February 5, 2013

"He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath..."

"... his mind would never romp again like the mind of God."

That's a challenging one, today's sentence in the "Gatsby" project (wherein we examine, each day, one sentence, out of context, from "The Great Gatsby").

I'm seriously intimidated, because I can't bust out of the sentence to get a grasp of how it can be that his mind is, pre-kiss, romping like the mind of God. Oh, but suddenly it's clear! If he kisses her, he enters the concrete word, where one specific thing after another will happen. But before he takes that action, he exists within imagination — his unutterable visions. There's so much to gain and so much to lose. Within imagination, he is like God, fully free. Anything — everything — can happen. You throw that all away if you kiss her. To kiss her is not to marry her, but there is a wedding: of the mind to the body, the perishable breath.

And quite aside from the man and the resisted kiss, there's an assertion about God. God has a romping mind.

ADDED: Chip Ahoy animates the sentence:

26 comments:

Meade said...

The assertion isn't about God. It's about God's mind.

Synova said...

Choice made involves the death of infinite possibilities. There is a moment of singularity.

No romping.

chickelit said...

There's a hint of original syn, too.

chickelit said...

"Perishable breath" sounds fishy.

edutcher said...

Have to agree with Ann, I never thought of God as romping.

I think the perishable breath is a reference to the fact that his thoughts are hostage to her life.

Peter Hoh said...

"God has a romping mind" made me think of the line in Groundhog Daywhere Bill Murray says that maybe God isn't omnipotent, he's just been around a long time -- romping, I suppose.

Peter Hoh said...

Meade, go get a blue book and try to explain how an assertion about the mind of God is not an assertion about God.

Ann Althouse said...

"Meade, go get a blue book and try to explain how an assertion about the mind of God is not an assertion about God."

I asked him the same question. He chuckled.

Meade said...

I admit to having a romping mind that niggles and giggles. Paradoxically, I kissed this girl.

Mark O said...

Heresy. I think "perishable breath" is just too cute for words. Precious. Coy.

Phil: I'm a god.
Rita: You're God?
Phil: I'm a god. I'm not *the* God...

wyo sis said...

Maybe it says more about the mind of---he---(Gatsby I assume) than about the mind of God. He's the one comparing his mind to the mind of God.

drozz said...

Though it was another rehash of that awful godaddy commercial.

Old Dad said...

Most guys feel something like this when they wed their unutterable selves to a perishable her. Our romping days with God are over. But he "knew", and so we might assume that he made an informed choice, but maybe not. Maybe the kisser is a fool and the girl an insufferable bitch with a voice like money. But that's what makes the kissing game interesting and dangerous.

traditionalguy said...

Romping implies a group activity that requires partners to romp with. A trinity, perhaps.

One look at The Creator's creation of birds and beasts, insects and fish not to mention flowering plants and seeds, and it was clearly done by a romping mind with an eye for beauty.

Our human memory relives good past experiences. The present kiss of a woman rarely explodes into such new lifetime memories, but sometimes it does just that, and then we join with a new romping partner.

The tragedy of Gatsby happened when he joined a bad romping partner, and she was getting worse by the year.

Rob said...

How quaint, to have unutterable visions. Today such visions are not only utterable, they're bloggable, the subject of dinner table conversation, matters of national import.

Chip Ahoy said...

God flies around the universe drinking beers and doing whatever he wants, turning into heavenly-earthly creatures and then kisses a girl and and gets sucked into Earth life possibly forfeiting his powers and mysteriously regaining them circularly for eternity.

Douglas McDonald said...

This kiss suggests a bite out of a certain apple. Paradise and infinite possibility is lost and breath becomes perishable.
A 21st century FSF might have written "rock like the mind of God." It is easier for us to say God rocks, than romps.

sydney said...

Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

marvel said...

A hot mess of a sentence. The rhythm is off, and "unutterable" and "perishable" don't work together to counterbalance the image as they ought. "Romp" is far too abrupt a word to fill out the phrase after the soft sounds that precede it.

rhhardin said...

It sounds to me like giving up the freedom to be interested in whatever he wants and having to be interested in what concerns her, which will be an endless future list.

Women are high maintenance items.

McTriumph said...

Putting up with living with a cat, conversation while trying to read or watch the news and lingerie soaking in the bathroom sink every mourning starts with a kiss.

Mitch H. said...

Allan Bloom asserted in the more philosophic portions of The Closing of the American Mind that all the higher intellectual aspirations are driven by sexual sublimation, of the diversion of the sex drive into philosophic, religious, and related pursuits. He held that the carnality and physical savagery of Boomer and post-Boomer culture undermined this necessary sublimation, and thus undercut the proper pursuit of philosophy in college students.

Perhaps this "romping mind of God" is what Fitzgerald is talking about - the sublimated intellect poured out of a kiss-burned breach in the dike holding it back, rushing down into its naturally-intended water-courses, and eventually, union with the salty, carnal sea.

Meade said...

"Women are high maintenance items."

Breathing is high maintenance. But where would we be without it?

Ann Althouse said...

Especially perishable breathing.

kentuckyliz said...

Nice animation work, Chippie.

mikee said...

Lewis Grizzard, who is not as famous a writer as F. Scott F., once used the phrase "faunching around like a peach-orchard boar" to describe the glee of a young man taking his first drive in his first new pickup truck.

While I have no idea what faunching means, nor the exact relationship of a peach orchard to a boar inhabiting it, I understood the emotion conveyed.