on May 3, 2000
"The Great Gatsby" is a story of a man who is very rich and could buy anything he wants. But the only thing that he wants is his past love Daisy. Daisy is now unhappily married to Tom Buchanan, who is also very wealthy. Daisy is caught between her true love Gatsby and her husband Tom. Gatsby's quest to capture the love of his one and only Daisy leads to heartbreak and conception.
Fitzgerald does an excellent job in portraying the mood of the roaring twenties. Gatsby's parties are described very well and all the events show this time period. Fitzgerald also shows the lifestyles and the characteristics of the time period of all three classes of society. The three classes shown where Gatsby and the Buchanans as the upper class, Nick Carraway as the middle class, and The Wilson's of Asheville as the lower class. The second thing that Fitzgerald does well is capturing the reader's attention. The character Jay Gatsby is a very handsome and rich and is left very mysterious by Fitzgerald. This mystery of such a character draws the reader into the book. Later in the novel the reader attention is obtained by tragic and unpredictable events. One part where the author may not have succeeded in his purpose was showing how Gatsby obtained the "American Dream". The novel talks about how Gatsby is so successful, yet Fitzgerald never even mentions directly what he does for a living. Overall Fitzgerald is successful in portraying not only the characteristics and lifestyles of the time but also turning it into a popular novel that is very interesting.
on March 29, 1998
I believe THE GREAT GATSBY (that did not sell well in its day) is not Fitzgerald's best book. I think it has endured in academia because liberal professors like how it "damns" the American Dream. Gatsby tries to realize the American Dream by going from a poor boy to a rich man, and moving into high society. But he fails. (He never started down the American Dream trail anyway. Gatsby makes his money illegally, which is NOT the American Dream). Academics love when the American Dream is "shown" to be a house of cards. Then we can all embrace socialism. Fitzgerald actually wrote better short stories (especially "Absolution," which, ironically, was originally a childhood scene for THE GREAT GATSBY, but cut out). And Fitzgerald's contemporary, John O'Hara, said about Fitzgerald's later novel TENDER IS THE NIGHT: "Compared with TENDER IS THE NIGHT, THE GREAT GATSBY is greasy kid stuff." And O'Hara was absolutely right. TENDER IS THE NIGHT is a much better novel. Ernest Hemingway even thought TENDER IS THE NIGHT was Fitzgerald's best novel. GATSBY ain't bad, but if you want to read the best of Fitzgerald, check his other work out first.
on December 29, 2002
This slim novel of simple prose by F. Scott Fitzgerald is considered by many to be the greatest American story, the tale of what an empty life one can lead if one adheres too strongly to the American Dream. Jay Gatsby has risen to prominence in a method right out of a Horatio Alger novel. Born a Westerner of no consequence, Gatsby has acquired his millions and moved to Long Island for the single goal of marrying Daisy Buchanan, a woman he romanced for a month in his youth.
However, Gatsby's single-mindedness is his downfall. Every action, every acquaintance, every acquisition over a five-year span has only helped him to romanticize his quest. Gatsby fails to question whether he wants to belong to Daisy's world, and he cannot comprehend that Daisy's daily concerns about her wealth may temper her love for him.
Through the eyes of Nick Carraway, another misplaced Westerner, but one with his feet firmly planted in the less-manicured lawns of reality, Fitzgerald weaves a tapestry of the excesses of New York in the Jazz Age. It is a world of people bonded together by "their money or their vast carelessness" who "let other people clean up the mess they had made." Gatsby could not find fulfillment in his elaborate hoax because he is too honest to enjoy the illusion he created.
on January 22, 2002
I've just reread THE GREAT GATSBY for the first time since high school. It's amazing we had to read it in high school. How could a teenager understand all this stuff about adultery and materialism? I remember my eleventh grade teacher said that F. Scott Fitzgerald, "wasn't a first rate writer, but he was a very good second rate writer." Even in eleventh grade, I found that horrific. Why labor at all to write a book in the first place, pouring all your life blood into writing what would become a 20th century classic, just to have some high school English teacher dub you "a very good second rate writer"?
In my English teacher's defense, we were a very trying class. She was trying to get us to elucidate the symbolic meaning in the scene where Jay Gatsby stands on his dock and stares at the green light across the water. She said, "The dock scene . . . what comes to your mind?" The jocks who sat in the back of the class yelled, "Hickory Dickory Dock." The poor woman literally banged her head into the brick wall of our classroom.
