest that son and I at all.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I saw the preview, too, and thought it over the top in terms of sensuality. I like the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow version.

Deborah said...

None of us has read that...must check it out.