Author: F.Scott Fitzgerald
Publisher: Alma Classic LTD (2011)
Gift from: Fanda
Nowadays, The Great Gatsby becomes a trending topic in Twitter and headlines in internet or movie magazines, because the movie adaptation is coming out in mid May. Suddenly reading this classic is a hit, and the twenties never seems so glamorous and interesting. And when some of BBI-ers decided to have a read along, I immediately join the club. And wow, that becomes an unforgettable journey!
Nick Carraway was a young bachelor from Midwest who tried to push his way into financial kingdom in New York City. He came during the summer in 1922 and decided to rent a small house in West Egg, Long Island, next to a huge mansion belonged to Jay Gatsby, a young billionaire who had a mysterious background.
Nick met some of his old friends and acquaintances who lived in East Egg, the other side of the island. This was a place where rich people lived, and old money spoke aloud here. There was Tom and Daisy Buchanan, who were very rich and didn’t really live their lives in good moral values. Tom had a mistress and always thought about white supremacy. Daisy didn’t really care about her daughter and didn’t feel responsible as a mother, she thought that “girls will always be fools”. Nick also met Jordan, a female golfer whom he liked a lot but could not really be sure about. Jordan always had different values from Nick, mostly like everybody else in his new surroundings.
One day, Nick was invited into one of Gatsby’s glamorous parties. In the middle of crazy, drunk people, Nick finally met his neighbor, and had a glimpse of his mysterious past, including his everlasting obsession of Daisy Buchanan. And before he realized it, Nick had been trapped in the middle of Gatsby’s strong hope and obsession, love affairs and betrayals, and the searching of the past – and the hard reality that the past can never be repeated.
This is the first Fitzgerald’s book I’ve ever read. And my first impression was: you need patience to enjoy his books. His language was a bit long and flowery, with lots of metaphors that sometimes were hard to be understood. This is the kind of book that you can’t grasp its meaning just by reading it fast, you need to repeat the sentences and go back and forth.
One of the most famous metaphors in this book is the green light in Buchanan’s house. Gatsby looked at the light at night, tried to reach it- just like he wanted to reach his dream, his obsession- it’s so close but very far at the same time. And when finally he could meet Daisy, be with her.. It’s different than what he thought it’s gonna be. Reality is not as sweet as hope and dreams.
You can’t repeat the past.
Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!
Fitzgerald also loved to use ironies. In the Great Depression era, economics and moral state of Americans are together in the downfall. It was full of people partying, filthy rich people throwing out their money. Ironic. And you have to see the people coming to Gatsby’s parties!
Another scene: when Daisy, Gatsby and Tom were arguing about the love triangle commotion in a hotel room, there was a wedding ceremony right there in another room. How strange love is, how little sometimes a marriage meaning could be.. And what is love anyway? An obsession, passion, faithfulness or just a dream?
What I love the most about this book- besides its emotionally intense dialogues- is the narrator, Nick Carraway. His honesty and strict values are the best things happened in this book- and how lucky we are to see the story from his point of view!
How Great is Gatsby?
As a closing paragraph, I want to answer to a challenge from Fanda: do I think Gatsby is really great? Well, first of all, The Great Gatsby was not the original title of this book. Fitzgerald suggestions included Trimalchio and Trimalchio in West Egg, which were declined by the publisher. Other ideas were Gold-Hatted Gatsby, On the Road to West Egg, and The High-Bouncing Lover. Finally publisher decided to use The Great Gatsby, although Fitzgerald preferred Under the Red, White and Blue.
So I’m not so sure that Fitzgerald himself actually agreed that Gatsby was that great 🙂 But to answer the question: I don’t find Gatsby that Great, either. I mean, sure, he showed us that hopes and dreams keep man alive, he could even be successful thanks to his longtime obsession. But for me, accepting reality is also important, moving on from the past is even more profound. So it’s still debatable for me what’s so great about Gatsby..But sure, this opinion can change really quickly after I see the Great DiCaprio in the movie! 🙂
There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it. – George Bernard Shaw