1.Introduction dream, which has social corrupted values. Fitzgerald also

1.Introduction

When one thinks of classical American fiction, one of the first books,
that come to mind is the Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The novel
revolves around a lot of different themes such as greed, power, betrayal and
the unachievable American dream. 
Fitzgerald depicts the 1920s, also called the Jazz age, as a period of
carelessness, excessive wealth and the never ending pursuit of acquiring more
money. Thus, the original concept of the American dream seems to no longer
exist and is replaced with a new dream, which has social corrupted values.  Fitzgerald also uses a love story in the book
as a mask to express his disagreement with the social standards of the
time.  However, the Great Gatsby is much
more than the excessive lifestyle of the wealthy, it is also about the
difference in social classes and how they influence each other throughout the
novel.

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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, or more popular as F. Scott Fitzgerald was
a short story writer and American novelist, whose works depict the Jazz age.
Even though the author was not exceptionally successful when he was still
alive, he is at present one of the most recognized American writers of the 20th
century known mainly for his novel ” The Great Gatsby”.  When he was only 24 his first novel found
realization. (Mizener,2018)

 

 

 

 

Summary of content

The story is told by the character of Nick Carraway in the summer of
1922 right before the Great Depression. Nick comes from Minnesota, but goes to
New York to pursue an occupation of a bond salesman. He soon rents a house in a
district of Long Island with the name “West Egg” an area, in which
the wealthy, self-made individuals live, not very far from the mansion of the
secretive millionaire Jay Gatsby, in which he likes to throw lavish parties.
But his background is unknown and not a single person knows how exactly he made
his fortune. Nick is also acquainted with some inhabitants of East Egg such as
his cousin, who is a member of the established upper class. One evening, Nick
goes to the other part of Long Island – East Egg to a dinner with his cousin
named Daisy Buchanan, her arrogant husband, Tom, and Jordan Baker a legendary
golfer, who is a friend of Daisy. Nick differentiates himself from the others
living in both West and East Egg – he has a way more grounded and genuine
personality. Later on, Nick learns more details around Tom and Daisy’s life,
that is he has a mistress. As one later finds out, the woman’s name is Myrtle
and she and her husband George Wilson are the owners of a modest gas station in
an industrial grey area on the way between New York city and West Egg called
” The valley of ashes”. Shortly after that, Nick is  invited to a flashy party of Gatsby’s, who
organizes them for the rich part of the society. Later on in the novel, Nick
finds out, that Gatsby has a fake identity and his real name is James Gatz, who
met Daisy, a pretty rich girl, when he was on a training to become an officer
in the town of Louisville. Eventually, they fell in love and Daisy promised
Gatsby to wait for him ,but married the wealthy and arrogant Tom instead. Nick
also discovers how Gatsby became rich – by the means of criminal activity
(bootlegging), as he was determined to do anything, in order to become part of
the upper class and win Daisy. At the party he was invited to, Nick learns
through Jordan, that all those parties are just to win his love back. After a
while, Daisy and Gatsby renew their relationship. Not long after that, Tom
begins to have suspicions of their relationship and confronts Gatsby. On the
way back from the Plaza Hotel, Tom, Nick and Jordan drive together in one car
and Gatsby and Daisy in another car. The former soon find out that Myrtle,
Tom’s mistress has been ran over and killed by a car, which looks like it has
been the car of Gatsby. Gatsby later shares with Nick, that it was not him
driving the car, but Daisy, although Gatsby is determined to pretend it was him
and take responsibility. The next day Tom misleads George telling him, that
Gatsby was driving the car, which then results in George finding Gatsby and
shooting him. Thus, Nick decides to escape the hollowness and moral decay of
the wealthy by going back to his hometown.(Fitzgerald, 1925)

