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Wordsworth Editions

Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald's finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the "roaring twenties", and a devastating expose of the "Jazz Age". Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920s, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.

Published: Wordsworth Editions an imprint of Vearsa Limited on
ISBN: 9781848703629
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Three stars? For The Great Gatsby? But it's F. Scott Fitzgerald!Exactly.Perhaps if I had read this classic in high school, as I should have, I would have been more impressed, but reading it now, spurred on by the new movie I haven't seen, left me underwhelmed. It is an unlovely story about unlovely characters. I don't have to like characters, but I have to at least find them interesting. Daisy and Tom and Gatsby are not. To paraphrase T. S. Eliot, they have measured out their lives in coffee spoons. All the tragedies are of their own making and not especially interesting.The writing, perhaps stellar in its day, seems stilted and sometimes unnecessarily convoluted now. The “old sport” stuff got old fast, and annoying. The book is short, around 160 pages in my copy, and still I was glad when it was done. At least now I can check it off my “I should read that someday” list.more
The Great Gatsby is hailed as one of the great American novels. The writing is beautiful. The plot lacks depth much like the lives of most superficial Americans. Fitzgerald's characters are living the so-called "American Dream" and one is living a lie. Fitzgerald shows us how the American dream can quickly turn into a nightmare. F. Scott Fitzgerald showed how cold and heartless people can be no matter how close they are to you. He also showed how complex and chaotic love can be. Overall, The Great Gatsby is not a complicated story , it's pretty simple which added to its elegance. Since finishing Gatsby, I'm still wondering how Fitzgerald wrote a character that was so charming and captivating but yet not ostentatious. Jay Gatsby was focused. He played his cards right and patiently to get what he wanted. Gatsby was hypnotizing. The hypnotic trance that Gatsby put on most people caused them to overlook the fact that the details of his life did not really add up. He was vague and intriguing. I have never read a more perfect narrator since "L" from Love by Toni Morrison until Nick Carraway the narrator of The Great Gatsby. Nick's observations were mainly objective but he too was hypnotized by Gatsby. Nick had "hope" in Gatsby but didn't like him very much. Nick was thrust into this circle of friends and lovers and ended up being the most dependable of them all. The driving force of the novel was Jay Gatsby's love for Daisy Buchanan. Both Jay and Tom, Daisy's husband, wanted control over Daisy's love. Daisy was the most dull of all the characters in my opinion. She was aloof and uncertain. She had this plantation mistress quality about her that I detested. I equally despised her husband Tom. Daisy was also a mother which was easily forgotten since she didn't possess any motherly qualities. The quality of Daisy's voice was mentioned several times throughout the novel but in the end it was pretty much silenced. It seemed as if Fitzgerald lost Daisy in the climax of the novel. I loved Gatsby. He is my new literary crush. The ending came too fast for me. I'm still looking for closure on Daisy's part. Nick was the most endearing of them all. I now hate the term, "old sport."more
Just wated to know what is this book that everyone on Goodreads has read. Must be required reading in the US, but why? ;)
Not bad story and not bad writing, but nothing special. And good books are timeless, this one belongs to an age and a place.more
The Great Gatsby is probably F. Scott Fitzgerald's greatest novel! A book that offers damning and insightful views of the American nouveau riche in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby is an American classic and a wonderfully evocative work.Like much of Fitzgerald's prose, it is neat and well crafted. Fitzgerald seems to have had a brilliant understanding of lives that are corrupted by greed and incredibly sad and unfulfilled. The novel is a product of its generation--with one of American literature's most powerful characters in the figure of Jay Gatsby, who is urbane and world-weary. Gatsby is really nothing more than a man desperate for love.more
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.more
