Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well. Friday is review day, and today, I am reviewing The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published in April 1925 by Charles Scribner’s Sons and (my copy) is 110 pages long.
The novel follows the life of Jay Gatsby, a wealthy businessman and socialite who aspires to win the affection of his former love, Daisy Buchanan.
Gatsby is the protagonist. He is charismatic, enigmatic and rich, living in a very wealthy part of Long Island in a huge mansion where he throws a party every Saturday night. He has devoted his life to achieving great wealth and status and even goes so far as reinventing himself, changing his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby.
Gatsby met Daisy at camp Taylor during his infantry training and fell deeply in love with her. When she later marries someone else, Gatsby decides to put everything into becoming a man of means and influence to win her back.
Nick, our narrator, has moved from the American mid-west to Long Island and, more specifically, to West Egg, where he rents a small house next to Jay Gatsby. Soon enough, he is formally invited to a party at the home of Gatsby, where he finally meets and befriends the man himself. He also meets Jordan Baker at the party, whom he later starts dating. Because Nick is a tolerant and easygoing guy, people feel they can open up to him without fear of being judged. Because of this, he is privy to the motivations, goals, and passions held by other characters, none more so than Gatsby.
Gatsby confesses that he has been in love with Daisy since before the war and that all his money and extravagant living are to impress her.
Nick ends up helping Gatsby win Daisy back and aids them in hiding their affair.
Daisy Buchanan is Nick’s affluent cousin and was raised in wealth and luxury. At 18, she meets and begins a short-lived relationship with Jay Gatsby. They promise to marry one day, but Daisy goes on to Marry a wealthy polo player named Tom Buchanan, whose unfaithfulness makes Daisy miserable, leading her to rekindle her love affair with Gatsby.
Later, when Daisy, Tom, Gatsby, Nick and Jordan Baker visit the Plaza Hotel, Gatsby and Tom argue about Daisy’s unfaithfulness. While Gatsby wants Daisy to admit she never really loved Tom, she is unwilling to, stating that she loves them both.
The arguing ends when Daisy drives herself and Gatsby away in his car. Unfortunately for Myrtle, she is killed when Daisy, who is driving, mows her down. Gatsby promises Daisy that, should they get caught, he will take full responsibility for the accident.
Tom is married to Daisy and attended Yale University with Nick. He is a racist and a compulsive womaniser, often treating the women around him with violence and contempt, though he does appear to love Daisy in his way.
Today, Tom would probably be the epitome of toxic masculinity. His aggression and controlling behaviour with his wife and Myrtl, his mistress, are classic signs, although his control over Myrtl diminishes when her husband, George, finds out about them.
When Tom finds out about Daisy and Gatsby while they are visiting the plaza Hotel, he is so confident that she will not leave him that he suggests she and Gatsby travel home together in Gatsby’s car.
When George arrives looking for answers about Myrtl’s death, Tom leads him to conclude that her lover and killer are the same – Gatsby.
This causes George to take the law into his own hands when he shoots Gatsby and himself.
The Great Gatsby is more than just a simple love story; Fitzgerald carefully weaves together themes of classism, identity, materialism and death in such a way that they complement each other, working together like cogs in a complex machine to form the story.
Ultimately it is these timeless themes that make The Great Gatsby relevant even today; no matter what era it is set in or read in, there will always be people striving for success despite insurmountable odds, and there will always be people clinging desperately to their material possessions thinking they will bring them happiness.
The novel is elegant and descriptive, painting a lively and vivid image of life in Long Island during the Jazz Age. It is populated with characters whose lives feel almost larger than real life, making them seem unrealistic, yet their flaws make them nonetheless relatable.
Their struggles help readers to understand that tragedy can be found even amidst beauty—a powerful message for anyone living in any period.
At first, I was hesitant to read the book simply because I have heard many people say how great it is over the years, and in my experience, more often than not, those types of overhyped books have not been worth the time. But, I decided to start the book and see if it piqued my interest.
Suffice it to say, it did, and I read it over four nights (I tend to do most of my reading at bedtime).
The Great Gatsby is an intriguing story of dreams and longing, exploring the depths of human desire and the alienation and corruption that often come with it.
It is a classic that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime – if not only for sheer enjoyment, then for its invaluable lessons about humanity and its endless search for something greater than ourselves.
Many movie and TV adaptations of The Great Gatsby have been made, which I am yet to see, although I am intrigued to see how the story translates from the page to the screen.
I’m rating The Great Gatsby 6/10.
Have you read The Great Gatsby or watched any of its adaptations?
As always, thank you for stopping by and checking out my review. It does mean the world!
Until next time,
© 2023 GLT
Categories: Book Reviews, Reading
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