There are lots of books that claim to be the best love story ever written. Only in the circumstances of this novel The Great Gatsby can that statement be applied and proven to be correct.
The story is set in America during the Roaring Twenties, and it is told by Nick Carraway, a guy from a well-to-do family who is looking to sell bonds after serving in the war. He relocates to East Egg, a slightly less opulent neighborhood just across from Gatsby’s estate. Gatsby is wealthy, mega-wealthy, and throws lavish parties every weekend that the entire town attends. The host, on the other hand, is never seen at these gatherings and is never entirely recognized by anyone. Gatsby has a horrible secret about his background and how he got to be so powerful, a profound yearning that will lead to his demise.
The Great Gatsby is akin to Romeo and Juliet in many aspects, but I believe it is much more than a love narrative. It’s also a musing on the hollowness of a leisurely existence. Both stories are obsessed with manipulating time: Juliet wants to extend her present because her future with Romeo is dark, while Gatsby wants to restore the past to create a lovely future. This is what prompts Gatsby to utter his most well-known remark “Is it impossible to undo the past? Yes, you certainly can.” I could totally connect to this; there have been numerous times when I wanted I could go back in time and just stay there since it was a better time.
Fitzgerald’s writing, like Romeo and Juliet, is almost poetic, with waves of literary brilliance generating a rich and beautiful rhythm that you can almost tap your foot to. The descriptions are startlingly, wonderfully lovely to the point of making my heart break.
Unlike Romeo and Juliet, however, the characters in The Great Gatsby are deeply damaged and difficult to sympathize with. But that is part of the book’s charm. You obviously despise Daisy Buchanan! You obviously despise Tom! You even start to loathe Gatsby, who demands that Daisy admit that she never loved her husband Tom in her five years of marriage. But Gatsby, in my opinion, remains Great till the very end of the novel.
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Only the idle affluent survive this novel, ironically, and Fitzgerald further enrages the reader about the world’s brutality and injustice as a result. The wealthy are allowed to continue to be irresponsible because, after all, isn’t that the dream? To have a carefree existence? Fitzgerald, on the other hand, emphasizes the perils of being careless: “They mangled things and beings and then went back to their money and carelessness.” What’s remarkable about this sentence is that Tom and Daisy aren’t careless enough to be malicious; it’s in their character. And that is a pretty sad thing in and of itself. They don’t give a damn about their daughter, Myrtle, Gatsby, or even each other. The Great Gatsby is the polar opposite of Romeo and Juliet, in which the loves are sacrificed and Verona is healed, due to their incapacity to care. Nothing is made complete in Fitzgerald’s masterpiece by this catastrophe.
Many people find The Great Gatsby melancholy because those who dream do not always accomplish their goals. However, Fitzgerald’s major message to us is that pursing an unworthy goal would lead to tragedy, not that dreaming will lead to sorrow.
Book Name: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
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