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The Great Gatsby: An Interior, Alternative Reading Monologue by Jay
[FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF JAY GATSBY (p. 141): Daisy has just left Jay's house after having tea. Jay, after briefly telling Nick about his first meeting with Daisy, begins to cast his mind back on the initial encounter and subsequent journey with Daisy, five years ago. Italicised text represents the present time]
There she goes, walking up the driveway, the gravel crunching beneath her delicate feet. She doesn't love you Jay, she hasn't for a very long time. She never will again. Why are you even bothering with her now? Make her suffer like you did. I'd suffered from the very first moment I'd met Miss Daisy Fay...
The purring of the black, pristine Duesenberg as we drove down Little George Street is a sound I will never forget. A couple of fellow officers I knew had 'borrowed' the Captain's motorcar, being a First Lieutenant made me the ranking officer and thus face the majority of the discipline if caught. I vividly remember ducking at every street corner.
I had never met a 'nice' girl before, and I was told that this was something of an occasion, considering who it was that I was supposed to be meeting. My fellow officers from Camp Taylor told me it was the enchanting Daisy Fay. Daisy... Daisy... Just like the flower, swaying idly, simple, yet beautiful. Simple... well... not then. As Will stopped the automobile outside the sprawling off-white palace of a house, I saw the golden, sensitive and subdued legs, slowly swinging in the sultry spring evening. Moths circled the hanging lantern in the twilight, and she seemed to have the same effect, drawing me towards her. This ethereal girl of eighteen summers seemed to float as she lazily stood up out of the porch swing and spoke, with a delicate, almost lyrical tone. I cannot remember what she said; her voice like a siren song, fixated me upon her wide, open eyes that seemed fathomless in their depth. I jumped out of my
seat and rushed around the car to grab the door for her, catching my foot on the tyre and stumbling in my haste. As I regained my balance I looked up and saw Daisy's petite mouth curved in a bemused smile. The faint scent of lilacs filled the air as her two girlfriends climbed into the vehicle and, her long, mahogany hair swayed and seemed to dance in the breath of the sky as she walked towards the vehicle and into my life.
What was I doing? Why did I have faith in her? It must have been misplaced this whole time. My quest for Daisy, my spiritual quest is in itself the reason for its failure, because my goal is nothing more than Daisy Buchanan. Not Daisy Fay. Daisy Buchanan. Daisy Fay is gone.
Our destination was "Joey's", a popular speakeasy on the outskirts of town. In the heat of the approaching summer the haze of smoke was hanging above the heads of the sweating dancers. As I sat at the bar, slowly puffing on my cigarette, the lustre of the kerosene lamps illuminated the pearls on Daisy's embroidered black heels, as she walked towards me. The world around her seemed to lose colour and slow down, and with effortless steps a sly smile slowly found its way onto her face and as she arrived right in front of me, she offered her silk-gloved hand. Immediately transfixed by this gesture I put my hand in hers. She slowly turned around and led me, with her hand over her shoulder and me rather awkwardly stumbling behind, to the centre of the room. Although always athletic and quite agile, I seemed lead footed and like a draft horse compared to the hummingbird that was Daisy Fay. We talked as we swayed and in an effort to impress her, I began to weave a web of lies, creating a persona of the rich, successful Jay Gatsby that she wanted me to be. I became old money. I owned a string of European holiday houses and had an empire of drug stores and I had only joined the army because I wanted a change of scenery and to do something different. The more I crafted the background and persona of Gatsby, the more I started to believe it myself and I knew that if it would take this wealth to win Daisy, I would make it happen.
By changing my name, by creating this character of Gatsby, I was trying to become some sort of God, with Daisy as my Holy Grail. But I will never be able to claim the ultimate prize because Daisy was not in her room last night; I spent the entire night watching it and not once was there any sign of life. Is my dream over something non-existent? Where is the Daisy that I fell in love with? Does she exist anymore? As much as I would like it, it seems the past cannot be repeated in the real world.
We seemed to talk forever while we danced, with the new popular song "I'm Falling In Love With Someone" playing on the phonograph. As we started to waltz our eyes met and I quickly averted me eyes, slightly embarrassed, I looked down and saw her taffeta dress moving effortlessly, ribbon-like in its fluidity. She leaned over to me and breathed "Jay, kiss me." I did. I have never had another moment in my life where I felt so much elation or ecstasy. Our two souls, two bodies, became one, and it is at this moment that I knew I was going to marry Daisy. She whispered into my ear "I want this moment to last forever, promise you'll never go."
It was a raw and austere autumn day when I left her standing in the middle of the road. As the khaki TJ lorry rattled and groaned to change gears, I remember looking back. Her perfect pale complexion, framed with dark curls and centred by deep red lipstick, was tainted only by a lone tear, which seemed to carve a chasm through her face... a chasm between us at that moment... a chasm between us now. As the TJ turned the corner I strained my eyes, I am sure I remember her mouthing the words "I'll wait for you"...
I was in the trenches of Sant-Quentin, France and I was still recovering from witnessing the men, or rather boys, who had just gone over the top only to be vaporised from a Hun shell seconds later, when word got round that the mail was coming. I was considered to be 'lucky' in my battalion, as I was one of few who had not received their 1000-yard stare from the constant bombardment. When I read the
letter from Daisy that luck ended. All the words on the page seemed blurred except for "invited to attend the wedding of Daisy Fay and Tom Buchanan".
The next time I saw Daisy she had changed. I could see and feel it. When she spoke, her voice seemed full of money, not a sweet soprano. Her eyes, which you could get lost in, had glazed over. Her mind, which was once so sharp and innocent, had been violated with materialism. Her husband had done this.
Now, in the middle of a bitter winter, I finally realise the truth that has been staring back at me so long. The 'Valley of Ashes' knows no bounds, indeed this wasteland is an inhospitable and unrelenting land in which there is no hope for the future, only an ash heap of society, where all morals have vanished and only superficiality and materialism remains, corrupting culture, hope and dreams. Corrupting me. Corrupting Daisy. Corrupting America.
Daisy Fay is dead; someone else now inhabits her body. The green light that I have watched and yearned for so long is now just a light at the end of a dock. Nothing more.