Dopke 1

Joe Dopke

Mrs. Smith

A.P Literature

16 March 2013

“Lush Life”

To fully comprehend a piece of music which carries words demands involvement of both

the music in conjunction with its lyrics – after all, ignoring the music itself would simply be

analyzing poetry rather than a song. A thorough study of the song “Lush Life” (such as the one

already suggested) demonstrates a great many parallels, which, through the lens of Jay

Gatsby/James Gatz, apply to his own situation eerily well.

Commencing the song, the singer, who will be portrayed as Gatsby, croons the first line,

“I used to visit all the very gay places, Those come-what-may places, Where one relaxes on the

axis of the wheel of life, To get the feel of life from Jazz and cocktails.” Introducing rhythmic

patterns of lyrics, phrases overlap over bar-lines, expressing an almost story-like quality to the

feeling of the song, correlating with the words, to which the singer himself is literally telling his

former lover. In dealing with how the lyrics themselves are applicable to Gatsby’s situation, the

word “gay” in the first line reveals a clue: throughout the book, characters such as Nick and

Jordan use this very phrase to describe Gatsby’s parties –“Having a gay time?” (Jordan),

“Sometimes in the course of gay parties, women used to rub champagne into his hair; for himself

he formed the habit of letting liquor alone.” (Nick). The last quote being of particular

significance, Gatsby demonstrates in the lyrics that he recognizes what the upper-class of society

tend to do in order to “get the feel of life”, that being drinking and partying, however Gatsby,

who doesn’t personally participates in the former or very much in the excesses of the latter,

in the same musical expression. In relation to the music and these two stanzas. twelve o’clock tales. . You could see where they’d been washed away. Introducing a musical shift in the song’s landscape. thanks to the large orchestra he provides and the cocktails he also provides at the bar. This lack of pursuance. By too many through the day. and he certainly fulfills this requirement well. in a larger perspective. I thought for a while that your poignant smile. example 2]. twelve o’clock tales” suggests that these girls drunkenness (“tales” rhymes with the “tails” of “cocktails” in the previous stanza) may also be a reason. With distingue traces that used to be there. “Then you came along with your siren song. “The Girls I knew had sad and sullen gray faces. this paints an even more vivid portrait of Gatsby’s parties. he never pursued any of these women and this non- action was reciprocated on their part as well [see Extended Quotes from The Great Gatsby. reflects an understanding that none of these girls in Gatsby’s eyes will never live up to Daisy.” Of course. this description of the women throughout Gatsby’s parties are in comparison to Daisy. Gatsby sings in stanza two. an interesting occurrence can be mentioned about the lines “To get the feel of life” and “by too many too many through the day” which feature a non-traditional/non-diatonic harmony adding a tension and overall interesting significance to the phrases. Dopke 2 seemingly pushes himself away from a staple of “the high life”. Following the first stanza. as literally spoken in a paragraph in the novel [see Extended Quotes from The Great Gatsby. example 1] which describes Gatsby’s parties as having Jazz. a theme which permeates throughout the book. Hosting parties apparently is the most to which Gatsby can personally muster himself up to do. being attributed to that these girls had “sad and sullen gray faces”. which again provides an allusion to Gatsby’s adherence to alcohol. To tempt me to madness. which in the song. and the attribution that they had been “washed away by too many through the day. Gatsby sings.

according to Nick. Ah yes. having molded his persona and life around the sentiment of what she would desire –this quote also provides another mentioning of the word “gay” as a quasi-synonym for extravagance or luxury. this curiosity certainly was accessed in Gatsby. These mentionings denote a sort of natural curiosity of Daisy to which. example 3]. Now life is awful again. A trough full of hearts could only be a bore. occurs between the first two and following two lines in this stanza. the past is done being told. a facet to his persona of which he clearly had mastered. This. In relation to the music itself. Gatsby was sure that daisy had loved him (as stated during Tom and his . The third line alludes to Daisy’s intoxicating smile [see Extended Quotes from The Great Gatsby. Gatsby cries out “Life is lonely again and only last year. along with the ever-growing instrumentation draws the song to its head. Again. Everything seemed so sure. commencing the next stanza with a noticeable and strong beat provided by the drums.” Simply put. Dopke 3 Was tinged with the sadness of a great love for me. this wrongness is acknowledged twice in the song for emphasis. example 5] which overall. example 4]. a quotation-and- song-lyric-parallel highlighting the significance of Gatby’s own smile. the first four lines demonstrate an interesting musical device: the recapitulation of a theme. I was wrong” The first line obviously being a direct comparison to Daisy’s voice. and the present and future are to now be emphasized lyrically. I was wrong. the first line introducing a minor-key tonality (suggesting sadness) and the second line using the first as a basis to emphasize a greater amount of minor-dissonance. [see Extended Quotes from The Great Gatsby. which is noted consistently throughout the book on a number of occasions [see Extended Quotes from The Great Gatsby. Beginning the fourth stanza. any man who cared for her had. increasing this word’s significance in the song ever more. which in the song. demonstrates just how wrong Gatsby’s assumptions about Daisy truly were.

