The American Dream

Review of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”

The Great Gatsby tells the story of Jay Gatsby and his search for wealth. The book is written from Nick Carraway’s point of view, a young man who has moved to New York after fighting in the war. He is Gatsby’s neighbour, and his first encounter with him is when he sees Gatsby looking at the green light on the opposite end of the lake. Gatsby throws a lot of parties, where rich people come to drink whiskey and crash their cars, all  to satisfy the american dream. Nick becomes friends with Gatsby and Gatsby starts to tell more about himself, even though he isn’t very interesting. He tells Nick he loves a woman called Daisy Buchanan, with whom he has had a relationship in the past, but she is now married to Tom Buchanan. Gatsby tries to get her back by showing how rich he is. The whole book is about Gatsby and him chasing this woman, and how Nick sees all of this.

It’s set in the 1920’s, right after the first world war. This fact probably decides the whole theme of the book. Nick and Jay have both fought in the world war, and are now part of the lost generation. They have seen so much blood and death during the war, that they are now trying to make up for it by giving fancy parties and drinking too much.

The book is beautifully written with nice words and long, flowing sentences. It also uses a lot of symbolism, for example all the yellow and golden objects that are mentioned in the book. Even the flowers are once described as “pale gold”.

Something that isn’t very appealing about the book was that it’s all very american. It’s all about the american dream, and although this is now of course an universal dream, it all feels exclusively american. Gatsby’s lust for money and wealth is so great, that he would literally do anything to get it.

Also,some of the characters are extremely annoying. Especially Tom Buchanan, such a rich, arrogant man, exactly what Gatsby wants to become. Also Daisy, who is basically a professional pretty person.

It’s a very well known book, and all around very popular, John Carey of the Sunday Times called it ‘A classic, perhaps the supereme American novel’. It’s one of F. Scott Fitzgerald smallest books, but also probably the most well known one. There have been several movies based on the book, and there’s nother one coming up this year, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It has also been made into an online video game. Maybe it’s a good idea to read the book before seeing the movie, but then again, life is fleeting.

“Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men”

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