Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Das Racist

I don't normally agree with Lois Tyson, but she surprised me with this look at Gatsby. i had at first been skeptical of the theory, and didn't like the terms, but her application of the theory showed me a different story than the one that Fitzgerald's hand crafted oh so long ago. The main theme of her essay asking where Harlem was really opened my eyes. The Jazz Age in New York revolved around Harlem, but Fitzgerald omits all mention of it, even though, as Tyson points out, "it's the place that was famous for attracting white folks to its nightclubs in droves"(Tyson 396). Tyson points out that almost all of the characters in the story (excluding Mr. and Mrs. Wilson). And you would think Gatsby would be dying to go there, because "it was where they could be seen by the in crowd and drink bootlegged liquor"(Tyson 396). Gatsby was always trying to assume a higher social standing, and Harlem would have allowed him to achieve it (possibly). The blacks are fully removed from the story, except in instances where the high class white folks are being racist, such as Tom when he says "the dominant Nordic race is being threatened by the intermarriage...with persons of inferior races"(Gatsby 22). This reduction of the blacks and ignorance of the importance of Harlem a book that is decidedly Eurocentric. But the one thing that comes to mind is "Did Fitzgerald mean to omit it?"

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