30th October 2018

Significant Connections: Final

A rollercoaster ride for many is something that puts people on very opposite ends of the spectrum. As you wait in line you are either out of your mind with excitement, bursting to get on and experience the thrill of it all. Then there is others, others who are not a fan of being flung upside down and having their stomach being turned inside out. However something everyone once on the Rollercoaster will experience is a range of emotions. Fear as you head towards your death going down a steep drop, to sudden relief as the rides pulls you up at the last minute, saving you and now excitement as you now twist and turn being blindly lead. However the feeling of excitement which many want to hold will never last very long, due to the ride either losing your interest due to no more dramatic drops or the fact it was to short and you now have to get off. The feeling of excitement on the ride will never be attainable for long. Love too will leave many with the feelings of all these emotions, the ‘drops’ may be an argument or an underlying issue in the relationship. ‘The rise towards the top’ may represent the feeling of being unbeatable and the feeling that love can overcome everything, however like a rollercoaster love to will never be able to be obtained due to other factors present in life. F Scott Fitzgerald commonly writes about the unattainability of love. In the short stories The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, Winter dreams, The Great Gatsby and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (written or inspired by him) we see the exploration on why love being ‘unattainable.’

John T. Unger is just a 16 year old boy from Hades, Mississippi who by chance falls in love with the daughter of Braddock T Washington, owner of a diamond chateau that supposedly does not exist. The unattainability of love in this short story by F Scott Fitzgerald is presented through the love of John T. Unger and Kismine Washington. The relationship being explored is First love. First Love can be thought of like being a short roller coaster ride. An intense ride that is matched with a fast pace, emotions are extreme and the overall feeling is just pure Excitement. However they always end too quickly. For John and Kismine their relationship happened very fast and they blindly jumped into with only a few days passing and the idea of marriage was already being played with. The truth of their relationship was that it was never going to last and it would forever only be first love ‘short and sweet.’ John realises this fate of unattainability and says to Kismine let us love for a while, for a year or so, you and me. That’s a form of divine drunkenness that we can all try.” This quote shows how he has acknowledged the fate and is saying they can just ride out this love till it stops even if it is for a short while. “A form of drunkenness we can all try” refers to the feeling of just letting go and enjoying the moment and how first love is something everyone will experience and enjoy. Their love was unattainable for many reasons, not only was it first love but also society’s standards at the time did not allow for the crossover between social classes, even a force as strong as love had not been able to overcome this cruel and awful barrier. For John T Unger a boy from hades (A place described by Mrs Washington as a place “Either she had never heard of” or could “think of no pleasant comment to make upon it”) he could simply never be with a golden girl like Kismine Washington who lived in a diamond “as big as the ritz” and was apart of the upper social class. The upper class merely used the lower class citizens for the own happiness and enjoyment, either in the forms of slavery, friendships or even love. It is said in the short story that the washingtons invite people in to their home yet they will never leave due to the secret they must maintain. The quote “We can’t let such

an inevitable thing as death stand in the way of enjoying life while we have it.” shows how kismine believes that she must look past the deaths in order to achieve her happiness, She is willing to sacrifice other people’s lives for her enjoyment. She falls in love with John however she knows he will eventually have to die,  Their love is unattainable not because he will soon die but because her love is not what it may be for John, he is feeling true emotions however she will never fully give herself to him and is ultimately lying to him for her own satisfaction. Poor boys like John from hades, will simply never be able to attain the love of a literal golden girl like Kismine Washington from the diamond as big as the ritz.

