This story is a lot of things, but a love story is not one of them. Though one a cursory reading, the book may seem about Jay Gatsby’s pining for the woman of his dreams, Daisy, the book is oh so much more.
‘The Great Gatsby‘ by F. Scott Fitzgerald starts off with our narrator, Nick being fascinated by his neighbour, Gatsby’s unending wealth and charm. But Gatsby has been in love with Nick’s cousin, Daisy for the past five years, since he met her as a young soldier. Gatsby, in that time has been earning as much money as possible and throwing lavish and extravagant parties, hoping someday Daisy will walk in. Daisy on the other hand, has married the bully, Tom Buchanan. Gatsby persuades Nick to reunite Daisy and him in a ‘coincidental’ meeting. And once Tom comes to know about his wife’s infidelities, he is enraged, even though he is an infidel himself. And then comes the big climax, where Nick finally sees that the Great American dream failed the Great Gatsby. In the end, Nick is left loathing the excessive lifestyle of the Buchanans and is contemptuous of Daisy’s wealth-driven obsession.
The book is about the Roaring Twenties in America, when money was in abandon and everyone was in a drunken stupor. It highlights the all aspects of this are depicted in the novel. And finally, he states they’ve all just been a farce, an attempt at happiness that couldn’t get anyone happy. Fitzgerald articulates this disillusion with haunting force, particularly voiced through Nick’s obsessive repulsion with the extravagant society his social status has allowed him and the sadness he finds while watching a ‘working man’ attempt to enter it.
The book is a wonderful critique in to the reality of life and the limited scope of wealth in it. With his shallow characters that seem to be lacking in the most basic of morals, the literary metaphors of each character are deep. The book depicts the 1920s in the best way possible, using imagery that leaves you in awe. Fitzgerald depicts and preserves an era in history in the greatest detail possible, all in a tale of single summer.
But ultimately, the book is about human flaws. The flaws that make us human also make us weak and vulnerable, susceptible to doing the wrong thing. The flimsy-ness of the soul, the hedonism and the wastefulness and the non-understanding that every decision we make has a larger bearing that we can ever realise, are echoed in every part of the book.
Overall Rating: 9/10
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