F. Scott Fitzgerald illustrates a decade and a lifestyle, which are both horrific and fascinating. The reviewer has read the book many times simply to admire the brilliance of a writer who can paint with words scenes, emotions and characters like no other. The novel is a comparatively easy to read and provides a number of colorful descriptions while, but at the same time, it is incredibly thought-provoking. Furthermore, it is a short book in which Fitzgerald used sharp, to the point poetic prose that can make the impression of flowing from one page to another. It is truly a captivating read, which haunts you even after you finished reading it. The reviewer really enjoyed reading this classic and found the time period and setting of the story (the roaring 20s) very appealing. One could also learn some historical facts about the 1920s and gain deeper understanding of the way life was back then. For instance, the descriptions of the parties, which Gatsby would throw , the setting and the clothes really helped the reviewer visualize the time period. One of the main aspects of the book, which really made the reviewer love the story is the friendship between Nick Carraway and Gatsby. Although Nick knew Gatsby is not the man he presents himself to be, he saw beyond the big mansion and fancy parties, that Gatsby has a kind and loyal heart, which are admirable qualities not seen in Daisy and Tom who are careless and live shallow lives. One example of the good nature of Gatsby is when in chapter 7, Gatsby stays outside Daisy’s house until early in the morning just to make sure that her husband Tom does not hurt her. Ironically though, the same good qualities Gatsby possesses later lead to his death when he chooses to take the blame for a crime Daisy committed out of love for her. Another memorable part of the novel is in chapter 6 when Nick is trying to convince Gatsby to not have big expectations about getting Daisy back, to which Gatsby answers with certainty that it is possible to repeat the past. In the reviewer’s point of view, Gatsby is given the name ” Great Gatsby” , because of his persistent obsession with manifesting his dreams into reality. The reviewer felt really bad for Gatsby, because despite being a criminal, he is just a man, who is driven by love and his goal of being with Daisy like in the past. In some way, Daisy herself is the symbol of the American dream, which Gatsby strives for.
The reviewer found some evidence from history, which actually explains a lot of the events and values from that time period in the novel.
After WWI the rise of the stock market resulted in a sudden increase of riches across the nation and also in materialism, as individuals started to spend and consume like never before. So an individual belonging to any social class had the chance to make a fortune and something of himself, but was still not entirely accepted by the people with old wealth. (Bloom,2009)
But as the reviewer later found out in the novel, Fitzgerald saw the American dream being originally about the pursuit of happiness, discovery and individualism. However, through the characters portrayed in the book one learns that, this dream has been corrupted by rotten social values and easy money. The author captures brilliantly this idea in the main plot of the novel as the dream of Gatsby being with Daisy is destroyed by the difference in their social statuses and the materialistic nature of her lifestyle. Gatsby simply does not seem to belong to the emptiness and moral decay of the upper class for he is a hopeful and caring person.
There is a scene in the novel, which provides deep insight about the values of the 1920s society and the role of women at the time. The reviewer found this scene really sad and revealing. In chapter one, Daisy tells Nick about her daughter’s birth and how she was glad that she’s a girl and hopes she will be a fool, because in this world the best thing a girl can be is a beautiful fool. The reviewer’s interpretation of this scene is that, Daisy realizes the lonely, careless and shallow world she lives in and she hopes her daughter will never be aware of the awful world she lives in. However, Daisy was not born a fool, she chose to be one, because of the values of the period she was born in. That is why she wants her daughter to naturally be a fool, because that is the only way to be happy and financially secure in the 1920s. Even though, Daisy is a spoiled, careless character, the reviewer really sympathized with her.
A symbol in the book, in the reviewer’s opinion, which leaves a lasting impression is the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, that the reader first hears about in the end of chapter one. Before the reader has even met the character of Gatsby, he is seen as a man stretching out his arms towards something he can’t seem to reach. Gatsby repeats this gesture over and over throughout the novel. What makes this symbol so appealing is that it is a metaphor of Gatsby’s dreams and hopes for the future. The green light symbolizes the gap between the present and the past and the emotional and physical distance between him and Daisy.