This week’s question:
Have you ever used a book to instruct someone of something or is there anyone for whom you would like to do that? (I don’t mean a text book for a class, but a work of fiction or non-fiction that would get a certain message across either through plot or character). What is the book and what do you wish to impart?
To me The Great Gatsby is more than an American classic. The text is so rich that it’s moral meaning is unlimited, constantly renewing. The novel 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.
I always recommend this novel to friends who have yet had a chance to read. This is one book that needs to be read and re-read in one’s lifetime because of the unlimited possibilities and meaning. Compared to the roaring twenties and Fitzgerald’s time, we’re so much more privileged and connected through the advent of technology and amenities. Yet I also feel our values have gone bankrupt. I’m not even talking about the lack of integrity and transparency in how this country is run, how Wall Street have perpetrated fraud, but down to the minute details of everyday life I see selfishness, the bloated sense of self-entitlement. It’s all ego, ego, ego. Tom and Daisy Buchanans everywhere. We might be more endowed and well off in terms of living standards but in the moral department we can be impoverished.