Hemingway wrote 47 endings for A Farewell to Arms, but for The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald wrote 48.

Hemingway Wrote 47 Endings to Farewell to Arms? Fitzgerald Wrote 48 for Gatsby!

Hemingway Wrote 47 Endings to Farewell to Arms? Fitzgerald Wrote 48 for Gatsby!

Dubious and far-fetched ideas.
July 6 2012 5:16 PM

The Lost Endings to The Great Gatsby

For his masterpiece, Hemingway wrote 47 endings. Fitzgerald wrote 48!

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No. 14, “The Modernist Ending”: “So we beat on boats against the current borne back ceaselessly into the past and—”

No. 15, “The New Age Ending”: “As I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. The life-force of the universe was stronger than any of us could fathom. I took out my crystal, and sucked on it.”

No. 16, “The College Lit Mag Ending”: “ ‘Shit,’ I said out loud as a tempestuous breeze blew across the Sound, making the surface of the water rough in little patches, like a custard that has set in its dish with some tiny bubbles still on top, or a piece of velvet that has been worn down in some places but not in others.  ‘Fucking shit.’ I could tell already it was going to be hard to go on like this, knowing what I knew. And yet. Somehow: I would.”


No. 17, “The Secret Agent Man Ending”: “Suddenly in the dark between the ferryboats I spied the gentle rise and fall of a yellow raft. It was Gatsby and Daisy, in a bikini, drinking Champagne and awaiting heli-rescue.”

No. 18, “The Hard Truths Ending”: “As I ran my eyes over the house’s clouded windows with the ferryboats moving slowly on the Sound, I finally admitted to myself what I had been unable to convey to my lost friend: Gatsby had terrible taste in music.”

No. 19, “The Shakespearean Comedy Ending”: “Just then Jordan Baker came up beside me and removed her hair. ‘Don’t worry about it—I’m actually a man,’ she said. ‘And your brother.’ ”

No. 20, “The Comfort Food Ending”: “There was music from my neighbor’s house and a pleasant fragrance in the evening winds; someone, somewhere nearby, was cooking tamales.”

No. 21, “The Gertrude Stein Ending”: “And I am thinking of the boats and the boats in my thinking are rising and falling on the current and the time is having passed and we are moving forward in time but sometimes we are also moving backward in time and this time was one of those times which is having the forward moving but also the backward moving.”

No. 22, “The Fight Song Ending”: “It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch our out arms farther … And one fine morning— Boola boola! Boola! Boola!

No. 23, “The Well-Timed Real-Estate Play Ending”: “And good thing I did, because this was just when the Hamptons crowds were starting to get out of hand.”

No. 24, “The College Alumni Report Ending”: “That was a moment of reckoning for me, and a turning point. But also my lucky break! On the way home I met the love of my life, Mimi McNulty (Bryn Mawr ’17), and from that point the days have been a hurricane of joy. We now live in Lake Forest with three amazing children, Joe, Frankie, and Hilaria, and enjoy frequent trips to Vermont and France. I work in development consulting. We feel blessed.”

No. 25, “The Chastened Joycean Ending”: “And I said probably not No but thanks a lot.”

No. 26, “The Fan of Sport Ending”: “Gatsby believed in the green light, or at least did for some time, but then he got a new radio, and the baseball season started, and things were pretty much OK after that.”

No. 27, “The Occult Ending”: “As the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away and the night became cold and ominous. Then everyone who had died came back, and they were all vampires, except Wilson, who was a zombie. ‘Come live with us and eat mortal flesh,’ he implored, stepping blindly toward Gatsby’s old house. Meyer Wolfsheim was there, too, it turned out. He was a werewolf.”

No. 28, “The Guess Who Ending”: “Even with my eyes covered I knew I could not mistake that voice. ‘Gatsby!’ I cried. He stopped covering my eyes and walked around to the front of my head so I could see him. ‘Hello,’ he said, and did a little dance.”

No. 29, “The Choose Your Own Adventure Ending”: “If you believe the cycles of American ambition to be ceaseless, turn to Page 3.