cOlbert's Book Club - Jennifer Egan & "The Great Gatsby"

  • Aired:  05/09/13
  •  | Views: 32,941

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan helps Stephen smartificate on "The Great Gatsby." (5:15)

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Stephen: ...INTO THE PAST.

ALL RIGHT.

OKAY.

WELCOME, EVERYBODY.

NOW, I'M READY FOR THE

DISCUSSION, AND I HOPE ARE YOU,

TOO, BECAUSE WE ARE GOING TO

DIVE IN DEEP, GOOD FOR THE REAL

EGGHEAD STUFF.

I WILL BE ANALYZINGS METAPHORS

AND SIMILES LIKE THEY WERE

CANDY.

LAUGH AND DISCUSSING

FORESHADOWING AS IF MY LIFE

DEPENDED ON IT.

( LAUGHTER )

WHICH IT MAY.

( LAUGHTER )

AND HERE TO HELP ME

SMAR-TIFICATE IS THE

PULEETSER-PRIZE WINNING

OCTOBEROR OF "A VISIT FROM THE

GOON SQUAD" JENNIFER EGAN.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

WELCOME TO THE C-OH-LBERT BOOK

CLUB.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> Stephen: COULD I GET A

LITTLE CHARDONNAY?

>> WHY NOT.

>> Stephen: JENNIFER, WHY DO

YOU THINK "THE GREAT GATSBY"

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

THERE YOU GO.

WHY WOULD YOU SAY "THE GREAT

GATSBY" IS THE GREAT AMERICAN

NOVEL?

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO US?

>> I THINK IT CAPTURES SOMETHING

ABOUT THE AMERICAN PSYCHE THAT

MOST OF US WOULD RECOGNIZE,

WHICH IS A WILLINGNESS TO START

OVER, REINVENT OURSELVES,

IMAGINE A NEW LIFE, AND IN A

WAY, THAT DREAM IS A LOT OF WHAT

BUILT THIS COUNTRY.

>> Stephen: WHO WOULDN'T WANT

TO BE GATSBY, YOU KNOW?

>> EXACTLY.

>> Stephen: HE'S GOT IT ALL.

HE'S RICH.

HE'S FACE IN HIS OWN WAY.

HE'S GOT A HUGE HOUSE, AND

EVERYTHING WORKS OUT FOR HIM

UNTIL IT DOES NOT.

( LAUGHTER )

>> WELL, OF COURSE HE STARTS AS

SOMEONE ELSE AND HE CREATES ALL

OF THAT AS A WAY OF TRYING TO

THE LOVE OF A WOMAN HE COULD NOT

WIN WHEN HE WAS JUST A POOR

NOBODY.

THERE'S NO QUESTION IT DOESN'T

WORK POWER PLANT HE DOESN'T GET

THE GIRL AND HE GETS KILLED.

>> Stephen: WOULD IT HELP IF

HE HAD HAD A BIGGER HOUSE?

( LAUGHTER )

HERE'S WHAT I LIKED ABOUT HIM--

IS THAT HE REACHED FOR WHAT HE

WANTED.

AND DIDN'T LET ANYTHING GET IN

HIS WAY.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO THE GREEN

LIGHT.

WHAT-- WHAT IS THE YEAN LIGHT

THAT HE'S REACHING FOR?

>> WELL, THE GREEN LIGHT TO HIM

SYMBOLIZES DAISY BECAUSE IT'S

THE END OF HER PIER, AND HE HAS

BOUGHT A HOUSE DIRECTLY ACROSS

FROM THE PIER SO HE COULD LOOK

AT IT AND THINK ABOUT HER.

>> Stephen: IS THAT A

METAPHOR, ALLEGORY?

WHAT IS THAT?

STAY SYMBOL?

>> IT'S A VERY OVERT SYMBOL.

Q. OVERT SYMBOL.OF IS THERE.

>> IT'S A SYMBOL CALLED A SYMBOL

OF DAISY HERSELF.

