Gosh, I like Fitzgerald's writing. Here are a few more noteworthy passages that never made it on to last week's post. And you know what's refreshing? His backstories are brief and to-the-point. When a new character is introduced, we get a straightforward paragraph with some facts and flair to get a sense of personality, and that's it. No long and rambling irrelevant explanations about eevvrythiiing to do with said person. This first passage from page 215 should be used as a template for all authors - it's snappy and interesting and a delight to read.
They were formally introduced two days later, and his aunt told him her history. The Ramilly's were two: old Mr Ramilly and his granddaughter, Eleanor. She had lived in France with a restless mother whom Amory imagined to have been very much like his own, on whose death she had gone to Baltimore first to stay with a bachelor uncle, and there she insisted on being a debutante at the age of seventeen. She had a wild winter and arrived in the country in March, having quarreled frantically with all her Baltimore relatives, and shocked them into fiery protest. A rather fast crowd had come out, who drank cocktails in limousines and were promiscuously condescending and patronizing toward older people, and Eleanor with an esprit that hinted strongly of the boulevards, led many innocents still redolent of St Timothy's and Farmington, into paths of Bohemian naughtiness. When the story came to her uncle, a forgetful cavalier of a more hypocritical era, there was a scene, from which Eleanor emerged, subdued but rebellious and indignant, to seek haven with her grandfather who hovered in the country on the near side of senility. That's as far as her story went; she told the rest herself, but that was later. (pg215)
Now he realized the truth; that sacrifice was no purchase of freedom. It was like a great elective office, it was like an inheritance of power - to certain people at certain times an essential luxury, carrying with it not a guarantee but a responsibility, not a security but an infinite risk. It's very momentum might drag him down to ruin - the passing of the emotional wave that made it possible might leave the one who made it high and dry forever on an island of despair. (pg230)
Q. - What would be the test of corruption?
A. - Becoming really insincere - calling myself 'not such a bad fellow', thinking I regretted my lost youth when I only envy the delights of losing it. Youth is like having a big plate of candy. Sentimentalists think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they ate the candy. They don't. They just want the fun of eating it all over again. The matron doesn't want to repeat her girlhood - she wants to repeat her honeymoon. I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again. (pg240)