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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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3.9

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Published by Simon and Schuster
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s, and one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s, and one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

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Publish date: Apr 23, 2013
Added to Scribd: Mar 14, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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04/11/2014

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I
n my younger 
and more vulnerable years my father gaveme some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind eversince.“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me,“just remember that all the people in this world havent hadthe advantages that you’ve had.”He didnt say any more, but we’ve always been unusuallcommunicative in a reserved way, and I understood that hemeant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’minclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened upmany curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detectand attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normalperson, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secretgriefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences wereunsought—frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, ora hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign thatan intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the
CHAPTER I
o
1
 
intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marredby obvious suppressions. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snob-bishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelledout unequally at birth. And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come tothe admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be foundedon the hard rock or the wet marshes, but after a certain pointI don’t care what it’s founded on. When I came back fromthe East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be inuniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wantedno more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into thehuman heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name tothis book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby, who rep-resented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, thenthere was something gorgeous about him, some heightenedsensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to oneof those intricate machines that register earthquakes tenthousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified underthe name of the “creative temperament”—it was an extra-ordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I havenever found in any other person and which it is not likely Ishall ever find again. No—Gatsby turned out all right at theend; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated inthe wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.* * *
F. Scott Fitzgerald
2

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laneliterati reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Surprisingly relevant, considering it was written long before World War II was even a thought. While it doesn't say anything about gangsters or bootlegging outright, it still makes the 1920s come alive. Like a lot of classic literature, there are no happy endings here, but the characters are definitely memorable, if more hedonistic than likeable.
shanaqui_1 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
I'm pretty glad The Great Gatsby was short, because I didn't really care for it. I didn't hate it, I just didn't fall madly in love with it or anything. It was okay. Nothing better. I know it's a classic and I should probably sit having deep thinky thoughts about it, but it didn't really inspire me to do so. I didn't like the characters, and while the writing is clear and easy to read and pretty good prose, there's nothing that set things on fire for me, either. It seems to be mostly about rich people wasting time and money for ridiculous reasons. I don't feel for the characters in it and I can't really understand why people give it five star reviews and insist it must be read.

I just feel so... ambivalent about it.
ldvoorberg reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I read it for grade twelve English. I recall enjoying it, which is saying something because I disliked gr12 English.
Upon reading it again, this time for teaching gr12 English, I was able to appreciate the character development, the symbolism, and themes even more. A great classic -- short and easy to read, too!
eidzior_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
The Great Gatsby, for me, is like coffee or wine. Hated it the first two times I tried it but now that I've gotten used to it it wasn't all bad. I wish that I had been a better reader in High School because it's a very interesting, sad, and exciting novel.
salgalruns reviewed this
Rated 4/5
The thing I love most about this book is the style in which it is written. Fitzgerald manages to make the storyline flow as if you are currently a guest (invited or not) at one of Gatsby's parties. The conversation is a mix of introspection (which always seems to happen when alcohol is involved) and random thoughts of things to do or topics to discuss. You are constantly switching gears within the storyline, but yet it works so amazingly well. I may adjust this review to include more depth later, but for now, just wanted to write about his style.
indreamsawake reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Hard to believe I was an English major and was never made to read this book! Although I probably appreciate it more now than I would have back then. I think one of the criteria for a "Great American Novel" is that it is timeless. So many attitudes from this novel prevail today, such as the over-indulgence and self-absorption. I kept thinking that someone should be a re-make of the movie and set it in present-day Hollywood.
Anyway, if you're one of those that thinks "Great American Novels" are boring and mere long passages of description, read this one, you'll be pleasantly surprised. And if you like satire, this is the benchmark for that genre.
I'm still not convinced though that this is "The Great American Novel", as others are enclined to label it. Personally, I'm still partial to East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath, which I think more encompasses the American experience.
melissarochelle_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Read from August 02 to 03, 2011, read count: 2About 11 years ago, I read this in high school. I remember not loving it. Then a couple of years ago, I read The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories and LOVED them. I knew I had to give Fitzgerald and Gatsby another chance. It took me a little while, but here we are.I had forgotten so much about it! The history, the way the stories connect, the selfishness of the characters, the language, the ending...ah!
barb_h_1 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
Didn't like it very much. It was slow and pretty boring and definitely not my type of book.
canadianbill_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
A great window into the mindset of young adults in the 1920's and 1930's, showing us that even years later, not much has changed.
jaylehnertz reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I am not certain how long ago I first read The Great Gatsby. It was not in my youth nor, I suspect, in my salad days. I had some maturity, I believe, but apparently not enough to fully appreciate the magnificence of the Fitzgerald masterpiece. I must have read it with an eye to finishing it rather than focusing on the course itself.

So much of my reading through both graduate school and my working years dealt with non-fiction: histories, historical studies and criticism, didactic monographs—instructional pieces if you will. It was always the end and/or the thesis of the book that was important: the pages in between were either expository or instructional. It was easy for me to carry that approach to the written word over to fiction. I probably read much fiction in my more youthful days as if it were a mystery story—an Agatha Christi-- with the solution or the answer or the punch line in the final chapters. It was the end that rewarded the reading.

With The Great Gatsby as with so much of great literature, the pleasure is in the journey—in the slow development of the story and not just in the mystery of Gatsby’s life or in the story’s resolution. Fitzgerald elegantly chronicles a world of privileged people decaying in America just after World War One and during Prohibition. It was America’s Jazz Age and Fitzgerald captures one part of that world pitch perfectly: its decadence and decline interwoven with the epoch’s remake of medieval Europe’s Courtly Love (how else to understand the relationship between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan?).

Here, for example, Fitzgerald’s description of Nick Carroway’s first encounter with Daisy and her friend, Jordan Baker:

The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just blown back after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor.

It is an image that catches exactly the sultriness of wealth. The reader can both see and feel dissonance.

Or, as another example of Fitzgerald’s writing, consider the scene toward the novel’s end when Nick finds Gatsby floating dead in his swimming pool:

There was a faint, perceptible movement of the water as the fresh flow from one end urged its way toward the drain at the other. With little ripples that were hardly the shadows of waves, the laden mattress moved irregularly down the pool. A small gust of wind that scarcely corrugated the surface was enough to disturb its accidental course with its accidental burden. The touch of a cluster of leaves revolved it slowly, tracing, like the leg of transit, a thin red circle in the water.

Here an image that captures the novel’s sense of suffocation and discord. And again the wind, that is a constant in the novel by either its presence or absence.

Ultimately The Great Gatsby chronicles a contemporary tragedy built around the themes of infidelity, jealously, rage, greed, and moral decay. The Great Gatsby defines a social consciousness that continues to this very day to thrive among part of America’s segmented society.

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