This Side of Paradise

So I’ve been sporadically reading This Side of Paradise from F. Scott Fitzgerald for a while now. I found a 1948 copy  of the book at Half Price Books for six bucks! We are talking a classic book from one of the greatest American novelists of all time. Anyway, I was really excited about my classic book. I continue to be excited as I read on and find the story to be timeless yet so eloquently and beautifully written that it makes it seem totally unique.

Below is a passage from the book that I liked so much, I read it over again about four times then wrote it down in my journal. It comes from a point when the main character Amory receives an encouraging letter from a friend that he recently visited. At this point in his life, Amory was feeling sort of lost and unsure of his place in the world. He had grown disillusioned with college life and felt that Princeton University forced him yet again to conform to a certain person to the point that he was losing sight of himself. He was just sort of going through a quarter-life crisis. I know that I have felt that way before in my life (not that I went to Princeton) so I really liked the perspective his older, wiser friend gave to him on the phases of life:

“…at fifteen you had the radiance of early morning, at twenty you will begin to have the melancholy brilliance of the moon, and when you are my age you will give out, as I do, the genial golden warmth of 4 p.m.”

What a beautiful way to describe growing up. Comparing the journey to adulthood to the rising of the sun, glow of the moon and warmth of the afternoon is just brilliant. Speaking of which, I love, love, love the notion of “melancholy brilliance”. Could there be a more perfect way to describe the moon? When I read passages like this, it makes me want to be a a real one, not this “on occasion pseudo-blogger” writer that I am now.

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