The Great Gatsby - Long and Short Answers, Literary Essay Example

Published: 2022-03-02
The Great Gatsby - Long and Short Answers, Literary Essay Example
Type of paper:  Course work
Categories:  The Great Gatsby
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1812 words
16 min read

"The Great Gatsby" is a novel by F. S. Fitzgerald, written in the '20s and is based on the happenings of 1922. The story is told by Nick Carraway, a young man who was once a neighbor to Gatsby. A classic novel may be defined as one that people can relate to from any location and in any generation. Such a story allows people to have a deeper insight into their surrounding world using general topics and themes that may not be time-bound. The book features the American Dream, which later becomes corrupted. It also features a love story that was flourishing between Gatsby and Daisy. Even though the book is a commentary about a people of varying culture and age, the relevance of the story still rings today as it was when it was first authored. Given that the book explores universal themes among which are hopelessness of life pursuits inherent in human beings, human mistakes and man's contest with fate and time are well brought out in a very captivating way. The book comes out as one full of wit and suspense.

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The book is set in the period after the First World War when the American Dream was seeing people from the diverse background or social class achieve happiness and success as long as they could work hard. A lot of changes was occurring among the populace at the time, famous of which was the middle class that was roaring as it arose (Fitzgerald 14). The writer has successfully come up with a story about the pursuance of the American dream as is viewed by the narrator. The twenties saw the genesis of great indulgence into such immoral acts hitherto unseen in the society. It was a period characterized by both material and moral degeneration. Complete social and financial breakdown eventually ended into the infamous 'Great Depression' that dealt a massive blow to the economy of the United States of America (Fitzgerald 24). The book offers a stinging surgery of the most talked about the American dream and how it can sometimes go wrong, and what may happen in such circumstances.

The love affair displayed in the novel between Gatsby and Daisy also goes into proving that the book is indeed classic. The betrayal Gatsby suffers in the hands of Daisy in the former's pursuit for the latter is a common occurrence in the world of romance hence many people can identify with Gatsby's fate. Daisy's two suitors-Tom and Gatsby argue over who the lady truly loves. When Gatsby's bootlegging and other crimes are exposed, Daisy's allegiance is seen to be shifting towards Tom, an unrepentant adulterer. Gatsby was working to perfect the future, while Tom had successfully dug into his past that turned out to be his Achilles' heel. Gatsby believed he could repeat his history. He had this fanatical resolve and ambition to do again what he had done before, so long as it could earn him Daisy that he loved so much (Fitzgerald 84). Fitzgerald here tries to show his readers the traits of a man whose dream is to relive the past and restore the time he lost.

This part of the movie is quite essential as it is the point when Gatsby's aspirations, paralleled with the American dream gets shattered. All he had sweat for, the dream he had tirelessly chased after was destroyed in a flash, bringing his 'greatness' tumbling down. With Gatsby's death, we realize how sometimes we can fail to achieve the goals we spend the better part of our lives working hard for. Similarly, the American Dream can be very elusive. Gatsby had purposed to winning over Daisy his life purpose, and even sacrificed much towards this course; losing her, therefore, was not an option (Fitzgerald 156).

The book has remained relevant despite the long time it has been available. It has maintained its modernity despite the changes in the society, enabling it to stay popular even as generations of readers evolve. College students seem to view it very positively, despite the content being more about the old culture. Professors also find it a delightful novel to teach.

The element of crazy love, one that is irrational is also evident in the movie. It is something that most people especially youths can quickly identify with. What makes Gatsby unique is his motivation. Although he draws his wealth out of bootlegging and gambling, he is not driven by greed, but by his resolve to have Daisy back. The book is about some deep obsession with history. Gatsby would hear none of the idea that Daisy is married with a daughter. She lost her but now wants her back, pushing him to do such an awkward thing as buying a mansion across from where Daisy is living with the Buchanans, making him appear more like a lazy mischievous stalker. Most of the main actors in the book are pushed on by either some love or a deep desire for sex (Fitzgerald 174).

Fitzgerald employs the literary style of writing in prose, but he is the type that displays a high-level mastery of language; one that does not die. His sentences are evidence of a writer whose ear is pitch-perfect. There is no single careless sentence. Fitzgerald did not only concentrate on the story but paid even keener attention to how he told it. He not only documents the events that transpired but has said it in a very artistic way and a unique voice.

