Don’t worry I’m not about to go all life-coach on you! But just as the lovely Leonardo Dicaprio slips into the role of Gatsby in our cinemas with Baz Luhrmann’s much anticipated film, I’m thinking about the concept of reinvention. The ‘Great’ Gatsby is one of the great literary characters who has an excellent ability to re-invent himself. But in our modern society, are we all masters of reinvention? Postmodern theorists suggest that we now have enough choice and diversity to decide exactly who we want to be from day-to-day, so could it be true that we have taken a leaf from ole’ Gatsby’s book and are constantly reinventing ourselves?
We seem, at least to have mastered the art of reinventing the way we look, with diets to make us thinner and fake tan to make our skin look darker. We can whiten our teeth, pluck our eyebrows, have surgery on our faces.
But reinvention can surely also be positive? After that messy break-up where you’re feeling pretty lost and recognising how different your life is going to be now without that person and that routine that you’d had for the last X amount of months, you get up one day and decide to reinvent yourself (hopefully not by taking a pair of scissors to your barnet – post break-up hair cuts never look good, unless your Julianne Hough and she probably didn’t do that in her kitchen) but you choose to be independent again, and this can feel both rather scary and empowering – with the sense that now you could do anything, try anything new.
And maybe you’re not about to start bungee-jumping or running for charity, but there’s something positive and refreshing about the concept of a ‘new you’ which links back to that age-old argument “Can people really change?” and of course they can, human are very adaptable, especially when they want to make a change. Maybe that’s what makes Gatsby so relatable in many ways, his desire to pick things up and create an entirely new life for himself, after all aren’t we constantly picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves and making a change in our lives. Reinvention can be false or superficial but it can also be empowering and though-provoking.