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The Great Gatsby

A novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The tragedy of a live unfulfilled, unloved and ultimately unlived!

  • Dec 30, 2009
  • by
"The Great Gatsby" is a sad book. But perhaps the saddest thing of all is that F Scott Fitzgerald's tragic, moving portrayal of the American Dream demonstrates that the typical American's pre-occupation with the yearning for wealth, class and an easier life can ultimately be so empty, so meaningless and so utterly unfulfilling.

When Nick Carraway left what he saw as a comfortable but mundane existence in the Midwest, he moved East to a magnetic New York City to learn the bond business. Renting a "weather beaten cardboard bungalow" in a town called West Egg on Long Island, he met a distant cousin, Daisy Buchanan; her husband, Tom, struggling to live up to the brilliance of a university football career in New Haven; and his next door neighbour, Jay Gatsby, an enigmatic man whose wealth had originated from mysterious means. The many rumours hinted at everything from Prohibition rum-running to murder.

The actual plot of the story, told through the eyes of narrator Nick Carraway, is so utterly pointless and virtually directionless as to leave the reader wondering how such simplistic, almost mindless melodrama manages to be so compelling and so captivating.

Nick tells the story of his move to New York City. We learn that Jay Gatsby had fallen in love with Daisy Buchanan several years earlier, at a time when he was an impoverished nobody and couldn't hope to marry someone like her. After Gatsby leaves to go to war, her subsequent marriage to Tom Buchanan is ultimately unsuccessful as Tom has an affair with Myrtle Wilson, the wife of a local mechanic. Jay Gatsy, now wealthy almost beyond imagining as a result of his involvement in criminal activities - the details of which are never fully disclosed in the story - asks Nick to re-connect him with his former love as he seeks to have Daisy admit that she had never stopped loving him since their first affair many years earlier. Gatsby desperately wants Daisy to confess she had never actually loved her husband at all.

The reader witnesses a non-stop whirl of debauchery as the shadowy Gatsby hosts an endless string of decadent, liquor-soaked bacchanales at his Long Island mansion. The readers are left to question Gatsby's motives as he is portrayed as an observer who never truly participates in his own parties. Indeed, the majority of his guests are clearly pretenders to his acquaintance and wannabe seekers of the trappings of wealth who have never even met their host and wouldn't know him to speak to him on the street.

The climax of the story arrives after a tragi-comic confrontational gathering of virtually the entire cast of Fitzgerald's tale - Tom and Daisy, Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway and his erstwhile lover, tennis player Jordan Baker - sitting in a steamy, overheated, hotel room sipping on iced mint juleps casually discussing whether or not Daisy's future rests with Tom or with Gatsby.

The brim of the cup that is "The Great Gatsby" runneth over with licentiousness, hypocrisy, greed, amorality, false friendship and weak-kneed love - in other words, a veritable cocktail of moral turpitude to sip or swill and digest while pondering its base flavours plus a variety of notes and subtle overtones.

In hindsight, it is also worth considering the irony that, as a bond trader on Wall Street in 1925, Carraway would have had but a scant four years remaining before encountering the Wall Street Crash and the utter collapse of his fantastical New York world. Perhaps F Scott Fitzgerald was prescient as well as a brilliant writer who would have us take away the message that it might be worth a moment to reconsider the true meaning and value of every American's fondest "American Dream"!

