By Eric Zhang, V Form
(Editors’ Note: In Ms. Matthews’ American Literature class, this assignment prompted students to create a 10th chapter of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, utilizing Nick Caraway’s melancholic tone and including some type of closure for the characters)
It had been five years since the funeral, and I finally returned to this city that I once thought was haunted. Everything was so depressing. There were no sounds of the orchestra playing or shimmering sights of the girls wearing fancy dresses with decorations on their shoes. The city of New York had changed since that October in 1929, what was later called Black October. I wandered the streets of New York, and ultimately, I was pulled back to the Eggs and Gatsby’s mansion. What was once a shining social hub was now a ghost town. The protégé of Wolfsheim, and all those who basked in his generosity have disappeared. I was reminded once more that I was the only one Gatsby had. But over that summer, I learned how apathetic people can be. Leaving Gatsby’s mansion, I walked into my old, tiny house. The door was unlocked so I went in. I saw some letters addressed to me on the floor – I must have forgotten to change my address after I left. I picked one that caught my attention, the one that had Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s signatures. I opened the letter and read. Apparently they were doing well.
After Gatsby’s funeral, they had scattered to the winds, eventually landing in Europe and living in Paris. They had another daughter, Angela, but I did not care about their lives anymore. All I wanted to see was if there were any mention of Gatsby, but throughout the letter they only talked about themselves and how much they missed me. Their tone almost convinced me that nothing had ever happened in New York or on the Eggs, and that they had never known Gatsby. This letter caused my vehement hatred toward them – those careless, irresponsible people. I threw the letter in the trash can and opened another, the one sent by Jordan. She was divorced, and she had retired from the game of golf. I felt a mixture of love and hatred for her as I read her letter. Even though I had lost much of my curiosity about people after Gatsby’s death, even after all these years she was the one who still intrigued me. For me, she represented something amorphous, an idea that was constantly changing and vague, but that was her charm. As I continued to read, I found out that she was moving to England, and she asked me if I wanted to go with her. I threw away the letter because I felt let down and exhausted by those careless people; that part of my life was over–it had just been a phase.
I left my apartment and once again walked down the street without purpose. I thought that now I could finally understand the solitude Gatsby had felt when he reached out for that green light. Gatsby was truly better than all of them deserved. When I told him he was better than the whole damn lot of them put together, I meant it – but for now, what else was there? For now, it is just me and that green light.
Eric Zhang is a V Form boarding student from Beijing, China. He lives in Maple as a Prefect, and he enjoys reading and playing tennis.