Monday, November 21, 2016

"The Inexhaustible Gatsby"

F. Scott Fitzgerald is known for his poetic prose, and for this reason, I am in love with his writing style. I have read The Great Gatsby a total of five times, and fall in love with it a little bit more every time I read it. The Great Gatsby specifically impacted my love for literature, and indirectly directed me when it came time for me to decide on my college major; analyzing it in my high school literature class made me realize that I possess a passion and talent for analyzing literature. For this reason, The Great Gatsby holds a special place within my heart.

Due to my love for this novel, I dedicated my first-ever electronic literature creation in tribute to Fitzgerald and his novel, and created "The Inexhaustible Gatsby." (Warning: It takes a minute or so to load)

"The Inexhaustible Gatsby" is a self-generating poem that (sort-of) randomly spews words from a list provided within the poem's coding. Every word within the poem can be found within Fitzgerald's novel, and manages to capture a vital theme of the novel in the process.

This "major theme" involves reality versus illusion. The parties, colors, money, and rich people within the novel act as illusions, masking the reality of the unhappiness and corruption occurring within the novel. These materialistic people and things end up hurting Nick and Gatsby, and the novel ends with Nick's (the narrator) illusions being broken, and a new understanding of reality.

After playing with the code for a while, I figured out the code's pattern to generating text. Once I figured the code out, I realized that if I put certain words in certain places, I can make it match a vital theme within Fitzgerald's novel.

The first noun in each line of the poem (not including the lines that only involve one noun, or the lines starting with a verb) starts with a noun the novel used in reference to, or quoted from, a corrupted character within the novel (like Tom or Daisy Buchanan). All but one verb within the poem has a negative connotation attached to it (hurt, harm, etc.), and is used within The Great Gatsby as well. The last noun within the each line is used in reference to Nick or Gatsby, who are being fooled by the corruption within the novel. That makes every stanza within the poem a match to the idea of "reality" of Fitzgerald's novel; all of these grotesque things are happening in reality., and the illusions are being broken.  However, The Great Gatsby wouldn't be The Great Gatsby without all the things that cloud the novel's reality.

After a stanza of self-generated poetry, the poem generates a line starting with a verb, and continuing with one or many adjectives. After working with the code, I made sure the verb always starts with "believe in" (because Gatsby "believed in the green light"), and used all beautiful adjectives with positive connotations attached to them. Every line that starts with the words "believe in" represents the illusions clouding reality with the novel.

This poem is actually the coolest thing I have ever created. Authorship goes to myself, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the code, and Nick Monfort (who created the code).

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