Dream of: 03 October 1998 "The Great Gatsby"

A woman dressed in fine clothes of the style of the 1920s or 1930s was standing not far from me, seeming to observe me. We were in a well-lit room, a public place, and another man was also standing nearby. The woman, obviously refined, was around 30 years old. I was immediately attracted to her, and even though I had been drinking alcohol, and once even slid to the floor and raised myself back up, I decided to strike up a conversation. I spoke to her, she seemed interested, and I launched into a discussion of books. Since I had read many books and could handle myself well in this arena, I picked out a book I particularly liked: F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby; I asked the woman what she thought about the book.

She responded that the book wasn't set in any particular time. I quickly blurted out that the book was definitely in a certain time, saying, "The Great Gatsby was 1935." What I meant was that the action of the story had taken place in 1935. But since I wasn't exactly sure that 1935 was the correct year, I added, "It was definitely between 1929 and 1940." I was reasoning that the book was set during Prohibition, which I thought was between 1929 and 1940. But suddenly I realized I had made a mistake, because I recalled that Prohibition had actually started in 1919 and had ended in 1933, after the first election of Franklin Roosevelt as president. That meant that the story had actually probably taken place in the 1920s. But I didn't say anything else about that to the woman. Besides, I now realized I had missed her point completely. When she had said that the book wasn't in a certain time, she had meant that the book was "timeless." She was saying that certain themes in the book weren't confined to the time of the action of the book.

I knew various recurring themes were indeed in the book, and I brought up the "eyes of Dr. Ogelethorpe." Actually the image from the book wasn't eyes, but a pair of huge eyeglasses which had been constructed as an advertisement for an eye doctor, and which hung looked out over a particularly bleak scene. As I spoke of the "eyes", I could clearly see an image of those huge eyeglasses, and thought how effectively they had been woven into the story, looking out over the lives of the characters.

I enjoyed talking to the woman. She was terribly urbane, but not at all haughty. Obviously a well-cultivated creature. I hoped she wasn't put off by my inebriation.

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