Winter Dreams is about an ambitious young man named Dexter Green, he is a character whose aim is to be successful, and by this he wishes to make a lot of money and improve his social status. Then comes Judy jones, a highly prized woman whom many men want. Men constantly made comments about her like “My God, she’s good-looking!” and “she always looks as if she wanted to be kissed! Turning those big cow eyes on every calf in town!”  These show the desire men have for her, and the reference to the “big cow eyes on every calf in town” show that with just one look she has grasped every young man’s attention and unfortunately Dexter Green has fallen for her too. Judy’s love is a very ‘in the moment’ kind of love where she simply uses men and then dicards them, upon first meeting Dexter she says to him “There is a man waiting for me. When he drove up at the door I drove out of the dock because he says I’m his ideal.” Judy jones does not want to be “someone’s ideal” if she is loving someone it is on her terms and for her benefit and “was entertained only by the gratification of her desires” She gets her satisfaction from how she feels with her “desires.” Dexter was merely one of her ‘desires’ and as an upper class citizen and golden girl she can get away with what she pleases.

Upper class citizens were simply higher up than everyone else so therefore she could be seen to ‘using these men’ but never truly be with them as it would ruin her social status. (This in the 1920s being one of the most desirable attributes to have: High social class) She had treated him with interest, with encouragement, with malice, with indifference, with contempt.” This quote showing how she just used Dexter for his love and she would simply just play with his mind, not caring for him at all.

Society in earlier eras never allowed the love of people from different social classes to exist for long periods of time, this was heavily explored throughout many short stories by F Scott Fitzgerald. ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’ and  ‘Winter dreams’ explore this. In these short stories both male protagonists “fall in love” with this golden girl who are in a higher social class to them. Kismine Washington and Judy Jones are both highly prized women in the novels with Kismine being a direct descendant of George washington and the perfect daughter of Braddock Washington. She was the the human version of the pinnacle that was this diamond chateau in the mountains of Montana. To John she was “a girl who seemed to him the incarnation of physical perfection.” Judy jones too “was a great beauty” and was a woman many men pinned for the love of, however society would never allow these two foolish men from a lower class to forever be with the women of a higher class. Said by Judy jones “There was a man I cared about… he was poor as a church-mouse. He’d never even hinted it before. Does this sound horribly mundane?” she here describes how a man once confessed his poor backgrounds and her instant judgment was iminate, she could simply never be with a man like that and unfortunately her view was only to similar with the rest of society.  

The Great Gatsby explores a man named Jay Gatsby who is so in love with a woman named Daisy Buhcanon that it soon consumes his whole life. F Scott Fitzgerald explores this relationship while showing the underlying message that society’s standards will override any true emotions. Early on in Gatsby’s childhood he realized that if he wanted a successful and perfect life he had to be apart of the social society that belonged to the upper class, With in this he also realized he must fall in love with the right girl. The Right girl just happened to come along at age 17, a short summer romance before the war was enough to capture Gatsby’s interest. Gatsby returning from the war made it his mission to get back Daisy Buchanan. “We haven’t met for many years…it will be 5 years this november” And within 5 years a lot can happen, For gatsby it was his time to create the ideal world that belonged to the upper class and was enough for Daisy. He did not count this time as time in which life had kept moving he saw it as preparation time for Daisy. However time moves on and Daisy had not waited for Gatsby (now married to Tom Buchanan and with a child.) Finally winning Daisy back through a forbidden romance (an affair) Gatsby took his chance to show he the he had created for them, starting with his house. “He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes.” This explains how he wanted nothing but perfection, he was revaluing every item he owned just by the reaction she gave to it, he was forgetting the true value of the objects, whether it was his own sentimental value for it or the physical cost of it this was now all forgotten if it did not have any value to Daisy. He was simply revaluing his entire life for her. Love is a natural thing and no one should have to completely reinvent themselves in order to gain someone’s love, even if love did come from this it would never be attainable as the would have to keep this facade up their entire life and they would be forgoing their own happiness for someone else and that is not love. Gatsby will never have true success in his life if he is not happy and doing everything simply to gain the love for a woman who is seeing him under false pretenses.

