I see a feather outside the window. It floats low, moving randomly from the sidewalk to the grass. As it is just about to land on the road, a car passes by the feather and gives it a push to fly even higher. A couple more blasts of wind would send it into the clouds.
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The feather lingers in the sky, above the houses and the trees. The sun shines brightly and the birds chirp loudly, but the wind is beginning to end. The feather gently sinks little by little, but it has not hit the ground yet. It approaches the interstate, where the cars and trucks keep the feather afloat as they pass by. If it can just get one gust of wind, it may have a chance.
The clouds are turning dark, but the feather remains afloat. Suddenly, a blast of wind not so far away kicks the feather high into the sky. It is now flying along with a flock of migrating geese, just inches below the clouds. The clouds are now black. The feather dances gracefully in the sky, inching higher with every step. However, this is as high as it will get. After a couple claps of thunder, drops of rain pour down to earth. The feather tries to resist the force but it was too much. One after another, raindrops pile onto it and the load was too heavy to bear.
In a freefall, the feather plunges down to earth, striking the hard concrete sidewalk. More claps of thunder come and lighting appears a couple of miles away. Children are scrambling home for cover. The feather lies lifelessly, soaked in rainwater, and then in mud after a couple of cars passed by. The fluid gently carries the feather away from the sidewalk to the road, where a truck from nowhere flattens it. There is no wind to bring it back up, only more rain. As the precipitation accumulates, the feather limps against the current until there is nothing left to help it. It flows along, and suddenly, it drops beneath the road and into the sewer. Where it will go no one knows.
The rain is now gone, the clouds are again white. As the children run out from their homes, another feather blasts into the air. It hovers and waits, as if a blast of wind would come and send it beyond the sky and into the clouds.
Gatsby s wild parties follow the rise and fall of the feather. At first, Gatsby s mansion is calm as preparations begin. Caterers enter and fill the buffet tables with spiced baked hams crowed against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. The orchestra arrives and soon, the party begins. Like the feather that mindlessly flies higher and higher, the party escalates as the alcohol intake by the guests increase. Attendants lose control in the midst of the excitement as the party winds down.
Like the mud-soaked flat feather, the party turns ugly. Reluctant to return home, women fight with their husbands to stay a little longer. Cars scramble to exit the mansion well after midnight, as drunk drivers struggle to safely exit. Fifty feet from the door a dozen headlights illuminated a bizarre and tumultuous scene. In the ditch beside the road, right side up but violently shorn of one wheel, rested a new coupe which had left Gatsby s drive not two minutes before. This festive night ends in the gutters.
The feather also reflects characters in The Great Gatsby. A man from the west, Nick decides to live in Long Island to take advantage of the growing stock market. In the 1920 s, it seemed that anybody could become wealthy through Wall Street. Being a bondsperson, Nick appears to be steps away from living with the high class. The hope of profiting from the market is high, yet the reality is somewhat grim. Nick is unable to produce large profits and ultimately quits to travel back to the west. The feather takes flight, only to fall back to the ground.
Gatsby is a man of triumph and tragedy. Born to a low-income family of farmers in North Dakota, Gatsby is unsatisfied with his life. Working for millionaire Dan Cody, he dedicates his life to become one with the wealthy class. Cody provides Gatsby the push that begins Gatsby s ascending flight. In his quest, Gatsby meets Daisy and his goal becomes clear. Unfortunately, he leaves for the war and returns to find that Daisy has left for another man.
For five years, Gatsby lives in Long Island with a fortune that he received through unknown criminal activities. Like the feather, he remains afloat, staring into the green light with optimism. Nick is the catalyst that brings Gatsby even closer to Daisy. They meet during an arranged afternoon, where they soon fell in love again. As if he is just inches below the clouds, Gatsby can feel his dream becoming reality. However, he has reached the apex of his ascendance.
The triumph is over and tragedy begins. After coming to close contact with Daisy, the clouds darken. Gatsby discovers that Daisy has a daughter. In a hot summer day, the raindrops that hit the feather piles on to Gatsby. Through an intense argument between him and Tom, Daisy sides with her husband and declares that she does not love Gatsby. The battle is over and Tom has won. Matters worsen when Daisy kills Myrtle while driving Gatsby s coupe. The descent hastens, yet Gatsby has not given up. He continues to stare at the green light, though it is becoming increasingly far.
Gatsby has plummeted to the ground, and Mr. Wilson delivers the coup de grace. His death is forgotten, with only three people at his funeral. All appears to have return to normal and those who came to Long Island have left. Yet Nick remains a believer, that tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther and one fine morning So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
While Gatsby s ascendance is metaphorical, the feather rises literally. This light, pure white object gradually gains altitude while the danger increases. It goes against gravity like boats swimming against the current. Its rise reflects Nick s hope of becoming wealthy and Gatsby s desire to have Daisy. The feather is seemingly touching the clouds, but the opposition increases. Raindrops stain it and add to its weight. As Gatsby becomes closer to his goal, obstacles appear in the form of Tom and Daisy s daughter. Like the raindrops on the feather, the impediments make Gatsby s dream heavy and unattainable.
The feather s descent is fast and brutal, as is Gatsby s downfall. His lifelong goal of attaining Daisy shatters, making his life almost purposeless. The feather becomes gray as its splats on the sidewalk. It becomes unrecognizable in the mud, as if what once was drifting in the air could not be this repulsive object on the ground. Gatsby s dream ends with his death. Wolfshiem, Daisy, and those who knew Gatsby decline to attend his funeral. Gatsby, once a wealthy and successful man, has become a corpse with little respect. The feather magically ascends to painfully fall victim of an unreachable goal.