четверг, 1 декабря 2011 г.

The Owl-Eyed Man


Speaking of those books, what’s the matter with that man in the library? A reader lists the owl-eyed man as a character, but then he realizes that absolutely nothing is known about him. Even Nick reduces him from a man to a pair of eyes. So, probably, he’s really more of a symbol than a full blown character.

First, there’s the owl bit; owls are a symbol of wisdom, of great vision as an owl can see in the dark of the night, but can also be an omen of death. Then there’s the glasses bit; a man with large eyes and spectacles would be expected to be more perceptive, observant and inspective and watch than those around him, absorbed with free drinks and jazz-music. He is surprised when he finds that Gatsby’s books are real, meaning he must have had reason to think that Gatsby was fake.

So does the owl-eyed man fit the bill? Being perceptive and all, the bespectacled man is right to be suspicious of Gatsby. He is the only guest who, in doubting Gatsby, is also wise enough to investigate further. Moving right along to the portent of death part, a reader notices that it was the owl-eyed man who had the car accident outside of Gatsby’s house and that, shortly after he got out of the car, it was he who revealed that someone else was driving. Does any of this sound familiar?

If you’re really interested in the owl-eyed man (as we so clearly are), you should check out the scene at the end where he’s the only former guest to come to Gatsby’s funeral. Why would that be? To my mind, it is the sign that being a «scout» the owl-eyed man understands the nature of Gatsby’s character and appreciates his decent character, unlike his numerous so-called «friends», most of whom were not even acquainted with Gatsby.


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