Friday, November 11, 2016

Resonant Last Lines . . .

As readers know, I've recently been posting on books I'd recommend, and I'll continue that series soon, but I'd first like to point to a category of books that I don't necessarily recommend (nor necessarily veto), but which end on a profound note, for instance, the last line of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby:
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
Those words touch me deeply now in a way they couldn't back when I was merely twenty years old and read Fitzgerald's novel for the first time. As we grow older, we come to terms with something that I think Malcolm Pollack said:
"There is a sadness under the surface of life."
We live only on that surface, and mostly overlook the depths, but the underlying current, no matter how hard we may beat our oars, bears us back into the past, to memory, to history, to the ages . . . and we are gone.

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At 11:24 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

There are definitely reasons to be wistful, and maybe even to have regrets, but at the same time, I'm sure you know the reply to this sentiment: it's life's very impermanence, its river-like nature, that makes every ephemeral moment precious. We should be thankful that life is a river, and that we're not locked in an ice floe.


At 11:45 AM, Blogger TheBigHenry said...

My favorite resonant ending is what Adam murmurs at the end of Steinbeck's "East of Eden" -- "timshel".

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yeah, Kevin, I know . . . but I'm sometimes struck by it anew.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:12 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, TBH, for the reminder.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember reading Look Homeward Angel and it really impressed me. When we reach a certain age we have to come to the realization we have not accomplished our youthful plans, assess our successes and failures, and accept who and what we are in our lives.


At 11:18 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I feel fortunate to have published a few articles worthy of being cited in the works of others. Those articles demonstrate what I could have done.

I'm even more glad to have written a bit of fiction that people take seriously. I hope to continue that for a while.

Jeffery Hodges

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