Books - Reviews

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Title: The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott. Fitzgerald

Genre: Tragedy, Historical Fiction

Rating: 4/5

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald revolves around the themes of loneliness, isolation, and the unattainable American dream of upward social mobility. The protagonist of the story is Jay Gatsby, a mysterious rich guy who threw big parties at his place. He is the one through which the writer shows the failure of the American dream. Set during the 1920s, a period also known as the Jazz age, characterized by the pomp and show by the rich and elite classes, “The Great Gatsby” indicates the American dream is nothing but a ruse, and no matter how hard a person tries to achieve it, it will remain unattainable to a person belonging lower-class. Society won’t accept him no matter what.

The theme of isolation is quite dominant in the novel; it clearly shows that money can buy you luxuries and riches but can never buy you love, peace of mind, and class. All the characters in the story, despite being wealthy are lonely and dissatisfied with their lives. This can mainly be seen through the character of Gatsby, who throws big parties at his mansion, and invites all sorts of people but is lonely from inside. He believes that his money can buy him Daisy’s love, but he is wrong. His love seems more of an obsession which is quite unhealthy since it keeps him from moving forward. He is stuck in the past where he believes Daisy is still in love with him, as Nick puts it “he felt married to her, that’s all.” Therefore, Daisy becomes the only goal of his life which is why he suffers terribly in the end.

Similarly, Daisy, despite having all the riches and luxuries in her life is dissatisfied with her marriage. She seems quite a superficial and weak woman. The writer quite aptly describes the character of both Tom and Daisy when he says, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—– they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

This is exactly what the couple did to Gatsby. They created all the mess and very conveniently got away with it letting Gatsby pay the price of falling in love with Daisy. However, I wouldn’t use the word “careless” for them, I would say they are two superficial and selfish people who don’t care about anyone’s feelings except for their own.

Similarly, Gatsby isn’t a saint himself. He wants to achieve the American dream for all the wrong reasons. First of all, he wants to become rich because he is obsessed with the idea of marrying Daisy when he knows that she is already married. He could have moved on but he made Daisy the ultimate goal of his life and is unable to accept the reality. Secondly, he wanted to fit in with the people he couldn’t connect with. I believe he would have lived a better and more peaceful life if he would’ve accepted his fate and himself and moved on. By trying to become what he is not, Gatsby starts living a lie and that is what leads to his tragic end. Moreover, Fitzgerald’s idea of the American dream seems quite flawed to me as the American dream is a belief that a person can climb the social ladder through hard work, however, in Gatsby’s case, he resorted to illegal means to fulfill his American dream. Hence, I believe “The Great Gatsby” was not that “great”. Also, maybe he did achieve the American dream but did not realize it because his only aim in life was to win Daisy.

The story was fine. However, I love Fitzgerald’s writing style, the way he narrates the story through Nick, and his portrayal of characters and the descriptive passages all made it worth reading. Hence, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.