What a fabulous little gem this is! Usually, I am not someone who is too fond of short stories, but I have to say that I loved this one. The most appealing aspect of this story is Fitzgerald’s magnificent sense of language, which drew me in straight away. Right in the beginning I couldn't truly connect with the story itself and felt rather underwhelmed. However, after rereading a few of the chapters I finally recognized how beautiful Fitzgerald has woven this story. This is a valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight . Illuminated in this brilliantly written novel is the high society of the US during the 1920’s. In America, the time of Prohibition is represented as “The Roaring Twenties”, extensive drug use and extravagant parties with innovative jazz. All of this is brought to light in deep facets through the brilliant use of Fitzgerald’s descriptive writing. In addition, Fitzgerald depicts in a wonderful way the superficial blasé attitude, the over-saturation of the fashionable upper class, their fast paced life and continues boredom. Nick is the narrator of this story. He thinks of himself as tolerant, non - judgmental, a good listener, and feels that as a result, others prefer to tell him their secrets. However, it becomes pretty quickly clear that Nick is not as detached as he believes and that he has to bear some of the blame of the tragic events which follow.“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since."Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had” The style and Fitzgerald's melancholic aspect of his characters lure you into such a lightness of being that you can’t hate the utterly annoying decadence of the main characters. You know they are nasty, and actually you shouldn’t like them, but you are fascinated anyway. What Fitzgerald manages to portray in this little story, is that despite all the wealth, every single character, is a rather lost soul, with no real focus on life, without the ability to fill the empty spaces. This has been particularly evident in Jay Gatsby’s unquenchable desire for Daisy which is the setting for this novel."He wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was.” Jay Gatsby is one of the “New Money” and is fascinated by the dazzling and mundane society of the twenties. For a while, he is allowed to share their and especially Daisy’s life. However, how illusory this life might seem notwithstanding the element of fraud, jealousy and neuroses of that society rule. In the end even 'The Great Gatsby' has to deal with the consequences and the reality of this life."Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes."more
Nick Carraway, the first-person narrator of this novel, gets to know Jay Gatsby in the Roaring Twenties. The latter is very rich and throws glamorous parties on his grandiose estate to which he invites his neighbour Nick.The title drops already a hint: The Great Jay Gatsby is a magician and everything in his life is an illusion: Before he went to war Gatsby, then known as James Gatz, fell deeply in love with Daisy. But as he was away, she married another man and had a daughter. When Gatsby returned after the war, he still clanged to the dream of a married life with Daisy. Everything in his life is build up around that dream – he even seems to have accumulated his wealth only to make it real.Fitzgerald’s novel is about make-believe worlds and chimeras, about appearance and reality. A very interesting scene is when a guest notices in amazement that the books in Gatsby’s library are actually real. The novel disproves the American Dream and shows that money can neither buy love nor true friends. Money may talk, but not everybody listens.Unfortunately I got a quite bad translation. When I compared a part of the book with an English version online, the latter one was way easier and more enjoyable to read. Honestly, I was underwhelmed by the book when it comes to the story. And I don’t think that it will stick in my memory for long. But I’m glad that I can finally tick it off my to-read-list.more
I have been putting off writing about the book, as I am not sure I can articulate my feelings about it. In fact Im not sure what my feelings even are about it. I do know I enjoyed reading it and kept wanting to pick it up, and I was glad when a slightly exciting story line developed. The hoo-ha with the car accident finally brought out some interest in the characters for me.So, yes, they float about in their own little rich worlds. People have been critical of the novel for this reason alone, but that's life isnt it? Some people do have that luxury, and it doesnt make their feelings or experiences any less valid. It just limits who can relate to them. I liked reading about their petty worries and relationship dramas, it took me away from my life and into someone's completely different.And written in a very appealing way.The first time I read this book was half my life ago, so this was like the first time for me. And I think there'll be more readings in it yet.more
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.more
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!more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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! more
Didn't like it very much. It was slow and pretty boring and definitely not my type of book.more
It was nice to read this book on my own as opposed to reading it rushed in school, as I did the first time. I still loved it! Not much else to say except it is a classic that everyone should readmore
Oh my god, I actually enjoyed a book written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Someone hold my hand through this confusing time please.

