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Why “The Great Gatsby” is my favorite book?

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“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald takes place on Long Island in the early 1920s. Gatz is from a lower class Midwestern farming family who falls in love with the wealthy well bread Daisy. The two are unable to marry and live happily ever after as they are from vastly different backgrounds and social status. Gatz enlists in the military and upon the end of his service is befriended by a wealthy benefactor who employs him “in a vague personal capacity”. Gatz’s employment provides him the opportunity to see the world, and experience life on the other side of the social strata. His adventures allow him to reinvent himself and upon the death of his benefactor, Gatsby purchases a mansion on Long Island, near the now married Daisy, and begins the process of recapturing her favors. I have read this book in my junior year of high school. It was I truly memorable book because it was taught by an enthusiastic and descriptive teacher.

It’s what isn’t written and the hidden, subtle meanings between the lines and my potent reaction that makes this book one of my favorite classics of American Literature. Also Fitzgerald’s elegant, almost dance-like, symbolic and deep prose; yes, many might react surprisingly at the word “deep” to describe “The Great Gatsby”, but many simply did not see that- in portraying the shallowness of the characters. The fast-paced 1920’s eastern life of the rich and notorious, and the struggles of one man-Gatsby-to rise above his past, ancestry and misplacing his meaning in life to one, undeserved woman-a well-hidden depth of meaning and understanding of what mankind should strive for and unfortunately what most miss was clearly pointed out in the novel.

As I talk to my fellow classmates about this novel, I get the feeling that many misunderstood this novel and main theme of the book: as we try to look into the future-be it for our ambitions, fulfillment, happiness, or love, and turn our dreams into realities-as Gatsby so desperately strived for, you are forever thrown back into your past that has been forgotten by many, for your past shapes the paths you take, your past and past decisions leave their marks and has often dire consequences on your present and future life. It is a message to be cautious and savor yesterday so that you do not fall and regret tomorrow. It is in this essence that Gatsby stood out from the others in the story and met a tragic fate at the hands of the careless, shallow, rich and the confused. Who Gatsby was, his flaws, and misplaced love fore Daisy was of no consequence, that was not Fitzgerald’s point and many missed it by looking solely at the plot and shallow characterizations and dialogue.

While Fitzgerald pointed out many obvious human traits like snobbery, excessive romanticism, carelessness of others’ feelings, betrayal, and the shallow curiosity of other people’s dramas, as well as the social discrepancies between the rich and the poor scornfully and with distaste, he was barely skimming through the true meaning of his novel.

It was not a coincidence that the first 3 settings of the novel mirrored the last 3 settings of the story, in which the past meets the present and affects the future of every main character. The mirror image of the beginning and end of the novel closes the dramas that had unfolded so successfully and so unexpectedly you have to give pause, and with awe come to appreciate the genius of the writing.

And if that still leaves you confounded of what had just happened, it is in the first 2 pages and in the last 2 pages that Fitzgerald bluntly voices what he truly desires for the reader to understand.

Even though “The Great Gatsby” did not necessarily change my life but it definitely made me better understand the concept of Old vs. New money. It changed the way I view wealthy people. Even though some do get born into the prosperous families, others earn their way of life.

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