Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Classic American, Modernist, Jazz Age
Publication: April 10, 1925
It’s also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby’s quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means–and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. “Her voice is full of money,” Gatsby says admiringly. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy’s patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout.
Non Spoilery Review:
I’m sure most of you have heard of this, read it, or seen the movie by now.
This is definitely one of my favorite classics. I love Fitzgerald’s symbolism and imagery in this novel. From the green light, to his rampant usage of the color yellow and the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckelberg, there are so many different interpretations and connections of symbols. Even the small details like Owl-Eyes and Fitzgerald’s many descriptions of Daisy’s voice contributed to the overall literary brilliance.
We have to talk about the characters in this novel. For those of you who have seen the movie, I do not think it did Jordan Baker justice. She’s probably one of the few characters in this novel that I did tolerate. She’s a liar and she’s proud, just like everyone in this society that Fitzgerald seems to be criticizing, but at least she’s interesting. Classic Jordan: “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
And our narrator, Nick. Nick claims that he is one of the few honest men that he knows, but someone who has to assert that, only shows dishonesty. Most of society around Nick is dishonest to each other. They put on big, elaborate personas to seem rich and high-class. Nick is just not completely authentic to himself. His infatuation with Gatsby seems to distort his perception of all the events in his novel, and he almost places Gatsby onto a pedestal, away from his judgments on the rest of society. Also, his desire to fit in with society influences his actions (such as that day in the apartment with Tom, Myrtle, Catherine, etc.)
Now Daisy… Daisy is one of my least favorite characters in literature. She’s self-centered, annoying, dependent on men, but she is also a realistic representation of women in that era. Fitzgerald does a fantastic job with her character, and the way she was able to leave with Tom and not even go to Gatsby’s funeral at the end was infuriating.
“Tom and Daisy–they smash up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made….” So true, Nick Carraway, so true.
And Gatsby. We see the dangerous consequences of Gatsby’s all-consuming, obsessive love for Daisy and his refusal to let go of the past. He constructed his entire life around this one girl and many people tend to laud him as a romantic hero. However, he also has his faults; Jay illegally made his fortune and lied his way up into society (his identity isn’t even real!), but us readers feel bad for him (because let’s be honest, Daisy is a real b—).
Also, the death scenes of Myrtle, Gatsby and Wilson were written really, really subtly. If I didn’t know what had happened, I would have had to read those parts a couple of times to realize what had happened. However, the writing was still beautiful