Just like the other Fitzgeralds I've read, "The Great Gatsby" is full of unlikeable, annoying characters, but the prose in this novel(la) makes up for that. Maybe the fact that it's short helps, too, as one doesn't have what seems like FOREVER to stew about their idiocies.more
There are many books that I read or attempted to read while in high school that got a big "booooo" from me at that young age. The Great Gatsby was one of them. Now that I am an adult (sort of) with a more mature view on life (right?), perhaps I should go back and re-read these "classics"? Would anyone be interested in persuading me to read this one?more
This is another of those classics I've been promising myself I'd get around to for years, and now I have, and yet again I've been blown away.

I seem to remember reading Tender Is The Night years ago, but can remember next to nothing about it. I suspect that Fitzgerald, like Jane Austen, is one of those authors you can be too young to read, and tragically, they are also the sort of authors that are given to kids as required reading.

But as for The Great Gatsby, it's a wonderful take on ambitions, dreams, and the semi-permeable boundaries of class. Gatsby lives alone in his massive house in West Egg, hosting lavish parties, and is an object of fascination to new arrival Nick Carraway, who lives in a small house next door. Gatsby, who trails an aura of vague notoriety wherever he goes, is in love with the glamorous Daisy, who is seemingly unhappily married to the stymied, bullying, unfaithful Tom. Tragedy ensues.

The thing that struck me most is how exquisitely filtered everything is. We follow Nick as these characters open up to him, like Chinese dolls, revealing different facets of themselves as everything rushes to its denouement. They are faithless and shallow, and it is Gatsby, the fraud and criminal, who at least sticks true to his doomed dream. For such a small book, it really delivers pounds per punch.more
I enjoyed it but it is (obviously) dated. The characters don't quite speak to me, though there are touches of universality with Gatsby, Tom, Daisy, and Nick. But even they are caricature like - the novel is only 140 pages (in my version), it's hardly enough time to bring a lot of nuance to the characters.

The ending was somewhat satisfying, though it was for reasons other than what people might think. I think the characterization of Daisy was appropriate, which was my biggest concern, and Gatsby also felt a lot more vulnerable at the end, than just this incredibly aloof millionaire.more
After seeing a trailer for the upcoming Baz Luhrmann adaptation, which made me roll my eyes, I was curious to revisit this book, which I'd been required to read as a student 2 or 3 times (yikes, 20 years ago). I was amazed. It's incredibly assured, economical, and witty.

My tattered paperback from college is littered with lecture notes that seemed irrelevant now. This time I felt that all that analysis (symbolism etc.) had missed just how entertaining, intelligent and esp. how drily funny Fitzgerald was. The writing is almost ridiculously perfect. Most writing feels word processed to the point of good enough for now, but this - you could chisel it in marble and wrap it around the base of the Chrysler building. Presto, eternal to monument to New York striving. Tom Wolfe who?

Were the 20s/30s the high point of the novel? This short novel feels incredibly modern, like it could have been written today. The voice reminded me of books I've read recently, and not just Fitzgerald pastiches like Netherland & Rules of Civility.

The only thing that dates it, really, are the occasional mentions of old technology. (Even Tom Buchanan's shocking racism seems as relevant as ever.) Movies of the 20s look like cave paintings by comparison. Nearly a century old and still so fresh.

I really need to read something else by FSF soon.more
since i think it's required in the vast majority of American classrooms, i read this right along with everyone else somewhen in high school, and utterly hated it.

wow, what a difference 2 decades makes.

the prose is just lovely, and Fitzgerald had a marvelous talent at metaphor (descriptive and lush, without being too damn clever for its own good). it's a relatively simple story of love and yearning for things you can't have (or never could), and i guess my teenager brain wasn't emotionally mature enough for subtle glances across the room and quiet desperation.more
 This is an odd little book, but not odd in a bad way. Told in the first person by Nick Carraway, it is set at the height of the exciting period that existed between the end of WW1 and the depression in New York - that most vibrant of cities. nick isn't really part of the set he's writing about, he just happens to be the neighbour of one of its leading lights - Jay Gatsby. and as an outsider, Nick makes quite an impartial, somewhat cynical, observer, on the periphery of the action, but rarely part of it. But he warms to Gatsby, such that, over the book he moves from being one in a company of hundreds to a man alone.

