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Susan Ito trying to do it all: reading writing mothering spousing daughtering working living

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Rearranging The Great Gatsby

People have asked to hear more about what Sam Chang said about the Great Gatsby in her lecture on "Unfolding." It was very interesting. First she said, "In order for there to be revelation, there must be concealment." She's done a lot of research and lecturing on TGG, and in her research, discovered the original manuscript that F Scott Fitzgerald sent to his editor Maxwell Perkins. And she found that lo and behold, the original novel had reversed the positions of what (in the published novel) is Chapters two and three.

It went like this: Originally, Chapter one begins with Nick's intro, who he is, and he ends looking out at the green light at Gatsby's house. Chapter Two, he goes to a party at Gatsby's house. Chapter Three, they go to NYC on a little adventure.

Well, in the published version that we all know, the trip to NY is in Chapter TWO and the Gatsby party is in Chapter THREE.

Why did he switch the chapters like that?

Well, as Sam explained, it added more suspense to introduce the Idea of Gatsby, but not actually MEET hiim until Chapter three. It adds more suspense and anticipation, and there is more impact of his actual meeting with that trip to NYC in between. It stretches things out.

This was also kind of an example of a diversion that may not be about the Main Thing, but actually adds to the intrigue of the Main Thing because it allows some distance.

This wasn't nearly as articulate as Samantha's lecture, but... hope it helped illuminate this little point. There's your little craft lecturette for the day!


Blogger Masha said...

I passed this on to a friend who loves TGG... thx much, Susan.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 4:28:00 AM


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