2 Nov 2014

Review - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Title: The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rating: 4/5 stars 

Synopsis: Some said he had been a German spy, others that he was related to one of Europe's royal families. Nearly everyone took advantage of his fabulous hospitality. And it was fabulous. In his superb Long Island home he gave the most amazing parties, and not the least remarkable thing about them was that few people could recognize their host. He seemed to be a man without a background, without history; whose eyes were always searching the glitter and razzamatazz for something... someone?

My thoughts:

Huge expensive cars, jazz music, glamorous parties and fountains flowing with champagne: this is the roaring twenties – this is Jay Gatsby’s world. But who is this Gatsby, this phantom of a host, this mysterious stranger, who lets a great mass of people invade his house every Saturday so they can let off the steam? Who is this man, the subject of so much gossip? – the question wouldn’t stop bugging Nick Carraway, the young clerk who’s just moved to Long Island, or to be exact right in the neighborhood of Gatsby’s mansion. He soon gets an answer. And another. And another. The complexity of Jay Gatsby’s personality and the romantic, gloomy setting of his past seem to mesmerize Nick. There’s only one thing that’s certain: Gatsby is in love with a woman, who is no other than Nick’s cousin and who is happen to be married.

I read the book for the second time now, and the reason why I decided to do so is that we’re going to discuss it on my American Literature class in a few weeks’ time. Well, first of all, I have to say I’m so glad I re-read it! This time I was able to enjoy the atmosphere of the Jazz age much more than I had for the first time. I’m not a party-goer, you see, and so the idea of endless partying kinda terrifies me, but I understood more of what motivated the characters and this gave me a different grasp on the story and through that on the twenties’ America. 

Gatsby is by far the most fascinating character for me in this book, he strangely stands out of the crowd that surrounds him all the time. He is beyond the meaninglessness that pervades the summer air his guests breathe, he has a dream, he has a goal: to get his love, Daisy back. I like how determined he is, I like the fact his ambition to make a fortune – whatever illegal way he’d done that – was based on love.

His rival in the story – Tom Buchanan, Daisy’s husband – is a total brute, I have no idea how Daisy can bear him. As for Daisy, I don’t know whether I like her or not. I imagine her as a beautiful, seemingly confident woman, but she’s not independent, she craves to be controlled and she needs someone, who would make decisions instead of her.

Nick, our narrator, is a lovely guy. He’s from the west and he’s as much an outsider as Gatsby is, maybe that’s why they understand each other (Isn’t that so, old sport?).

Other than the characters I adore the parallel that Fitzgerald draws between driving and living in the novel. Careless driving indicates the same way of leading one’s life, which can result in serious consequences.

As you can tell, and I can only repeat myself, I enjoyed the Great Gatsby very much. You will too! Go and read it!

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