Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In the summer of 1922, 29 year old Nick Carraway has just moved from Minnesota to New York.  Nick rents a house in the West Egg district of Long Island.  West Egg is mostly populated with the newly rich who do not have many social connections and tend to find ways to elaborately display their wealth.  Jay Gatsby, Nick's next door neighbor is known for his extravagant weekly parties that are overflowing with alcohol and people Gatsby doesn't know.  In contrast, East Egg is a very fashionable area that is home to the more established upper class. While Nick lives in West Egg, he has family connections in East Egg and decides to pay them a visit shortly after moving to New York.  Daisy Buchanan (Nick's cousin) and her husband Tom are the exact representation of those living in East Egg.  They are extremely wealthy and seem to be living the "American Dream."  While Daisy and Tom appear to be happy and content, Nick soon learns that Tom is having an affair.  

Soon after his visit with Tom and Daisy, Nick is invited to one of Gatsby's famous parties.  He knows no one at the party until he runs into Jordan Baker, a friend of Daisy's.  This is also where Nick meets Gatsby for the first time.  Nick and Gatsby end up becoming friends and Nick discovers that Gatsby and Daisy were lovers before he went off to war and Gatsby has moved to West Egg with the sole purpose being to rekindle his lost love with Daisy.  

My Thoughts:
The Great Gatsby is one of those books I was supposed to read in high school, but didn't.  I didn't become an avid reader until I was in college, so I regrettably read the Cliff Notes instead of the actual book.  I decided that I was going to read this book before the new movie came out.  I read it in just a couple sittings and found myself very intrigued with the story and the characters.  They all seemed to be pursuing wealth and social status with the idea that it would bring them joy and happiness.  I love how F. Scott Fitzgerald shatters this idea by showing a group of people who are wealthy and have a great social standing, but are ultimately unhappy.  The Great Gatsby is by no means a story that makes you warm and fuzzy inside, but it is a story that shows how, in and of themselves, the pursuit of wealth and prestige will not make us happy.  

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