As stated previously, Society played a massive role in making love unattainable. The ridiculous standards put upon these social classes making them believe that the must stay within these “classes” as it would never work out otherwise. These social classes made people in the middle or lower classes feel worthless in relationships with the upper class. It also put woman in the upper class on ‘pedestals’ they were shown off as being “The Golden girl” and this caught every mans attention. Daisy Buchanan was no exception to this and she was seen as a highly prized woman in society. Everything about her was seen as perfection “Her voice is full of money” and she would always leave an impressionable mark on the men she had been with before. “There was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget” Jay Gatsby was one of these men and like Dexter Green in winter dreams they both could never forget these women (Judy Jones & Daisy Buchanan) Society made the love of these two women unattainable due to there supposed supremacy that comes with social class. Dexter and Gatsby will never be worthy in terms of social status of these women, their love will only be a short lived affair.

The curious case of Benjamin Button is a work inspired by F Scott Fitzgerald and also portrays love as being unattainable, This piece uses the idea of time as a way to make unattainable. Benjamin Button was born into an old man’s body and ages backwards. He falls in love with a girl named Daisy, who unlike him ages normally. As they meet at a young age a friendship is formed and it is not until Daisy is of an age where she is romantically inclined to men that he realises his feelings for her are more than friendship. But at this tage in life she is merely in her 20/30s and he is an old man. Time at this stage is to far apart for their love to blossom. “You’re just the romantic age,” she continued–“fifty. Twenty-five is too wordly-wise; thirty is apt to be pale from overwork; forty is the age of long stories that take a whole cigar to tell; sixty is–oh, sixty is too near seventy; but fifty is the mellow age. I love fifty.” Time is continuing to move forward and now Benjamin is nearing the age of 50, and to his advantage this is the age that Daisy loves, “The romantic age” as she describes it. It is now that time is in their favour “I figured… you are born in 1918… 49 years ago… I’m 43… We are almost the same age. Meeting in the middle.” They are of similar age, They may love each other without any restrictions for the time being. However in the grand scheme of life this only a very short window of time to be together. Daisy says to Benjamin “I wanna remember us just as we are now.”  Time moves on and Daisy is aware of the fact that she will age older and Benjamin younger. Daisy getting older will turn her relationship with Benjamin into a more mother- son relationship as Benjamin will enter into his childhood years. This is an obvious barrier for their love as time will move, changing their relationship into something it was not originally.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Great Gatsby share a similar theme, in that in both relationships time is something they want to pause. They both wish time did not exist for a period of time. For Gatsby he wished the 5 years without Daisy had not happened as she had moved on with her life and he strived for perfection, meaning her 5 years with her husband Tom Buchanan had to have not existed. “Oh, you want too much!” —- “I love you now—isn’t that enough?” Daisy Buchanan loved him now but he would not except time had moved on and she can’t help what happened in the past. For Benjamin and daisy they also wanted time to stop as to enjoy the time the had together were for a short while they could be a ‘normal’ couple. “I was thinking how nothing lasts, and what a shame that is” Benjamin says this to Daisy during their time together and he is reflecting on the fact that time will move on and their love is simply unattainable for reasons they cant control.

This film takes on a slightly different approach to love being unattainable, as the characters in the previous short stories do not fully comprehend that their love will not last, Daisy in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ realises this during their relationship, making her cherish the experience more. It is almost the most meaningful relationship between the four novels as the two characters are supposedly “equal” to one another unlike the rest of the short stories where the women have always of a higher social status making the men not as “equal.”

Love is merely an unattainable feature in many people’s lives, however in the 1920’s described by F Scott Fitzgerald we see this as quite a common theme whether it’s society’s norms keeping them apart, the false pretenses of first love or the inevitability of time. Love in many of Fitzgerald’s short stories (and inspired film) always come to an end, whether its for the good or the bad somethings are just not made to work out. The works above written or inspired by F Scott Fitzgerald perfectly showcase this and it can show readers how outside factors are usually the one breaking love apart. Although all of these relationships were centered around the 1920’s america we can relate the issue of outside factors affecting  the attainability of love. Nowadays we see race, schooling, religion and even extreme political views keeping love apart. When in love it can arguably be one of the strongest forces, however F Scott Fitzgerald argued this point and proved it can be very submissive when it comes to outside factors.

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