Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby is one of the great novels that offer quite a penetrative view of the American nouveau riche. It is an American classic that showcases one of the greatest love stories of all time. And although an extremely acclaimed book by many critics across generations, The Great Gatsby has received its dose of backlash.
Like many of Fitzgerald’s prose, Great Gatsby was an absolute delight and well crafted. The novel captures the lives of corrupted greed and translated it to one of the finest pieces of literature in the 1920s through the most powerful character, Jay Gatsby, an urban and world-weary figure.
The novel’s events are delineated through the narration of Nick Carraway, a young Yale graduate, who is both a part of yet separated from the world he lives in. Upon moving to East Egg, a slightly less grandeur compared to West Egg, Nick learns about the eccentric millionaire, Jay Gatsby. We don’t know much about Gatsby, even by the end of the book, and the very mystery and enigma that surrounds him are quite reminiscent of something murky. But despite the mystique personality of Gatsby, the rotten values of the American dream of money, wealth and popularity and his unrestrained desire for them, is what contributes to his downfall.
Although the foreshadowing of the Great Depression covers through every page, a rather salable representation of endless party seems oblivious to those around Gatsby. The reflection on the hollowness of life, with waves of literary brilliance, creates a rather rich and lush rhythm that can surely make your heart ache.
However, the characters in Great Gatsby are very flawed and hard to sympathize with. But that’s where the beauty lies.
Despite the high life that Gatsby leads, his dissatisfaction is duly noted by Carraway. It is after all about unobtainable love and the lack of respect towards marriage vows. We first learn about the hidden extramarital affair between Tom and Myrtle. This relation, however, seems inconsequential to Carraway, as both Gatsby and Daisy rekindle their old love for each other. This, on the other hand, leaves Tom both vicious and jealous, relating to the double standard at work making it quite apt to point about. The Great Gatsby is not only about the battle of sexes, but rather the inequity between them.
The book flips back and forth between the many perspectives about Carraway’s relationships and other relationships, connecting them in quite a smooth manner whilst appealing to the readers.
The deep character development of each character is a built-up persona that makes it a major appeal to any reader considering this book. Fitzgerald makes use of literary devices to bring each character to life making them unique yet relatable to the readers. He uses the first part of the book to build their personality making it quite descriptive and the latter, to deliver the hard truth.
Fitzgerald takes the reader for another spin as he begins to delve deeper into the knowledge and open secrecy of Gatsby’s fortune. And the power of Gatsby as a character is linked to his wealth. From the very beginning, Fitzgerald sets the playboy millionaire as an eponymous hero. However, what we miss out through the extravagant description is that Gatsby is just a man in love. And he had concentrated all his life to win Daisy back.
Fitzgerald continuously attacks the shallow social climbing, emotional manipulation along with the decadent cynicism of the characters of the novel. And while doing so, he also paints a picture of a lifestyle and a decade that is both fascinating as well as horrific.
The Great Gatsby captures brilliantly the American Dream when it had steeped into declension.
The various spectrum of the novel from the engaging character development to the combination of the Jazz age and fictional story, wrapped around the American Culture, makes The Great Gatsby worthy of being a redefined classic and a must read.