“[Gatsby had] an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again” (Fitzgerald 2). I am almost worried to give my opinion on the great American classic The Great Gatsby. Published 90 years ago and still beloved by the world of literature, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a literary work of art. Fitzgerald, the author of several other novels including This Side of Paradise, Tender Is the Night, and The Love of the Last Tycoon, based this novel in the 1920s, also known as the Jazz Age. “F. Scott Fitzgerald called it a time when "the parties were bigger, the pace was faster, the buildings were higher, the morals looser”” (PBS). Fitzgerald captured the ’20s in full swing when he wrote this renowned novel, and he did it in such a way that require me to grant it a 4 out of 5 star rating.
When Nick Carraway moves to West Egg, New York to learn the bond business, he moves into a crowd surrounding him the very wealthy. He first is introduced to friends when his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, invites him to her home for tea in East Egg, just across the bay. This is where he meets Daisy’s husband, Tom, and her friend, Miss Jordan Baker. This is also where Nick learns that things are different in East and West Egg compared to Minnesota. Daisy and Tom have obvious marital issues, and Jordan knows all the gossip on them and about a Mr. Gatsby who lives just across the bay.
Nick’s curiosity grows about Gatsby as he hears more and more gossip about him. “I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited.” Nick then explains that “people were not invited- they went there.”(Fitzgerald 41) Gatsby’s mansion was a place everyone went to be social. People came to take advantage of the expensive food and drinks always served, to have fun, and to forget the woes and worries of the world. The funny thing though, was that most people didn’t know Gatsby specifically. When Nick arrives at the party, he sets out to find him before the night is over and is surprised to meet him by randomly socializing.
Normally when a story is shown through the eyes or perspective of one person, in this case, Nick, the story is about that person. In The Great Gatsby, you’ll find that this isn’t entirely the case. Nick is used as a prominent enough character that he can be called a main character but the story revolves more around the lives of his friends and more specifically, Gatsby. Fitzgerald’s characters differ from the characters in many of our modern-day novels because of the time period that they live in, because of this, and the fact that they are fabulously wealthy and prominently know throughout their own crowd, I think that they aren’t as easy to relate to. The Jazz Age came after WWI when people were trying to forget war and were trying to start a new life free of death and fear. Because of this, Nick’s friends are carefree and lively. Fitzgerald develops each character with care. Sagaciously he made sure that we knew just what we needed about each person.
Just because the characters are developed clearly and carefully doesn’t mean that I have to like them. I wish F. Scott Fitzgerald would’ve changed is how likeable the characters are. I understand why they have so little morals. It goes with the era and how people were back then. If Fitzgerald had changed this aspect eve a little bit I think that the book would’ve been more celebrated. “None of its characters are likable. None of them are even dislikable, though nearly all of them are despicable” (Vulture).
Throughout the unraveling of the story we watch and learn about Gatsby’s undying love for Daisy and what measures he took to be with her. We see the contrast of morals between Nick, Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom. A master with the pen, F. Scott Fitzgerald superbly painted pictures into our minds, creating this spectacular piece.
Something that made The Great Gatsby so interesting was that the plot was never what I was expecting. I always was left to guess what would happen next. The book was based on an event that really could’ve happened. This factor made it so interesting to read. It made me curious to see how this great American author would conclude his well-known novel. Fitzgerald could’ve taken his book in so many different directions, but I am glad that he chose the way that he did.
Beautifully written, Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby should be read by all people at some point in their lives. High school students and older would understand this work the best and be able to begin to appreciate it for what it is and has to offer. I have benefitted from reading The Great Gatsby because it gave me the opportunity to dip deeper and try to understand the meaning. I have grown from reading this book.
Fitzgerald’s final words at the end let you rest with a solemn lesson to be learned. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” These final words teach us a lesson: that our pasts will always be a part of us. We can never fully escape what we have already gone through. It will always be with us. We are all like Gatsby in a way because we have left a mark in time. Though we may feel small and insignificant, our tiny ripples in the water continue to roll throughout time and will continue to as we constantly move forward in life.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2013. Print.
Schulz, Kathryn. "Schulz: Why I Despise The Great Gatsby." Vulture. N.p., 06 May 2013. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
"The Jazz Age." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.