August 10, 2013

BOOK REVIEW | The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great GatsbyBasic information
Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published by: Wordsworth Classics in December 1993
Rating: ★★★★☆

Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald's finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the 'roaring twenties' and a devastating exposé of the shallowness of the 'Jazz Age'. Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920's, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the dark mystery which surrounds him.

Whenever I read a novel like The Great Gatsby (read: classic) I regret we never actually studied books at my school. I know, I know, I was never in a literature class but that’s because that simply doesn’t exist in our schools I guess. We need to read books (against our will), we need to write a summary of it (without much interest – pls I can google that), we need to write our opinion on it (hardest part about it all) and then we hope we didn’t make too much spelling mistakes so we get a decent grade on our book reports. That’s how it goes around here. And that’s why I had such a hard time understanding The Great Gatsby.

It’s not exactly about the use of long sentences with words I have never seen or heard before because there is a simple explanation for that: my English isn’t perfect. It’s the fact that it’s hard to analize the story and the characters the way it should it be done. Thanks to the internet I was able to grasp the story better and understand it all.

Here’s my brief analisation of The Great Gatsby: the story basically revolves around Nick Carraway, who is our narrator, and his short relationship he had with Gatsby and a few other people. In the beginning Nick can’t decide whether or not he should like Gatsby or not because he doesn’t know that much about this guy. Yes, he gives great and extravagant parties and no, the guests are never invited. The reason Gatsby gives these parties and the reason he lives where he lives are revealed to Nick (and so also to us) slowly. On the other side of the bay live Daisy and Tom Buchanan and Daisy happens to be the girl Gatsby has been in love with for 5 years. He gives big parties hoping that one day she’ll show up and they can start all over again. Gatsby wants to repeat the past.

Basically none of the characters are very likeable. Gatsby wants to get what he wants so badly so he starts thinking irrationally (I mean, you don’t tell someone to tell their husband you never loved them – just no). Of course you cannot repeat the past. Gatsby forgets about a lot of other important things (example: Daisy has a child) and only focuses on that one thing. He also doesn’t believe or care that he was low-born and in that case it’s impossible for you to make it. Meanwhile the Buchanans don’t seem to care much about people other than themselves. Daisy nor Tom take the blame for what they did and let Gatsby turn up for all of it. Tom is also a racist and makes that very clear at some point: ,,Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life  and family institutions, and next they’ll throw everything overboard  and have intermarriage between black and white’’(chapter 7).
No one in this world cares about the others or about doing the right thing. As long as they get advantage of it, it’s all good. And even though the characters have many flaws and are, like I said, not very likeable, we can still find ourselves in them in some kind of way.

I ejoyed reading The Great Gatsby. It’s not a big book at all (mine was 122 pages) and there aren’t many long and boring passages. The story is unique and interesting and deserves the 4 out of 5 stars.

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