Rereading THE GREAT GATSBY all these years later, I am struck with how fresh and utterly relevant it is. In essence, it isn't dated at all. What happened in West Egg in the Long Island Sound in 1923 could just as well have happened in Silicon Valley in the Dot Com Nineties. There are many Jay Gatsbys. Fitzgerald created an essential American archetype with Jay Gatz, the boy from North Dakota who wanted to reinvent himself and turn himself into something grand, based on the dreams he had for his life when he was 17. We catch a poignant glimpse of him as a thirty-year-old man who woos and impresses his long lost love with his swank mansion and his English tailored shirts. All glitter and glamour, the most important thing is that gaudy surface and facade that dazzles the eye. It says a lot about our culture, about the quintessential American dream.
on May 13, 2003
The Great Gatsby is a story about a group of characters that all see things in the wrong perspective. Gatsby, the main character, lives an illegal life for the love of a silly married rich girl named Daisy. Daisy thinks that ignorance will get women far in life. In my opinion she is pretty ignorant her self. Tom, Daisy's husband, thinks that money and power gives him the right to do what he wishes to do, including hit women and cheat on his wife with Myrtle Wilson. Myrtle is also married and hopes to one day live a glamorous life with Tom, but Tom is lying when he said he would leave his wife for Myrtle. Myrtle's husband, George Wilson, is a depressed man that looks at life as though it were covered in ashes. The others live in West Egg also known as New York, the city of sin. These confused individuals all have one thing in common and that is that their outlook on life is all wrong.
In the story I found that F. Scott Fitzgerald used colors to help express the characters. He did this by using the green light outside Gatsby's house to show that he had money; he used white dresses that Daisy, Daisy's daughter, and Jordan wore to show they were rich. The Valley of Ashes is a symbol of a gray gloomy dark depressed place. The author did this to describe the setting more clearly to the reader. I enjoyed the color coordination in the book. The colors make this book more interesting and unique.
The characters in "The Great Gatsby" were overall selfish people that really did not care much about anyone else. Gatsby's love for Daisy clouds his mind and the thoughts about how Daisy is married already and has a child. Their love affair could jeopardize Tom and Daisy's marriage and the daughter. Tom cheats on his wife regardless that there is a child involved. No one in the story really mentions anything about the welfare of the child. Everyone seems to be much too involved in other things. George just wants to up and leave so bad that he overlooks Myrtle's feelings. Myrtle hurts George to the point of depression, and won't even go to a church when his friend suggests it to him. Daisy leads Gatsby on, knowing that she can't and won't leave Tom. Nick's need to be friendly to everyone blinds him to the point were he can't prevent the tragedies that occur when it's possible to do so.
If I could change on thing about the book The Great Gatsby it would be Gatsby's love for Daisy. The whole love thing between Gatsby and Daisy dose not make sense at all. I would change this because Gatsby's love for her leads to tragedy. Gatsby could have done better. Gatsby was a strange guy that did too much for too little. Gatsby let himself be taken for granted.
I would recommend this book to anyone that is selfish or someone that looks at love, money, power, or dreaming as though this means everything in the world. These things may be good to have but, like in The Great Gatsby, too much can lead a person to his end. This is a book that made me really think about the consequences that result from selfish actions. This book has a great message about life.
on March 14, 2001
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a complicated tale comprised of many themes which are all linked together in a very clever fashion. Nick Carraway is the title character, who is from Minnesota. The setting is the 1920s, and Nick has just moved East, to Long Island. His neighbor is man by the name Jay Gatsby, but as he later finds out, that name is false. Although Nick lives in the West Egg, his friends live in the higher-class East Egg. Daisy, his cousin, lives with her husband there. Nick discovers that Tom, Daisy's husband, is cheating on her, with a woman across town, Myrtle. Both Myrtle's husband and Daisy know nothing of the affair. Nick meets Jordan Baker via Tom and Daisy, and they have an intimate relationship. As the story progresses, more information is revealed about Gatsby, and how he knew Daisy from a long time ago. In fact the sole reason that he moved to New York was to be near Daisy. Gatsby's complex emotions are that of a man who obsesses with power and wealth. His vision is to achieve power and wealth, which he has done illegally, and to achieve Daisy, who symbolizes power and wealth. Tom finds out about Gatsby's affair with his wife and asserts himself; Daisy does go back with Tom. While Daisy was driving home with Gatsby, she ran down and killed Myrtle, her husband's lover. Gatsby took the rap for her, as he still loved her. Myrtle's husband got word of who made him a widower and then tracked down Gatsby and shot him. He also killed himself. Nick tried to hold a funeral for Gatsby, but hardly anyone attended. Thus, he realized that New York was no place for him and moved back to Minnesota.\
The most prevalent theme present in "The Great Gatsby" is: "The grass isn't always greener on the other side." Nick moved to Long Island in hopes of getting rich. However, he couldn't see past the mask of fame and fortune to the low level of morality. In the end, he realized that he would rather live a simple, honest life than get tangled up in a web of deceit in New York. This idea is enough to make anyone think, and so did I. I have always thought it would be cool to live in an extravagant life in a big city. Being from a rural Midwest town, such as Nick and Gatsby, I often ponder the opposite lifestyle. However, like the characters in the book, I am not sure that I could sacrafice my morals an honesty just for a mansion, a BMW, and a yacht. At first thought, I would say that, "yeah," I could do without to get ahead, but after analyzing it, I bet I probably couldn't. This type of situation involving "the American Dream," really does depend on the strength of the person who is put into it. In the case of Gatsby and Nick Carraway, they could not handle it.
