“The Great Gatsby”, written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, follows a middle class bondsman, Nick Carraway, (the most realistic, unreliable narrator I’ve met) in his confusing and interesting encounter with the mysterious Jay Gatsby. The book is brilliant, and that’s no exaggeration. Ofcourse, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea- I will admit. It requires a lot of analysis to get past the blatantly stated idea that people are foolish enough to believe is the main plot. ( That idea is that it is a love story- which it isn’t.)
A brief summary of the story:
It begins when Nick moves in next to Jay Gatsby,a wealthy “businessman” (a bootlegger, keep in mind this is post-prohibition period where they made as much as s lawyer or a doctor, maybe more!). He had visited with Tom’s (Nick’s cousin Daisy’s husband) mistress in New York.
By now he had heard the name of Gatsby’s twice. He ended up being invited to a party and soon got close with Mr. Gatsby. learned of his past with his cousin five year’s prior. Nick brought them back together, where it all boiled. Tom found out about Daisy cheating (Daisy knew about Tom’s cheating prior), Jay forced Daisy to admit her love to him, and in the end Nick was alone. I won’t bother telling you how or why, because to me that’s one of the most powerful moment’s in the book.
What I enjoyed about the book was Fitzgerald’s gift of bringing you in connection with the characters. As I said before, the book may only catch your eye in the way it was meant if you analyze it enough. For instance Jay was connectable for being a victim of his own lust after the American dream, Tom for his hostility, Myrtle for her naive personality, Daisy with her innocence, yet somehow guiltiness, and the list goes on.
Another thing I found admirable for the book was the symbolism. All throughout the novel you encounter strange things that seem out of place. For example, the green light across the bay may seem rather odd at first. “Why is he staring at a green light?” “Wouldn’t he be blind by now?” “Maybe he Eckleburgs glasses!” (that make sense, believe me). In the book it is a symbol of hope. Gatsby looked to that green light as a symbol for a grand ending. It’s a shame that hope went too far.
Another symbol in “The Great Gatsby” was the eyes of Doctor TJ Eckleburg ( often referred to as ‘the eyes of God’) are a billboard. The eyes are of a forgotten oculist that “watched over the valley of ashes” (which represented the moral and social decay that results from the uninhibited pursuit of wealth, as the rich indulge themselves with regard for nothing but their own pleasure.) The meaning behind it was that they seemed to be like God, watching down on the city and society and judging them harshly through the lenses.
These details are just examples why I say that it requires a lot of analysis to understand the book fully. While the symbolism plays an important part- possibly the most important, another is the literature. Now, you could go and watch the movie but it has a greater impact when reading. It’s the wording, the magic of giving life to the words that gives it it’s meaning. Even the simplest of quotes take you back:
“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.” (Meaning we shouldn’t waste time now when the ones we love could be gone tomorrow)
-Meyer Wolfsheim (Jay Gatsby’s boss in the bootlegging bussiness)
“If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him” (Meaning that he wa smae of many flawed moments and memories)
I know I cried at least 4 times on the last two pages. But it was this quote alone that always hits me:
“He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Gatsby continued to chase the (American) dream, getting blinded by materialistic things and losing touch with reality- so often that he forgot of reality itself. However we continue to do it. We continue to dream, as people we can’t help it. That’s what made up the country we live in today- dreaming. Some of us live for the future, and some live in the past. But whatever it may be- we continue dreaming.
This paragraph in itself is the whole plot of”The Great Gatsby”. All of the love was a minor detail compared to the final page.
All in all, the book may not satisfy you if you aren’t one to get wrapped up in a world of interpretation or analyzing. It’s wonderful either way, but you may not be enchanted by the true idea. (However after this review, I think you could read it with the right mind of the true theme. No offense to people who don’t understand it, but saying it’s a “love-story” is like calling “Romeo and Juliet” a “romantic novel”)
5/5 green lights if yu like analyzing literature and symbolism
3/5 if you’re not fond of it