Other · Short Stories

LangLit Written Task

((So I planned on starting a bullet journal tonight, but instead of a clean journal, all I managed to find was a fully printed draft of my IBHL Language & Literature Written Task from high school. I thought it was kind of neat, and it’s pretty short, so I thought I would share it here.

The paper is a series of journal entries from the perspective of George Wilson from The Great Gatsby, and I am aware that given the character’s given level of education might not include the ability to write with perfect grammar. However, this was still a school assignment, so I had to take some liberties with it. It may not make sense unless you are familiar with the story of the novel, but I hope it is interesting all the same.))

Sunday, July 2, 1922
Mr. Buchanan still hasn’t brought over that car of his. Don’t know what’s taking that man of his so long, but I just wish he’d hurry on straight. I need that car. Business hasn’t been good lately, and Myrtle’s restless, I can tell. She’s gone to visit her sister more and more nowadays, leaving this dying valley for bigger and better cities. Sometimes I think I should go with her. Most times I think, what’s the point?

I’m tired.

I’m no dewdropper, God — I make an honest living, work hard for the things I got, but I can’t even keep them. I find myself thinking, God, what if I were rich? What if I had got what Mr. Buchanan got, with wealth to spare, and could buy cars instead of repairing them? My wife came from money. That’s why she’s alive. Even now, I can feel the difference between the two of us. I don’t got nothing compared to her.

I remember a time she was still stuck on me, as much as I was on her. god, I loved her with all my heart and here I thought we could make something of it. I should have known that fellas like me would end up like this.

If I had money, maybe I could have been great too.
Monday, July 3, 1922
Myrtle’s come back with a broken nose last night — won’t tell me nothing about what happened. Something’s happened with her sister, she said, and what else is there to say? She’s all holed on up in our room, crying and screaming.

Something about daisies.

God help her, I hope she’s alright, I really do. She didn’t do no wrong, I’m sure. Don’t know why you go putting the consequences on us, God, when you’re watching. We make an honest life, don’t we? I can feel your eyes watching me, and sometimes my hands tremble at the thought of it. When I look outside, I can see that old advertisement with the eyes and the glasses.

Looking through those gold frames, those giant owling eyes reflect some distant blue sky. The sky around here’s always dead grey.

I reckon it used to be blue some point, before the ashes settled in. My eyes used to be blue too. Maybe they still would be, God, if you granted me some gold glasses to look through. But I’ve breathed these ashes too long. They suck the color right out of you, they do. Don’t know nothing about the science of it, but I’ve seen it happen.

I watched the red drain from my skin and the blond from my hair and the ashes built up inside my lungs ’til they packed in all the way up to my head. I’ve seen the ashes cloud my eyes. Now, God, when I look in the mirror or in the shiny hood of some newly repaired breezer I’m lucky to even touch, I don’t see George Wilson anymore. Now, when I look, I see a ghost of a man.

And sometimes, God, I think to myself, George Wilson’s been long-dead.
August 1922

By God, she was lying to me! All this time, she’s been lying! I don’t know no specifics, but by God, I’m going to find out — my father told me this would happen. He told me, “George, if you carry on like this, you’ll be left holding the bag someday,” but of course I don’t listen. Too trusting, that fella, too trusting, George!

I thought something was funny, turned it over in my head so long I couldn’t find time to write, but now I know.

A dog leash. I don’t know nothing about no dog, but she had it there. It’s a mighty keen leash too, good leather twisted with silver. I’ve never touched nothing so fine, so I know I didn’t buy it for her. She couldn’t have either, not with our business like this, I know it — I know it’s something funny from the way she talks. She won’t be level with me. I know she got it from that man, and God, I know you do too. She can fool me, but she can’t fool you!

You’ve been watching, I’m sure. I can feel those great blue eyes on me. It’ll do us no good to stay around here. I’ve thought it a while now, but now I’m down right resolved. She’s been lying to me, had a life apart from me. I thought she…

I don’t think I can write no more. This book’s a right mess with scribbles now.

We’re leaving this wretched valley and its ash, I’m done with it. I don’t know what’s going on, but I won’t be left holding the bag for something that’s not my fault — I won’t stand for it. And I don’t need buchanan’s old bus either.

God, you know I’m an honest man. I know you’ll see me through.


August 1922
She’s gone. My wife is gone. It’s my fault. It’s all my fault, I’m the one who locked her up, the one who sent her screaming out the door, and I saw it happen with my own two eyes — heard it with my own ears. I can still hear that engine. Mighty fine engine. Didn’t need no work from me. That yellow car sped right on by and took her away.

No… God, you took her away.

Why?

Why do I got to live my life like this, God?

Why am I stuck in this grey world while you get to stare down at me with that color blooming in your eyes? Everything some men touch turn to gold. Everything I touch turns to dust. The car that Myrtle went after was gold too.

The car that took her away was gold too.

Rationale

As Part 4 of my Language & Literature course at Higher Level, I studied The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and was inspired to write diary entries as George Wilson. My interest in this character is from his role as the title character’s murderer. Upon examining the text, I found that the story leaves clues of Wilson’s descent into paranoia, ultimately leading to Gatsby’s murder, yet Fitzgerald never delves far into the mind of the character itself. Curious, I made it my goal to analyze the thoughts and motivations behind the actions of George Wilson.

As a diary is a collection of private thoughts, it was my opinion that this text type would best allow me to examine Wilson’s mind and his progression into paranoia. In the novel, Fitzgerald repeatedly likens Wilson to a phantom, with none of the vitality his wife possesses. However, he is still human, and I attempt to draw out those human aspects by reflecting his impoverished lifestyle and bleak outlook on life through my writing. To emulate a diary, I attempted to include more personal sentiments and rhetorical questions. Wilson is the only character from the novel to notably reference God, so to emulate how his circumstances drive him to believe in a higher power, many of these rhetorical questions are posed to God.

In order to bring Wilson to life, I examined the text carefully for any clues regarding the dates of key events as well as the patterns of Wilson’s speech. I included aspects of his characterization, such as colloquialisms from the Twenties and his repeated use of double-negatives, in order to give the diary entries an element of authenticity. I especially took note of how Fitzgerald relates him to the Valley of Ashes and how the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg affected him.

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