The pretentiousness of the elite is brought out in a stark manner by the author when he juxtaposes the sensibilities of the working class and that of the elite. He brings out the stark contrast of how the selfish life of snobbishness and indifference of a category of people can control the welfare or otherwise of the other group. Cited is how Daisy and Tom shattered the dreams of Gatsby of wanting to marry Daisy, and continued living their lives as if nothing had happened, making them appear as sadists. The elite portrayed a high level of greed, cynicism and a never-ending yet vain pursuance of wealth, affluence and pleasure in the Postwar period of the 20s (Fitzgerald 137). The elite in the novel hosted weekly parties together, but when Gatsby died, his funeral was only graced by Nick, Henry Gatz, the postman, a few servants and the minister who officiated at the graveside ceremony. Despite being famous amongst his friends during his life, Gatsby becomes wholly forgotten in his death to the extent that not even Meyer, his business associate would stay with the party to mourn him. There is a sense of a clash between the moneyed old and the young trying to acquire wealth and to have a sense of belonging to the past. The latter, however, cannot allow this.

The position of women in the society is also brought out quite explicitly in the novel. Written at a time when the womenfolk were not highly regarded in the community, Daisy is heard describing what she believes the society will expect from her young daughter- 'to be foolish' and only do men's bidding. With such a statement, Daisy is merely echoing the sentiments of the vast number of women of her time, i.e., their acceptance, position, role, meekness, and relevance (Fitzgerald 102). One tough question the reader is left asking is whether or not Daisy has married Tom out of love or she is merely a victim of the society that is not keen to offer women a career path but is ready to entice them to romance and marriage with a promise of money and excellent life.

The writer portrays Gatsby as one who always believed in the future, one who was optimistic that despite the current situation, the future would somehow be positive, brighter and better. He did not allow the ever elusive dream to engulf and frustrate his hopes. Gatsby is seen here as one piling up his wealth for the future, and in this case, he looks forward to a future with Daisy even though the latter is already married to Tom. Gatsby could not distinguish between the love he had for Daisy which was a reality, versus the disturbing illusion he had that he was able to invoke her passion by conjuring up his criminal past, and somewhat acquire enough wealth to enable him to marry her. On the night Nick left, he went to Gatsby's house, and to the shore where Gatsby once stood, stretched out his arms and noting how the boats were moving up and down the river. This was prophetically depicting how human beings are all like Gatsby- trying to advance, but occasionally getting pulled back to the past. Boats moving up a river goes forward but continually experiences the pull of the past (Fitzgerald 178).

Fitzgerald has successfully put together the characters of a villain and a hero together in describing his description of Gatsby. Initially, a villain who was into bootlegging and other crimes like gambling and was disdained eventually becomes considered a hero in that he can fight for a course he believes into a tragic end. Even though he ends up dying, his death is not occasioned by his crime life but by his pursuit of the lady he loved. Gatsby is here portrayed as the epitome of heroism and mainly a demonstration of fundamental human strength expected of men (Fitzgerald 170). Nick, the narrator, can see Gatsby differently; as a "great" man and a hero, his corrupt wealth notwithstanding. Gatsby's life was characterized by successes and failures, which stalked him all the way to his death.

The novel has brought out the theme of sex, money, and power, which resonates very well with all current societies. Gatsby and friends seem to be too engrossed in alcohol and womanizing, as seen in the parties they held where drinks flowed freely- they could spend an entire afternoon drinking alcohol. The likes of Tom are seen here to be openly engaging in adultery. The meeting session is characterized by drunkenness and a fight between Tom and Myrtle over Daisy. They get carried away by rage, Tom breaking Myrtle's nose (Fitzgerald 924). The novel tries to bring out how people acquire their wealth, how they spend it and how their pursuit of riches shapes their decisions in life. The idea here is that money is the source of happiness, but again it can lead to tragedy.

In conclusion, therefore, it is right to say that the book rightly fits its categorization by most readers as a 'timeless classic' in the world of literature. Most writers have termed this book 'incomparable' to others. A novel should be more than a mere record of history. The artistry and crafting involved should be superior. 'The Great Gatsby' has achieved just that and more.

Work Cited

Fitzgerald, F S. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995.

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