an angry diamond

p. 56:

One of the men was talking with curious intensity to a young actress, and his wife after attempting to laugh at the situation in a dignified and indifferent way broke down entirely and resorted to flank attacks – at intervals she appeared suddenly at his side like an angry diamond and hissed ‘You promised!’ into his ear.

Gatsby revolves around young couples in relatively early, fragile relationships.  Here is a rare, flashing view at an older couple, in an old relationship with fragility that age has not dissipated, but crystallized into a frozen spiderweb.  Fitzgerald is known as a chronicler of the young and carefree, but this is a pitch-perfect snapshot of a couples’ argument that has developed through many years of betrayal.

In truth Fitzgerald’s heroines were never carefree, regardless of their age.  Though often misunderstood as shallow, these young female characters were engaged in poignant struggle to define a new womanhood in a time before feminism.  Those who lost – or worse, missed – the struggle could do nothing but harden their pains into an angry diamond.

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