who openly pursues women aside from Daisy. reality has slapped him in the face and he was come to the sad realization that his assumptions are untrue and his dream can never be fulfilled. Along with this. (especially regarding example 6) is that Gatsby wants to walk where Daisy walked –after all. he did go to Louisville for her. Dopke 4 confrontation: “She’s never loved you.and so reliving what he should have done in the past certainly seems like a feasible reason for Gatsby to desire to go to Paris. With the fifth stanza. demonstrating the sad truth for Gatsby that his attempts at being part of the upper class of society have resulted in failures. in reality he has other motivations. around the idea of trying to be part of the upper class to be able to .”). coming back from France while Daisy and Tom were on their wedding trip [see Extended Quotes from The Great Gatsby. after being with Dan Cody. I’ll forget you. However. Gatsby only partly acknowledges this truth. although the song suggests that he’s going there to forget her. being a general there. spending all his army pay to do so. he based his whole life. All I care is to smile in spite of it. What this says about Gatsby himself. example 7]. “A week in Paris could ease the bite of it. but he means more. for Tom. example 6]. this sentiment is further acknowledged with the statement “I’ll forget you” even though he knows he will never be able to unless he gives up his charade. more women is not the answer to his problems. France itself throughout the story reoccurs as a significant place in the story: Daisy and Tom spent a year in France after they had their child. his marriage is still intact.” Here. and even lied to Nick about his ventures which included living in Paris. and Gatsby himself had quite a history in France as well. Gatsby makes another reference to his smile but here it means that he wants to continue to be Jay Gatsby instead of James Gatz (that’s the one part of Gatsby’s persona which he has perfected). I will while you are still Burning inside my brain. She loves me. Gatsby notes that a week in luxurious Paris could possibly help. and unfortunately for him. France [see Extended Quotes from The Great Gatsby.

“So I’ll live a lush life in some small dive” Gatsby. expresses the futility of Gatsby’s attempts at becoming part of the financial elite. the word Paris carries an exotic sounding Eb7#9 chord.” The first statement. “Romance is mush stifling those who strive. And there I’ll be. which. being himself.”) However. he accepts Tom and Daisy’s relationship. even at Gatsby’s lowest point. underplays his accomplishments (an example being when he invited Nick to his “little party. evoking a sort of wild luxury to the perception of what Paris means. which almost gives the impression that Gatsby’s smile is wavering and his lips are trembling. of course. which. . and bitterly. he exhibits an almost charming character with the words chosen. lead him to desire his current life. Finally. which has little to no romance whatsoever has overcome his own attempts at having Daisy. and can not get divorced as a result of this). this line. being the souls in hell and the lifeless bodies in the cemetery which he would be laid in. With the phrase. regarding romance suggests an almost sarcastic tonality to it based on Gatsby’s circumstances: he based his own striving on a romance he once had. Dopke 5 claim Daisy as his own and it be “right. consequently allowing for the word dive to take on a triple entendre. again. along with his passion for Daisy. Even more so. both foreshadows Gatsby’s ultimate fate –death in his pool. almost without question. it alludes to both where Gatsby’s body will rest and his acknowledgement of where he will go after death. the word “smile” is within a unsettling major chord progression. along with this. And here. Gatsby sings.” This.and alludes to his past –living with Dan Cody. in the sixth stanza. So I’ll live a lush life in some small dive. While I rot with the rest of those. being hell (a point made because he knows Daisy is a Catholic. demonstrates the futility of Gatsby’s attempts to have Daisy. he will rot with the rest of those whose lives are also lonely. And ironically. Whose lives are lonely too. Within the music.

Dopke 6 Conc .