There are a lot of rather unpleasant characters, but they're never entirely indecipherable, you might not have done the same thing as they did, but you can understand why they make the decisions they have made. Nick comes out of it as a very decent man, but with his feet on the ground. Gatsby, in contrast, comes across as, at heart, equally as decent, but with his head in the clouds. He's managed, by his own effort, to transform his life and prospects (not always legally is the implication) but he has a dream. He met Daisy while a young army officer, but he had no money or security to offer her such that he considered himself committed to her. As he left for the war, she gradually drifted away from him and back to the dazzling, shallow, lifestyle of parties and attachments that she'd known before. She eventually marries Tom. I felt it was, in some ways a meeting of two equally rich, shallow people and they deserved each other. But it never stayed that simple. Gatsby has lived on the dream of her that existed 5 years ago. She never existed as he imagines her and the attempts to recapture the past fail dismally. On his side, the reality fails to live up to the dream, on her side, she has neither the courage of her convictions or the depth of feeling to actually do anything that's not just a case of following the path of least resistance.

It ends, badly, as it would when a dream comes face to face with reality and the reality fails to live up to the expectation. Unfortunately, it takes a number of people down with it, but those who deserve their comeuppance seem to escape scot free. But it's not a depressing end. It is as if the dream was too big to live. nick, as the sort of man he is, tidies everything up and keeps what he knows to himself. But he has become disillusioned with the life he has been trying to lead and so heads back to the Mid west and his natural habitat.

It is a very vivid book, you can easily imagine the parties and the surroundings that the story is set in. Having said that, the people don;t seem to be described in any detail - but they stand as individuals in my imagination. It's not a long book, there's little in the way of padding and spare text - it should serve as a model to some of the overblown texts I've read recently in the art of concision. It doesn't take more than a few words to bring the entire thing into vivid life. You can't help feeling for the characters, even while you don't really like them - which takes a really great writer to achieve. This is very good.more
Fitzgerald's prose is as delightful as the smell of the earth after the first rain. His words can easily breathe life into the most mundane and ordinary of the things. 'The Great Gatsby' is perhaps not the best story that was ever told, but Fitzgerald's enchanting words work their magic and and make it one of the most beautifully told stories ever. The writing was perfect from the beginning to the end. I am quoting below a few lines from the end of the book. It is one of those endings which I am sure will remain with me for a very long time.

