Letter: A Refreshing Sort of Debate
To the Editor:
As a retired English teacher and unretiring lover of language, I was proud of my valley and your paper to find an entire Forum page devoted to a debate about the merits and demerits of The Great Gatsby. Some say our culture is about to dump the liberal arts in favor of turning our nation into an army of tech-savvy engineers, so this may be the last time we see such a debate in an opinion page in an American newspaper.
There may be hope: A few years ago, the entire freshman class at Yale was required to read Gatsby as summer reading before they arrived on campus for the opening of classes. I encourage them to infiltrate and subvert.
I would only add this. Just as, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” is considered the most famous opening line in a novel, so too is Fitzgerald’s, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” considered the most famous closing line in a novel.
It would be a pity to throw such an important line out with the politically incorrect bathwater.
Paul D. Keane