When looking at the "The Great Gatsby" for the first time, the reader does not know that the title is actually quite ironic. Gatsby was acutally the opposite of great. He lied about his past to almost everyone he met, he changed his name, and he became a criminal just to get ahead. This is not a person who is great. Contradictorily, he was great in the eyes of the people who perceived him. Even Nick, who knew the whole story, still had a feeling of respect and liking towards Gatsby after his death. The ending was good in that it reflected the themes of the book. It was fairly complex and complicated, but it did finalize the story.
I would recommend this book to more advanced readers. It contains a heavier vocabulary, and the theme are presented somewhat abstractly, but the story is great. "The Great Gatsby" is a classic book, and no one has an excuse not to read it. It really is an excellent story.
on June 9, 1999
I was very surprised by how good of a book this was. It was assigned by my english teacher during my senior year. Up until this time I never really had any assigned readings i any of my classes.
I wasn't thrilled with the first book we had to read, which was MY ANTONIA. I found that one boring and rather uninteresting at times. I expected the same from GATSBY. I am happy to say I was wrong to think this book was no good. It doesn't seem like anything special. It has a simple story about a wealthy man who falls in love with a woman he can't have, told from the point of view of another character who is friends of them both.
Seems boring, eh? Well, I don't know how Fitzgereld did it, but he wrote the book in such a way that it was both easy to read and fun. Normally even good books like the HOBBIT and 1984 have moments that you wish could end so you could continue with the book. Not this one. Fitzgereld writes only what we, the reader, need to know. Everything seems important and everything makes you want to continue on.
My only complaint would be that very rarely does anything truly spectacualr happens, which one would normally expect from a classic. But in the end, it doesn't seem to matter. It's a good book, plain and simple.
on February 5, 2000
What I meant by that statement was that I really must have missed a lot when I read this book. The reason I say that is because I'm an avid reader of classic fiction (great literature from the past and the present), but I just didn't understand why this is considered one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. I chose to read this book in part because of its "greatness" in the eyes of most reviewers. But I found myself 150 pages into it and still waiting for something exciting to happen. It started out slow and just got slower. But I just didn't get it. The ending was definitely surprising (I won't spoil it for whoever's reading this), but somewhat of an anticlimax.
What was the most depressing to me is that I have read many other great books that my friends have hated or found utterly boring, and I have just loved them. Examples include "Madame Bovary" "Lord of the Flies" "Great Expectations" and "Ethan Frome." But I must have just missed something major in this book. I understand all the fuss about the "American Dream" and how this is about the hollowness of rich living, but it seems that in writing about that hollowness, the book becomes hollow too. Well, I'm only 16 and in the 10th grade, so that definitely must be affecting something. I guess I'll just leave it on my bookshelf for a decade and go back and then we'll see where I am. For now, though, I might reread "Beloved" or move on to "Wuthering Heights."
on September 18, 2000
Considered by many to be one of the greatest novels of our century, this book presents a vivid chronicle of the Jazz Age and is a tightly constructed work of literary genius. In the novel, Nick Carraway tells the story of his neighbor Jay Gatsby, a handsome bachelor who has amassed a fortune as a racketeer in order to build a Long Island mansion and give fabulous parties that he hopes will enable him to win back the love of the married Daisy Buchanan.
This book is a story of the American dream and Fitzgerald's basic belief that the dream has been degraded and corrupted until it almost seems to be foolish to aspire to that dream because it would just make one morally derelict. The lower orders that aspire to infinite and instant wealth are trying to adopt the values and standards of the established rich class, which are already corrupt. Fitzgerald felt that American idealism had been corrupted by embracing materialism as its means. Fitzgerald believed that we are in a vicious circle, that the established wealth is corrupt but the new rich adopt to the same ideals as the old rich and they become corrupt and join the established wealth and then the new group aspires to the established rich values and so on.
A strong statement of the author's personal values and beliefs, it is also a highly entertaining read.
on April 2, 2000
...of course, that's just my opinion, and I obviously haven't read everything that's been written (or even a minute fraction of it!). However, I've never come across anything that so captured the profound wonder and sadness of the human condition. There are passages in The Great Gatsby which took my breath away, passages so perfect I couldn't believe that someone was capable of writing them. Hunter S. Thompson once said something to the effect that he couldn't imagine one word being added or taken away from this novel. Surely that's one of the highest compliments one writer could give another (it also gave me a newfound respect for Hunter S. Thompson, but that's beside the point...). Like most of Fitzgerald's work, The Great Gatsby holds up well as a period piece on young America in the Jazz Age. More importantly, it is a timeless metaphor of mythical proportion. The green light on Daisy's dock is the longing that drives us all; our dreams dissolve in the moment of fulfillment, leaving us with the bittersweet realization that it was only the dreams themselves that gave our lives beauty and meaning.