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning--
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
more
I haven't read this since high school, and I didn't remember what an unpleasant group of drunks were in this book! The writing really is marvelous, and I think it will make for a good discussion tomorrow.more
To me, this is very typical, run-of-the-mill, nothing special, piece of realistic fiction (I was so tempted to write piece of... something else). Due to the fact that it's supposed to be this gold-standard of literature, I feel the need to be a bit more critical of it. This is my honest-to-goodness opinion of the book:It's People Magazine for the thinking man. That is to say, its pretty, pretentious words and syntax mask the fact that the plot was an inane, stale cliche during the time of the Ancient Greeks: overdone, obnoxious love-triangles. Not a single damn spark existed between any of the couples in this book. Jay is portrayed as being "mysterious" and "intriguing," but it's very hard to create any interest in a character with a "mysterious past" when everything we see of him in the present is so flat and boring. Gatsby is like those really horrible holographic cards that used to come in cereal boxes; you can see how flat they are, but there's this cute little illusion of depth that simply isn't there.If you're a reasonably intelligent person that wants to hide the fact that they are entertained by such plebeian tripe as MTV Cribs and TMZ, this crap is for you. It's all about the dramatic lives of the "haves" as viewed by a member of the middle class. more
This is the story of a mysterious man named Jay Gatsby, who lives in a gigantic Gothic mansion and throws extravagant parties every Saturday night. He is a surprisingly young man who affects an English accent, has a remarkable smile, and calls everyone “old sport.” This book is about his life, his love, his loss, his achievements, and a lot more.more
A strange little book. Not really sure what I was expecting, perhaps something a little bit more life changing than what I got.The first 100 pages or so were very tedious I felt, although perhaps this was supposed to be the point. I wasn;t really sure what I was reading until things got heated between the characters and things started to unravel. Prior to this there was no clue whatsoever about what would occur later on, it seemed that nothing would happen at all.The last sections of the book were very good, the plot merged together and events conspired to create a really interesting tragic story. I just wish the first part had been more engaging. The second half of the book unveils a story of friendhip, romance and lonliness in the high society of New York in the early 20th century and made me think about the issues of love and fate. Overall a good read, but not the great read I was expecting.more
When I first read this story, I viewed it as a tragic tale of star-crossed lovers. Poor Gatsby. Poor Daisy. Why couldn't they be together? Why couldn't Daisy have just stayed strong and admitted that she loved him? Coming to it now, in the span of years - well, just a few years longer than the span between Daisy and Gatsby's first and second meetings - now, it seems like a cautionary tale, one about how you can mess up your life when you are young, if you aren't careful, of how sometimes there are no good choices, and sometimes, if you haven't grown up, you make all the wrong decisions grasping after some ideal of what life is supposed to be.If you haven't read this yet, and you are reading it for pleasure, go away and read it. Don't read this, as it will be full of spoilers. Ok, you've been warned.When Daisy was 18, and a spoiled rich girl without plans, she met a young, poor officer, and fell in love. But being a rich girl, marrying a poor boy wasn't 'the thing to do', so he told her to wait - after the war, he would make his fortune and come back for her. But she didn't wait. This is where every reviewer I've read online finds fault with her. And I did too, when I was younger. I still hope I would've waited, in her place. But then I think, we're being too modern here, folks. Remember, women's lib came after Daisy. All the women she knew that she identified with - well, they had no marketable skills. They don't even take care of their own children. To deviate from the model she saw before her - dutiful, idle wife dressing up in pretty clothes - well, what would she have done instead? Daisy wasn't a brave girl. When she tried to be, the night before her wedding, she had her 'friend', Jordan, the voice of her place in society, of convention, around to tell her that it would never work out. To wait for Gatsby, while it might have seemed emotionally right, conventionally, it wasn't the right thing to do. She would've lost touch with her friends, her family...and what if he hadn't come back rich? Again, she had no marketable skills. What could she have done to help him? (Arguably, plenty - but not in Daisy's mind! She wasn't reading Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan - the women around her did certain things and the men did others. To think of breaking free from that pattern would not even have occurred to her!) So Daisy gets married and she hopes for the best. The best doesn't happen. Her husband cheats constantly. Except that he does seem fond of her, in a Don and Betty Draper