“The Great Gatsby” is a classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald that has captured the hearts of readers for nearly a century. Set in the 1920s, the story takes us into the world of Jay Gatsby, a wealthy and mysterious man who is obsessed with winning back his lost love, Daisy Buchanan.
As a book that is widely considered a masterpiece of American literature, “The Great Gatsby” has been adapted into films, plays, and even video games.
It has become a cultural touchstone and a symbol of the American Dream. In this review, we’ll explore what makes “The Great Gatsby” such a timeless masterpiece and why it’s still worth reading today.
Currently, the paperback of this absolute classic is available on Amazon for less than USD 6.
“The Great Gatsby” tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who has risen from humble beginnings to become one of the wealthiest men in America. Gatsby is known for his lavish parties, which are attended by the rich and famous of the era.
However, there is more to Gatsby than meets the eye. He is obsessed with Daisy Buchanan, a woman he fell in love with years ago but lost to another man. Gatsby spends his time and money throwing parties in the hopes that Daisy will attend one of them and fall in love with him again.
The story is told from the perspective of Nick Carraway, a young man, yet a World War I veteran, who has just moved to New York City to work in the bond business. Nick lives in a small house next door to Gatsby’s mansion in Long Island and is quickly drawn into Gatsby’s world of excess, extravagant parties, and intrigue. As Nick gets to know Gatsby, he learns about Gatsby’s past and his obsession with Daisy. The story climaxes with a tragic ending that leaves the characters and the reader questioning the meaning of the American Dream and social status.
One of the central themes of “The Great Gatsby” is the American Dream. Gatsby embodies the idea that anyone can achieve success and wealth in America if they work hard enough. However, the story also explores the corrupting influence of money and the dangers of pursuing material wealth at the expense of love and happiness. Fitzgerald shows us that the Dream is not always what it seems and that the pursuit of wealth can lead to destruction and tragedy.
Another important theme in the novel is the concept of illusion versus reality. Throughout the story, we see how the characters create illusions for themselves and for others. Gatsby creates an illusion of himself as a wealthy and powerful man in order to win back Daisy’s love. Check out my review of Murakami’s Norwegian Wood which also explores the theme of illusion versus reality.
Daisy creates an illusion of herself as a naive and innocent woman when in reality, she is just as corrupt as the rest of the characters. The Valley of Ashes, a desolate area between New York City and West Egg, symbolizes the stark contrast between illusion and reality.
The motif of time is also prominent in “The Great Gatsby.” The story takes place during the 1920s, a time of great social change and upheaval. The characters are all trying to hold onto the past, whether it’s Gatsby’s obsession with his lost love or Daisy’s longing for the innocence of her youth. The novel suggests that the past is something that cannot be recaptured and that the characters’ attempts to do so only lead to pain and suffering.
Fitzgerald’s writing style is often described as poetic and lyrical. He uses vivid imagery and symbolism to create a rich and immersive world that draws the reader in. His prose is full of metaphors and similes that paint a picture of the characters and their surroundings.
Fitzgerald’s use of color symbolism is also notable in “The Great Gatsby.” The color green represents Gatsby’s hope for the future and his obsession with Daisy. The color yellow symbolizes corruption and decay, as seen in the Valley of Ashes and the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. The color white represents innocence and purity, which is ironic given the corrupt nature of the characters in the story.
Fitzgerald’s writing also captures the spirit of the Jazz Age, with its fast-paced, high-energy style. He uses dialogue and slang to create a sense of the time period and the culture of the era. His descriptions of the parties and social gatherings are so vivid that the reader can almost hear the music and feel the excitement of the crowd.
The characters in “The Great Gatsby” are complex and multifaceted, each with their own motivations and flaws. Jay Gatsby is the most enigmatic of the characters, a man who is both admired and despised by those around him. He is driven by his love for Daisy, but his obsession with her leads to his downfall.
Daisy Buchanan is a tragic character who is caught between her love for Gatsby and her loyalty to her husband, Tom. She is selfish and shallow, but also vulnerable and sympathetic. Tom Buchanan is a wealthy and powerful man who represents the corruption and decay of the era. He is a bully and a philanderer who is willing to use violence to get what he wants.
World War Veteran Nick Carraway is the narrator and the moral center of the story. He is an outsider who is drawn into the world of the wealthy and the powerful. He is a sympathetic character who is both fascinated and repelled by the excess and the corruption around him.
As a 35-year-old woman, I first read “The Great Gatsby” in high school and have revisited it several times since then. Each time I read it, I discover something new and relevant to my life. What makes “The Great Gatsby” such a timeless masterpiece is its ability to capture the spirit of an era while also addressing universal themes that are still relevant today.
The story of Jay Gatsby’s rise and fall is both tragic and romantic, and Fitzgerald’s writing style is both beautiful and haunting. The characters are flawed and complex, and their struggles with love, ambition, and morality are relatable to readers of all ages and backgrounds.
The themes of illusion versus reality, and the passage of time are as relevant today as they were in the 1920s. The novel’s critique of materialism and the corruption of wealth is especially relevant in today’s society, where the pursuit of wealth and power often leads to moral decay and social inequality.
This classic novel was filmed in 2013, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the titular character. The film captures the excess and glamour of the roaring 1920s in all its glory. The plot follows the young and enigmatic millionaire Gatsby as he tries to win back the heart of his former love, Daisy Buchanan (played by Carey Mulligan), who is now married to the wealthy and brutish Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Set against the backdrop of the opulent Long Island society, the film explores themes of love, obsession, and the illusion of the American Dream.
What sets Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby apart from other adaptations is his unique visual style, which is both grandiose and extravagant. The film is shot in 3D, and Luhrmann uses an array of visual effects, such as slow-motion, fast cuts, and a vivid color palette to create a surreal and dreamlike atmosphere.
The film’s soundtrack also features modern music, with artists such as Jay-Z, Lana Del Rey, and Florence and the Machine contributing to the score. This blending of contemporary and period elements creates an electrifying and immersive experience for the audience.
Despite mixed reviews upon its initial release, The Great Gatsby has become a beloved and iconic film, with many praising its stunning visuals and strong performances. DiCaprio’s portrayal of Gatsby is particularly noteworthy, capturing both the character’s charisma and vulnerability. Mulligan and Edgerton also give standout performances, bringing depth to their characters’ complex relationships.
In conclusion, Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby is a dazzling and extravagant film that captures the essence of Fitzgerald’s novel while also adding its own unique flair. The film is a feast for the eyes and ears, with stunning visuals and a memorable soundtrack. It remains a must-watch for fans of the novel and anyone looking for a visually stunning and emotionally resonant cinematic experience.
In conclusion, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a timeless masterpiece that continues to captivate readers nearly a century after its publication. The novel’s exploration of illusion versus reality, and the passage of time make it a relevant and poignant commentary on modern society.
Fitzgerald’s beautiful and haunting writing style, coupled with his vivid imagery and complex characters, make “The Great Gatsby” a must-read for anyone who loves literature and wants to understand the human condition. I think it is fair to say everyone should read this jazz age, Fitzgerald’s masterpiece.