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[298] The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

” The lawn and drive had been crowded with the faces of those who guessed at his corruption—and he had stood on those steps, concealing his incorruptible dream, as he waved them goodbye. ” [8:162]

Second review. Jay Gatsby purchases the most luxurious mansion in West Egg and throws lavish parties to which guests self-invite with a simplicity (and vanity) of heart that is its own ticket of admission. Neither do the guests know of the tycoon’s murky past, nor does Gatsby care for the rumor abuzz as to what abject lives he had led. The house, which commands a view of  the Buchanans’ home in East Egg, and parties belong to his meticulous plan to reunite with his first and only love, Daisy, Buchanan from five years ago before he left for war. He is hoping she would be at one of his parties.

I could see nothing sinister about him. I wondered if the fact that he was not drinking helped to set him off from his guests, for it seemed to me that he grew more correct as the fraternal hilarity increased. [3:54]

The narrator Nick Carraway, a Yale graduate and bond salesman, acts as Gatsby’s go-between to Daisy, who has married to the arrogant, conceited alpha male-type Tom Buchanan for security in Gatsby’s absence. She wanted her life shaped and the decision was made by some force—mainly of money and of practicality. Unbeknownst to her, Tom has a mistress in Manhattan and their affair incredibly plants the seed for Gatsby’s fall later in the novel.

I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue dawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. [9:189]

It’s indisputable that Gatsby creates a mystique of himself and chooses to live in an imaginary world. The goal to to give emotionally and physically to have Daisy back. He has taken a romantic view on what happened between him and Daisy; but his unrestrained desire, which boils precariously when he confesses his love for her in Tom’s presence, also dooms him. Not for once do I doubt Gatsby’s love for Daisy, by any affection between them is only preserved by his lust for wealth and possession, for Daisy has a profound on his thoughts about wealth.

[Gatsby] hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his possessions in a dazed way as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real. [5:96]

The Great Gatsby is a tragic love story that takes place in a society of which the values have gone awry. Gatsby is a man of desperate love who has been blinded by rotten values. He doesn’t know that while pursuing his dream, it’s already behind him and that Daisy will always be like that green light at the end of the dock in an unreachable distance. In breath-taking lyricism, with sensitive insight and keen psychological observation, Fitzgerald discloses in these people a meanness of spirit, carelessness and absence of loyalties. He doesn’t judge them, nor hates them, for they are dumb in their insensate selfishness, and only to be pitied.

216 pp. [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]

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21 Responses

  1. The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favorites. As a teacher, my students have loved this book, and me, as an avid reader and book blogger, this is one I’d recommend to everyone!

    • To me it’s perfect fiction: encompasses a world view on society, namely, love, money, and marriage. It’s beautifully written and makes use of numerous subtle (but not cliche) symbols.

  2. I’m reading this for the first time. Just at the second chapter, but I am already enamored. It’s odd because even before picking up the book — hell, even before owning a copy — I had the conviction that I would like it.

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying the book. It makes me very sad that a man would be so passionate about pursuing his love, and yet his approach has gone awry.

  3. This defintiely deserves a re-read. I am curious how my perspective has changes since highschool!

  4. SUCH a classic. I read it in high school and remember loving it.

  5. This is one of my favorite “classic” reads. I’ve read it about 3 or 4 times now and always happy to read it again. I think as I grow older I pity Daisy more and more.

  6. The Great Gatsby is the book that is responsible for my interest in studying literature. I absolutely love this novel. I need to read it again sometime.

    • The novel is such a model of what literature should be. Consider how often we revisit the book, it lives up to the definition that classic is a book that never finishes what it has to say.

  7. One of my all-time favorite reads. I really must reread this some time soon.

  8. This is one of the first classics I can ever remember enjoying. In fact, I believe I was the only one (at least who said it aloud) who liked it in my high school English class. It is on my list to re-read this year.

    • I never read Gatsby in high school. The teacher assigned instead Tender is the Night. When I first read it in college, I was too flighty to understand all that it implies. It’s meant to be read over and over again as I get older.

  9. […] I have already established that I have more than one favorite authors and whom I read on rotation. F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the authors, and his male lead, Jay Gatsby, my favorite character. My favorite quote is one that is unforgettable and timeless from The Great Gatsby: […]

  10. […] me The Great Gatsby is more than an American classic. The text is so rich that it’s moral meaning is unlimited, […]

  11. […] any author or character, who would it be and why? I have always fantasized meeting Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. Not only that I want to be a dinner guest at his luxurious mansion, I also want to meet him and […]

  12. […] THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald. A tragic love story that takes place in a society of which the values have gone awry. Gatsby is a man of desperate love who has been blinded by rotten values. He doesn’t know that while pursuing his dream, it’s already behind him and that Daisy will always be like that green light at the end of the dock in an unreachable distance. Fitzgerald’s language once again proves that his prose is unfilmmable, without the latest release of the film adaptation. […]

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