THE INTERESTING THING IS WHEN HE

ACTUALLY FINALLY IS IN HER

PRESENCE AGAIN AND TELLS HER

HE'S BEEN WATCHING THE GREEN

LIGHT AND THINKING OF HER, NICK,

THE NARRATOR, PERCEIVED A LITTLE

DISAPPOINT INDEPENDENT IN GATSBY

BECAUSE SUDDENLY THE GREEN LIGHT

DOESN'T MOEB ANYTHING ANY MORE.

SHE'S RIGHT THERE AND FITZGERALD

WRITES HIS COUNT OF ENCHANTED

OBJECTS HAD DIMINISHED BY ONE.

IN A WAY, THE FANTASY ITSELF IS

THE THING.

>> Stephen: HE THREW PARTIES

TO IMPRESS HER, AND GOT RICH TO

IMPRESS HER AND GOT THE HOUSE TO

IMPRESS HER AND HE TELLS HER HIS

DREAM OF HER AND WHAT THE LIGHT

REPRESENTS AND THAT DOESN'T

REALLY IMPRESS HER.

AND LATER, SHE LEAVE HERSELF

HUSBAND FOR HIM, AND THEN SHE

HITS SOMEBODY WITH A CAR THAT

GATSBY, AND KILLS THE PERSON,

AND GATSBY COVERS FOR HER.

AND SHE STILL GOES BACK TO TOM

BUCHANAN, WHO IS A RACIST WHO

BEATS WOMEN.

COULDN'T YOU BOIL THIS BOOK DOWN

TO "BITCHES BE CRAZY"?

>>

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

SHE NOT NICE, EITHER.

SHE'S NOT NICE, EITHER.

>>UN, HE'S SHOOEZ NOT PERFECT

FOR SURE.

SHE'S LIMITED --

>> Stephen: SHE KILLS

SOMEONE.

>> BUT REMEMBER-- WELL, IT IS AN

ACCIDENT.

REMEMBER, THE FACT THAT DAYS

SECERTAINLY RICH AND MAYBE EVEN

A LITTLE SHALLOW IS WHAT DRAWS

GATSBY TO HER IN THE FIRST

PLACE.

>> Stephen: DO YOU THINK THAT

THIS BOOK IS WORTHY OF THE

ATTENTION IT GETS?

BECAUSE EVERY HIGH SCHOOL KID

HAS TO READ IT?

SHOULD WE BE FORCING THIS ON

CHILDREN?

( LAUGHTER )

>> YOU KNOW, IT HAS A LOT OF

QUALITIES THAT MAKE IT GREAT.

ONE OF THOSE QUALITIES I THINK

ALSO MAKES IT APPEALING AS A

HIGH SCHOOL BOOK IT IS SHORT.

>> YES.

I READ IT DURING THE COMMERCIAL

BREAK.

( LAUGHTER )

>> AND THE THING IS UPON IT'S

VERY COMPRESSED WHICH REALLY IS

THE JOB OF FICTION.

AND AS I SAID BEFORE I THINK HE

CAPTURES SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT

BEING AN AMERICAN IS-- THE

AMERICAN PSYCHE, IF YOULET,

WHICH HAS I THINK FROM THE VERY

BEGINNING HAS EVOLVED A

WILLINGNESS TO TURN ONE'S BACK

ON THE PAST AND TURN IT AROUND.

>> Stephen: IT'S THE

QUINTESSENTIAL AMERICAN THING TO

PRESENT YOURSELF TO THE WORLD AS

A FALSE IMAGE OF YOURSELF.

( LAUGHTER )

TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU BUT THEY

NEVER GET TO MEET THE REAL YOU.

I WISH I COULD DO THAT.

( LAUGHTER )

( APPLAUSE )

JENNIFER EGAN, THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR JOINING ME.

A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD,

JENNIFER EGAN, WE'LL BE

Loading...