The Great Gatsby- Review
It was the 1920’s, prohibition had just begun but that wasn’t a problem. The stocks were booming, the first world war just ended, people were having affairs left and right, New York was the place to be.
Fast paced, businesses getting bigger, alcohol was being brought in and out, this was the setting for The Great Gatsby as well as the plot: illegal alcohol, New York, and affairs. This also happened to be the setting in which F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novel minus the affairs. Although Fitzgerald grew up in a rich home in the big city of St. Paul, Minnesota, he still got the idea of New York right.I wouldn’t have even read this novel if my dad had never told me about Fitzgerald himself, and it definitely wouldn’t be my favorite if the book wasn’t full ofbeautifully constructed themes and perfectly written lines.
My dad is one to know random facts about random things, and F. Scott Fitzgerald just so happened to be one of the random things he knew about. He was talking to me one day and since F. Scott Fitzgerald was from Minnesota he knew a lot about him. My dad told me how good of a novel it was. Before I even read the book, he told me that the main character Nick, was based off Fitzgerald himself.
Nick’s soon to be girlfriend Jordan was based off his wife Zelda. My dad also told me that Fitzgerald grew up in a very rich home in St. Paul, as I said before. Fitzgerald went to a private catholic school, and even though he grew up with all these things he still hated money and the rich.At that point in time the richthought they were above everyone and he believed they were full of false happiness.
He knew money wasn’t everything and that translates through the main idea of the book very well. The Buchanans; Daisy, the main character who is Nick’s cousin; and Tom, her husband, believed or were trying to believe that because they had money they couldn’t possibly be sad, but they were. This is one of the lessons I learned whilst reading this book, because one of the biggest realisations throughout it is that they are completely unhappy. Tom’s unhappiness mainly translates through his affair, because even though he has everything, money, a huge house, a beautiful wife- he still needs more. Daisy the same, however I believe she was a little happier than Tom was because she truly did love him, and didn’t need Gatsby, one of the main characters. There are many quotes that translate the idea of being unhappy even though they had “everything” and one of the best ones is: “I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool,” quote by Daisy Buchanan to Nick Carraway.
This quote could have several meanings- but in the sense Daisy was speaking I believe she was saying that it’s better to be ignorant than to be in the know. This falls back on her husband, Tom, having an affair, her having money, not being happy, and not being as in love with Gatsby anymore. She thinks she’s better off pretending that she’s happy with all her money and that she can keep living in the past, which is another very important lesson that translates throughout the novel: you can’t keep living in the past. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” ending quote of The Great Gatsby. Holding onto the past is something humanity does.
Even though we know we probably shouldn’t and people often get caught up in old memories and get sad when we realise they are over- we still do it. Which is something I learned from the book through Gatsby himself, as he held onto the past, his old romance with Daisy, and Daisy did as well. Gatsby knew he still loved her, but he was in love with who she used to be. Daisy, however, tried to convince herself that she still loved Gatsby and in a sense I think she did, but she wasn’t head over heels in love. Daisy I believe was trying to hold onto the idea of Gatsby and her because she was broken. Again this is well explained in this quote, “And in the end, we are all just humans.
.. drunk on the idea of love, only love, can heal our brokenness.” We are stuck on the idea that we are only alive to fall in love, and that as soon as you find someone everything will be okay; even when it ends up not being okay we keep that idea in our head. The idea that you have to find someone to love has been something that’s been forced upon us since we were children. From the adults around us falling in and out of love, and I feel like this is a quote and the novel truly explains that love can’t fix everything and neither can money.
The Great Gatsby is one of the most well written books I have ever read. “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had,'” these are the opening lines to the book, that really catch the attention of the reader. Fitzgerald I believe is one to have amazing hooks for his novels as he also starts his short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with an amazing hook as well; “As long ago as 1860 it was the proper thing to be born at home..
. Whether this anachronism had any bearing upon the astonishing history I am about to set down will never be known.” I believe the good hook is just the beginning of this beautifully well written novel along with the closing lines that make you realise that’s what the whole book was about and that’s what should be taken away from it. Another amazing thing Fitzgerald does is the character development throughout the novel, and the fact that Nick was based offhimself I think helped even more. Nick is brought up in a midwestern home with money, he went to a catholic school, but most importantly and most like Fitzgerald; he knew money wasn’t everything. Fitzgerald gives small hints at the beginning that Nick is wealthy: he descends from the Dukes of Buccleuch, he went to a private very nice school, and when the war came along his family sent in a substitute, someone to replace him.
The automatic thought I had is that he would be very big-headed, as I got further into the book I found out this is quite the opposite. Nick moves to New York because he believes it’s the best for him, not because of the booming businesses or the illegal alcohol. Fitzgerald doesn’t reveal everything about Nick right away, he doesn’t with Gatsby either. Nick at first seems to be a follower, a follower of excitement and what will bring him the best. This is anything but true, delving deeper into the story Nick’s character gets better and better.
Once he realises that all the Buchanans and Gatsby care about is themselves and their happiness, he doesn’t want anything to do with it, by the end of the novel Nick realises that the excitement and wealth of New York isn’t for him, leaves back to Minnesota, and breaks up with his girlfriend. My dad showing me the book and the fact that it is so beautifully written and has so many life lessons in it are just a few reasons why I love the book. Life is a poem, it’s messy, complicated, and doesn’t always work out. Sometimes you would like to start over unfortunately you can’t because you’ve written in pen, so you have to try to scribble it out and go back over what you’ve already written. Sometimes that sounds a lot better than what’s about to come, so you try to delve back into it, except there’s not enough space in between the lines for you.
Existing is just one big rough draft for what’s to come.