Why did they read The Great Gatsby at the Royal Wedding?

Posted by Shmoop on 11/16/18 12:25 PM
Shmoop
Lack-of-self-awareness should be a SuperPower, don't you think? Adverbially named Stan Lee was working on a Narcissus paradigm before his untimely death at 95. So when Eugenie had this passage from The Great Gatsby read at her Royal Wedding to Jack, tongues either wagged or remained pressed firmly in cheek. 
great gatsby royal dig
Why? 
 
Well, read it, for starters. The most gorgeous writings live in Gatsby. Every paragraph is either Angelina in her early 20s or Thor or his brother, pre-MalibuMiley fires. So here it is:
“He smiled understandingly — much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced — or seemed to face — the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point it vanished — and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care.”
What is it saying? That Gatsby was a con artist. And he knew how to con with...elan, and yes that rhymes. So when we drop this passage into the wedding ceremony, we can't help but hear that this initial Gatsby glance with Nick-the-Narrator is an analog of the first feigning glances between Eugenie and the man with whom she would make the beast with two backs.
 
In essence, she is calling her hubby a con man.
 
Was this some dark reference that he was a British flavor of The Man in the Iron Mask? Or was this just lovely prose she felt fit a mood and didn't stop to...think? Generations of in-breeding in the Royal Family have produced sparse few Nobel Laureates. 

Topics: Literature

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