way (you'll have to excuse me here - I never got beyond the second season of Mad Men - so little time, so many movies on Netflix.) . Life goes on. They meet with friends. They sit out in the garden and birdwatch. He buys her jewelry, takes her to Europe, etc. Life is in some kind of stasis.THEN - who should appear but her high school boyfriend! Ok, we don't know whether she went to high school, but lets think about this. She was 18 years old back then. Gatsby really was her first love. She did love him a lot back then. If he had asked her to marry him immediately, and not to wait, of course she would have. In her mind, only circumstances ever kept them apart. And now, here he is. Now that 8 years have passed, and she has a daughter and an unhappy marriage. But still, a marriage. What WOULD the right thing to do be here? What would you do, as a grown, married, adult, if your high school boyfriend showed up with the house of your dreams and a scrapbook full of photos of you, and promised to give you everything he couldn't the first time?This is where Daisy seems so young to me. Because for a moment, this looks like the right thing to do to her. She indulges it. She wants to escape from this more adult life she's been living. Forget the part about them being rich, callous and blase. That may be true. But also, it looks to me like a quarterlife crisis. She is married, and that's kind of rocky. She has a daughter that she's not quite sure what to do with. Can't they just dress up in their high school clothes and pretend to be 18 again? Because that's what she really appears to want to do. When Gatsby asks her to confront her husband, then it is forcefully brought home to her - they AREN'T kids anymore. She must feel some obligation to her family, at least to her daughter, if not to her husband - and then her husband reminds her of all the things they have been through together. Would you leave your husband for your high school boyfriend, at that point? I wouldn't. (Not that I would, in any case - sorry high school boyfriend - you were a nice guy! But it was a LONG time ago, and I kind of love my family - yes, even the big one with the moustache - thankfully NOTHING like Daisy's husband!) The book seems to present Myrtle, not just as a counterpart love story - Tom cheats, Daisy cheats, etc. - but as - well, what WOULD Daisy's life have been like if she had married Gatsby instead of Tom? Would he have been driven to make all the money? Or would she have become a Myrtle, trapped in poverty, but desperate to live in high society - hating her husband and her circumstances. I feel like, as a modern person, it's hard to have sympathy for Myrtle. You want to say, "Dude, poverty's not so bad. There's a lot of stuff I want right now, but it's not driving me to drink and run into the street or anything." But imagine, for a minute, that the women around you don't work. They don't teach you that you grow up and get a job. They teach you that if you are pretty, you will grow up and get married. Then, your husband will make the money, and you, if you have done everything right, will live this certain kind of life. Everyone you know lives this same kind of life. They go to parties. They fence on the lawn. They have tea. That's what they do. All of your friends do it. They don't work. If you were to go out and get a job - well, silly you - women don't have JOBS - well unless you're a nanny. Or a maid. But we don't associate with those guys. I would argue that, to a girl in Daisy's class in the 1920s, that's as if a modern woman were to say, "It's ok if we're poor. I'll just go work in a sweatshop." That's about the level of social prestige among her friends she would continue to have if she were going out to work. Daisy doesn't know anyone at all who is a family member or peer who works. To her, it just isn't done. In the same way that you or I, we don't say, it's ok if I can't buy my own clothes, I'll just spin them (and if you can do that, I am in total awe of you. But I can't!). It is something that is almost inconceivable to her. While she doesn't appear to have made up her mind to be totally conventional and satisfied with her life (like Jordan), she doesn't want to end up like Myrtle either. Not knowing an alternative, all she really knows how to do is 'go along to get along'.So, except for her bad driving and total disregard for hit and run accidents, I feel more sympathetic to Daisy this time around. She seems like she's just trying to do the right thing, and she hasn't yet figured out what the right thing is, and she sure doesn't have a good example around to follow, in any of her friends or, presumably, her parents, who pushed her into this life to start with and presumably live in much the same way. And Gatsby - well, I like him -- he's idealistic and sentimental, and honest (if you overlook the mob ties), and he certainly goes for what he wants...but he's kind of a creeper too, isn't he? Unhealthily attached to his teenage years. It was interesting, reading it again. What do you think? Was Gatsby and Daisy's love affair tragic, or just an unfortunate series of mistakes? What books have you read again that seemed completely different the second time around?more
Got to love a short classic, but wish I could get the image of Robert Redford as Gatsby out of my head.more
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Reviews