3.Analysis
and evaluation of the book

The reviewer has read the book many times simply to
admire the brilliance of  a writer who
can paint with words scenes, emotions and characters like no other.  The novel is a comparatively easy read and
provides a number of colorful descriptions, but at the same time, it is
incredibly thought-provoking. Furthermore, it is a short book in which
Fitzgerald used sharp, to the point poetic prose that can make the impression
of flowing from page to page. It is truly a captivating read, which haunts you
even after you finished reading it. The variety of interesting characters is
also appealing. The reviewer really enjoyed reading this classic and found the
time period and setting of the story (the roaring 20s) very engaging. One could
also learn some historical facts about the 1920s and gain deeper understanding
of the way life was back then.  For
instance, the descriptions of the parties, which Gatsby would throw , the
setting and the clothes really helped the reviewer visualize the time period.
One of the main aspects of the book, which really made the reviewer love the
story is the friendship between Nick Carraway and Gatsby. Although Nick knew
Gatsby is not the man he presents himself to be, he saw beyond the big mansion
and fancy parties, that Gatsby has a kind and loyal heart, which are admirable
qualities not seen in Daisy and Tom who are careless and live shallow lives.
One example of the good nature of Gatsby is when in chapter 7, Gatsby stays
outside Daisy’s house until early in the morning just to make sure that her
husband Tom does not hurt her. Ironically though, the same good qualities
Gatsby possesses  later lead to his death
when he chooses to take the blame for a crime Daisy committed out of love for
her. Another memorable part of the novel is in chapter 6 when Nick is trying to
convince Gatsby to not have big expectations about getting Daisy back, to which
Gatsby answers with certainty that it is possible to repeat the past. In the
reviewer’s point of view,  Gatsby is
given the name ” Great Gatsby” , because of his persistent strive
with with making his dreams reality.  The
reviewer felt really bad for Gatsby, because despite being a criminal, he is
just a man, who is driven by love and his goal of being with Daisy like in the
past. In some way, Daisy herself is the symbol of the American dream, which
Gatsby strives for. 

The reviewer found some evidence from history, which
actually explains a lot of the events and values from that time period in the
novel.

After WWI the rise of the stock market resulted in a
sudden increase of riches across the nation and also in materialism.Individuals
started to spend and consume like never before. So  an anyone belonging to any social class had
the chance to make a fortune and something of himself, but was still not
entirely accepted by the people with old wealth. (Bloom,2009)

But as the reviewer later found out in the novel,
Fitzgerald saw the American dream being originally about the pursuit of
happiness, discovery and individualism. However, through the characters
portrayed in the book one learns that, this dream has been corrupted by rotten
social values and easy money. The author captures brilliantly this idea in the
main plot of the novel as the dream of Gatsby being with Daisy is destroyed by
the difference in their social statuses and the materialistic nature of her
lifestyle. Gatsby simply does not seem to belong to the emptiness and moral
decay of the upper class for he is a hopeful and caring person.

A symbol in the book, in the reviewer’s opinion, which
leaves a lasting impression is the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, that
the reader first finds out about in the end of chapter one.  Before Gatsby is even described as a
character with his qualities, he is seen as a man stretching out his arms
towards something he can’t seem to reach. What makes this symbol so appealing
is that it is a metaphor of Gatsby’s dreams and hopes for the future.  The green light symbolizes the gap between
the present and the past and the emotional and physical distance between him
and Daisy.

The final lines of the novel are considered by the
reviewer to be philosophical in nature, because the narrator of the story
explains how we’re all a little similar to Gatsby, going forward but inevitably
getting pulled back by our past.

4. Conclusion

All in all, the novel depicts an idealist’s efforts to
relive the past. Gatsby created his identity around rotten values, which are
the values of the American dream, portraying the idea that wealth and
popularity are everything there is to accomplish in this world. The American
dream is depicted in a negative light in the book, conveying the message, that
all this popularity and wealth does not lead to happiness. In fact, the
majority of the novel’s characters are living sad, unfulfilled lives, corrupted
by greed and hypocrisy. The corrupting power of money is letting the wealthy
escape from the consequences of their deeds. Gatsby’s party guests, for one,
are people who merely come for his lavish parties, but when Gatsby dies, not a
single person from them bothers to attend his funeral. It could be said, that
the  book is still relevant in today’s
society, in which greed, materialism and superficial relationships are present.

5. Recommendations
and further reading

The reviewer would recommend this book for readers,
who are either in high school or older, as some points of it can be difficult
to grasp. The novel is also a very good source of information if one would like
find out more about the lifestyle in America back in the 1920s. Furthermore,
the book provides many different fascinating topics for discussion and one can
also find parallels to today’s society.

One of the books the reviewer would recommend is
called “Scott Fitzgerald’s the Great Gatsby” by Harold Bloom. The
next book has the title ” New essays on the Great Gatsby” written by
the author Matthew J. Bruccoli. Another book recommendation is called “The
letters of Scott Fitzgerald” by Andrew Turnbull. Lastly, the reviewer
strongly recommends ” F. Scott Fitzgerald and the craft of fiction”
by Richard D. Lehan.