The Great Gatsby is the story of a young man Jay Gatsby, who suddenly comes into 'a good deal of money'.
Gatsby then decides to pursue his lost love Daisy, who by now, has married Tom Buchanan and has a child by him. Gatsby buys a house that overlooks Daisy's house and throws lavish, open parties in the hope that Daisy would saunter into one of his parties someday. Finally he meets
Nick Carraway, his new neighbor who happens to be a distant cousin of Daisy. Gatsby sets up Nick to arrange for their meeting, and thereafter launches on his mission to wean Daisy away from Tom.
The novel is set in America in the early 1900-s. At this time in world history, America was rapidly emerging as a super power. Sociologically, this meant that the American people were riding on a surging wave of economic well being. Old social values were giving way to new social aesthetics. The glitz of money, status and power shone bright in the eyes of the nouveau rich. Jay Gatsby represents this new social order. Gatsby throws lavish parties for people he does not know, lives in a palatial mansion he does not need, and orders a new set of fashionable clothes for each season. And yet his father, lives away from his son, comes to his son's funeral 'bundled up in a long cheap ulster against the warm September day'. This represents the new world order that was coming into place in America, of which Gatsby and his friends were the spokespeople.
The book is written like a story being told to us by Nick Carraway, Gatsby's young neighbor. Nick happens to be distantly related to Daisy and is thus picked up by Gatsby to facilitate the revival of Gatsby's romance with Daisy. Nick therefore gets to witness the string of events in the novel from a very close range. In his narration of the story, Nick's affinity to Gatsby is clearly visible. “ I found myself on Gatsby's side, and alone.” So objectivity while reading the novel is primarily the reader's responsibility.
Also noteworthy in the writing style of 'The Great Gatsby' is the poetry present in Nick's depiction. 'So when the blue smoke of brittle leaves was in the air and the wind blew the wet laundry stiff on the line I decided to come back home'- Sentences such as these reveal the romantic, idealistic aspect of Nick.
To me, 'The Great Gatsby' represents the pursuit of a shallow love and ideology that culminates in utter self destruction. Gatsby, a man of the new American age of money and glamor, cheats his way into luxury, uses his flamboyance to impress the frivolous Daisy and ultimately succumbs to his own vacuous designs. Though Gatsby is lovable in his vulnerable quest for Daisy, he also shows up as a 'poor son-of-a-bitch' who deserved his bleak lonely end.
Book Reviewed By Ashmita Saha
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