The Great Gatsby is a story told by Nick Carraway, who was once Gatsby's neighbor, and he tells the story sometime after 1922, when the incidents that fill the book take place. As the story opens, Nick has just moved from the Midwest to West Egg,...
The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional towns of West Egg and East Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession with the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald's magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval and excess, creating a portrait of the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary[a] tale regarding the American Dream
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American fiction writer, whose works helped to illustrate the flamboyance and excess of the Jazz Age. While he achieved popular success, fame, and fortune in his lifetime,. he did not receive much critical acclaim until after his death. Perhaps the most notable member of the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s, Fitzgerald is now widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Four collections of his short stories were published, as well as 164 short stories in magazines during his lifetime.
The book has 9 chapters
There are many novels which claim that they are the greatest love story of all time. It is only in the case of this novel that that statement can be applied and be true.
The novel is set during the roaring 20s in America, narrated by Nick Carraway, a man from a well-to-do family just out of fighting the war and looking to sell bonds. He moves to East Egg, the slightly less grand area in comparison to West Egg, right opposite Gatsby's mansion. Gatsby is rich, mega-rich, and throws magnificent parties every weekend which the whole town attend. However the host is never seen during these parties, and is never completely known by any one person. Gatsby holds a dark secret about his past and how he became so great, a deep lust that will eventually lead to his demise.
The Great Gatsby is in many ways similar to Romeo and Juliet, yet I believe that it is so much more than just a love story. It is also a reflection on the hollowness of a life of leisure. Both stories are obsessed with controlling time: Juliet wants to extend her present, as her future prospects with Romeo are bleak and Gatsby wants to create a beautiful future by restoring the past. This is what leads Gatsby to say his most famous line "Can't change the past? Why, of course you can." I could very much relate to this - there have been many moments where I've wished that I could go back to the past and just remain there, for it was a better place.
Similarly to Romeo and Juliet, Fitzgerald's writing is almost like a work of poetry, with waves of literary brilliance creating a rich and lush rhythm which you can almost tap your foot to. The descriptions are jarringly, magnificently beautiful so that it almost made my heart ache.
However, unlike in Romeo and Juliet, the characters in The Great Gatsby are in themselves very flawed and very hard to sympathise with. But that is the beauty of the book. Of course you hate Daisy Buchanan! Of course you hate Tom! You even begin to slightly dislike Gatsby, to whom it is not enough for Daisy to say that she loved him, but requires her to state that she never in her five year marriage loved her husband Tom. But Gatsby, to me, remains Great right until the end of this book.
It is ironic that only the idle rich survive this novel, and Fitzgerald through this further enrages the reader about the cruelty and the injustice of the world. The rich are allowed to continue to be careless, for that is the dream, is it not? To live a carefree life? Yet Fitzgerald highlights the horrors of being a careless person: "They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money and vast carelessness." What's amazing in this line is that Tom and Daisy aren't careless to be malicious - that is just their nature. And that in itself is a very sad thing. They do not care for their daughter, for Myrtle, for Gatsby nor even each other. Their inability to care is what makes The Great Gatsby the stark opposite to Romeo and Juliet where the lovers are sacrificed and Verona is healed. In Fitzgerald's masterpiece nothing is made whole by this tragedy.
Many consider The Great Gatsby to be depressing because, in the end, those who dream do not achieve their aspirations. However, the main message that Fitzgerald sends to us isn't that dreaming will lead to despair, but that chasing an unworthy dream will lead to tragedy.
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