Guest / Limited Access /
The Gospel of Gatsby and Draper
Warner Bros.

What does the self-made man love?

He is a figure we're all familiar with, the auto-constructed man, especially as Americans. Someone from Nowhere decides that, using his inherent smarts or wits or ambition, he is going to be someone, make a difference, something like that.

And so we love stories like Kurt Warner's, the supermarket worker turned NFL legend. We love it in the stories our Presidents tell about themselves. George W. Bush, son of a President, self-proclaimed "C student," pinched pennies, with Laura's help. Obama came from a broken home, and never fully knew his father. Even Lincoln began his story in a log cabin.

We love this kind of thing, the person who comes from nothing. It tells us that anyone from anywhere can make his mark in the American landscape—that anyone can change the world.

But what's it like to be on the other end? What happens if you spend your existence making yourself, only to look at your life and realize that you hate everything about it, everyone in it, that the position you're in embodies everything you hate?

Do you want to be the self you made?

Baz Luhrmann's serviceable, if lacking interpretation of The Great Gatsby would have us believe—in endless voice-overs that either inform the audience or remove the book's subtlety, depending on your perspective—that the self-invention of Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio was born to play this role) is all about Daisy. Tobey Maguire's Nick Carraway, in awe: "Everything—he did it all for Daisy." Gatsby's mansion and immaculate lawn, his ridiculous riches, the parties, the lavish extravagance, was all for Daisy (Carey Mulligan). He'd met her only five years earlier, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Tags:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueThe Grace of Church Discipline
The Grace of Church Discipline
We do no one any favors if we ignore or downplay core beliefs.
RecommendedThe Broken Hands of Doctor Strange
The Broken Hands of Doctor Strange
What Marvel’s latest hero movie teaches us about engaging suffering.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickFairness for All: Evangelicals Explore Truce on LGBT and Religious Rights
Fairness for All: Evangelicals Explore Truce on LGBT and Religious Rights
It worked in Utah. But national effort by the CCCU and NAE will be more complicated.
Christianity Today
The Gospel of Gatsby and Draper
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

May 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.