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss

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February 07, 2010
Very nice review, of a heck of a good book. I'm a huge Fitzgerald fan. My favorite novel of his, which I find immensely sad, is Tender Is The Night. Also love many of his short stories.
February 07, 2010
Very kind words. I'm flattered. Thanks very much.
More The Great Gatsby reviews
Quick Tip by . April 16, 2012
Money for Nothing,but the Chicks are free.Go nowhere love money power and sex .
review by . June 29, 2010
Daisy Buchannan tells Nick and Jordan that she hopes for her daughter to turn out unintelligent and pretty:  “'I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.'”  Daisy realizes that in “this world" — the society of the upper class in the 1920s — intelligence in women carries little value and a pleasant appearance provides the best chance of social distinction.  Daisy’s …
review by . June 29, 2010
I love The Great Gatsby (although I always was one of those kids who loved the books we had to read in high school.) I felt for Gatsby, and got caught up with Nick and the rest of the characters. It was very easy to relate to Gatsby's desire to belong in a higher standing than his own, and the overly easy way that Daisy had of being too rich for her own good.      The Great Gatsby is set in the 1920's, just before The Great Depression, when everything was a little bit …
Quick Tip by . April 12, 2011
I know this book gets quite a bit of praise but for me the novel just does not hold up to the test of time.  In some ways it reads like a modern love triangle or a look into the dysfunctional lives of a the wealthy.  It is an solid and entertaining novel, just not one that I would put in the pantheon of all time greats.
review by . July 27, 2010
It is quite astounding how the story flowed from the beginning ‘til end. I am dumb-founded how tragic the story is. Nevertheless, I am convinced that F. Scott Fitzgerald has moved the readers with this masterpiece. I wish to imply that the title itself is a bit ironic because “great” entails loneliness so long as the story is concerned. The thing is, even though Gatsby is a wealthy man he is actually sad despite of the parties he throws. Despite of its tragic end, the story is …
review by . July 09, 2010
Although this novel is over 80 years old, its themes and issues remain relevant to contemporary society. I have read this book at least once a year for the past eight years. Fitzgerald's characters may not be immediately empathetic, but they all are figures that are believable. The decadence of the Roaring Twenties is the setting for a drama that on one level is about failed romance, but that failed romance is much more. Our narrator, Nick, is not perfect himself, and his lens of the events …
Quick Tip by . October 31, 2010
In an era of school-board mandated this and multicult-approved that, this classic gets overlooked. But, in its lessons on American dreams, capitalist realities, and intimate betrayals, it sums up for me our national obsessions, and our fantasies of reinvention and flight from the past, splendidly. I wish every student would read it, learn from it, and recommend it. It endures beyond this year's bestseller titles...
review by . July 13, 2010
   Even though it has an unhappy ending, The Great Gatsby (published in 1925) is an insightful read. It certainly leaves a mark on one’s impression about the opulent past.Therefore, without a doubt, The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite literary novels. It’s one of those books that’s required reading in high school; however, it's also a book that can be savored anytime in life. Whether you're a high school senior or a grandmother, you'll …
review by . June 30, 2010
I know this book is a classic, but it is so awful! Maybe I was too young when I read it (I was in high school) to appreciate the point of the book. I just remember it being full of rich people and their decadent lives. Which sounds like it should be fun, but it was oddly depressing. Honestly, I couldn’t even finish reading it. I just remember this mess of people with hints of infidelity, suppressed love, there was some sort of car accident I think, a big party, and a good representation of …
review by . July 02, 2010
I read this book because it was assigned to me. I honestly loved the book. The author chose to tell Gatsby's story through Nick, a neighbor. At the beginning the book is a bit slow but after a while is one of those you can not put down. I would recommend anyone to read the book because it teaches you about humanity and social classes. The book takes place in the 1920s when women were beginning to come out of there shell. Jordan, Nick's girlfriend, is a good example of how women progresses. …
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Paul Weiss ()
Ranked #16
   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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In 1925, The Great Gatsby was published and hailed as an artistic and material success for its young author, F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is considered a vastly more mature and artistically masterful treatment of Fitzgerald's themes than his earlier fiction. These works examine the results of the Jazz Age generation's adherence to false material values.

In The Great Gatsby's nine chapters, Fitzgerald presents the rise and fall of Jay Gatsby, as related in a first-person narrative by Nick Carraway. Carraway reveals the story of a farmer's son-turned racketeer, named Jay Gatz. His ill-gotten wealth is acquired solely to gain acceptance into the sophisticated, moneyed world of the woman he loves, Daisy Fay Buchanan. His romantic illusions about the power of money to buy respectability and the love of Daisy—the “golden girl” of his dreams—are skillfully and ironically interwoven with episodes that depict what Fitzgerald viewed as the callousness and moral irresponsibility of the affluent American society of the 1920s.

America at this time experienced a cultural and lifestyle revolution. In the economic arena, the stock market boomed, the rich spent money on fabulous parties and expensive acquisitions, the automobile became a symbol of glamour and wealth, and profits were made, both legally and illegally. The whirlwind pace of this post-World War I era is captured in Fitzgerald's Gatsby, whose tragic quest and violent death foretell the ...

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ISBN-10: 0684801523
ISBN-13: 978-0684801520
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
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