Three stars? For The Great Gatsby? But it's F. Scott Fitzgerald!Exactly.Perhaps if I had read this classic in high school, as I should have, I would have been more impressed, but reading it now, spurred on by the new movie I haven't seen, left me underwhelmed. It is an unlovely story about unlovely characters. I don't have to like characters, but I have to at least find them interesting. Daisy and Tom and Gatsby are not. To paraphrase T. S. Eliot, they have measured out their lives in coffee spoons. All the tragedies are of their own making and not especially interesting.The writing, perhaps stellar in its day, seems stilted and sometimes unnecessarily convoluted now. The “old sport” stuff got old fast, and annoying. The book is short, around 160 pages in my copy, and still I was glad when it was done. At least now I can check it off my “I should read that someday” list.more
The Great Gatsby is hailed as one of the great American novels. The writing is beautiful. The plot lacks depth much like the lives of most superficial Americans. Fitzgerald's characters are living the so-called "American Dream" and one is living a lie. Fitzgerald shows us how the American dream can quickly turn into a nightmare. F. Scott Fitzgerald showed how cold and heartless people can be no matter how close they are to you. He also showed how complex and chaotic love can be. Overall, The Great Gatsby is not a complicated story , it's pretty simple which added to its elegance. Since finishing Gatsby, I'm still wondering how Fitzgerald wrote a character that was so charming and captivating but yet not ostentatious. Jay Gatsby was focused. He played his cards right and patiently to get what he wanted. Gatsby was hypnotizing. The hypnotic trance that Gatsby put on most people caused them to overlook the fact that the details of his life did not really add up. He was vague and intriguing. I have never read a more perfect narrator since "L" from Love by Toni Morrison until Nick Carraway the narrator of The Great Gatsby. Nick's observations were mainly objective but he too was hypnotized by Gatsby. Nick had "hope" in Gatsby but didn't like him very much. Nick was thrust into this circle of friends and lovers and ended up being the most dependable of them all. The driving force of the novel was Jay Gatsby's love for Daisy Buchanan. Both Jay and Tom, Daisy's husband, wanted control over Daisy's love. Daisy was the most dull of all the characters in my opinion. She was aloof and uncertain. She had this plantation mistress quality about her that I detested. I equally despised her husband Tom. Daisy was also a mother which was easily forgotten since she didn't possess any motherly qualities. The quality of Daisy's voice was mentioned several times throughout the novel but in the end it was pretty much silenced. It seemed as if Fitzgerald lost Daisy in the climax of the novel. I loved Gatsby. He is my new literary crush. The ending came too fast for me. I'm still looking for closure on Daisy's part. Nick was the most endearing of them all. I now hate the term, "old sport."more
Just wated to know what is this book that everyone on Goodreads has read. Must be required reading in the US, but why? ;)
Not bad story and not bad writing, but nothing special. And good books are timeless, this one belongs to an age and a place.more
The Great Gatsby is probably F. Scott Fitzgerald's greatest novel! A book that offers damning and insightful views of the American nouveau riche in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby is an American classic and a wonderfully evocative work.Like much of Fitzgerald's prose, it is neat and well crafted. Fitzgerald seems to have had a brilliant understanding of lives that are corrupted by greed and incredibly sad and unfulfilled. The novel is a product of its generation--with one of American literature's most powerful characters in the figure of Jay Gatsby, who is urbane and world-weary. Gatsby is really nothing more than a man desperate for love.more
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.more
What a fabulous little gem this is! Usually, I am not someone who is too fond of short stories, but I have to say that I loved this one. The most appealing aspect of this story is Fitzgerald’s magnificent sense of language, which drew me in straight away. Right in the beginning I couldn't truly connect with the story itself and felt rather underwhelmed. However, after rereading a few of the chapters I finally recognized how beautiful Fitzgerald has woven this story. This is a valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight . Illuminated in this brilliantly written novel is the high society of the US during the 1920’s. In America, the time of Prohibition is represented as “The Roaring Twenties”, extensive drug use and extravagant parties with innovative jazz. All of this is brought to light in deep facets through the brilliant use of Fitzgerald’s descriptive writing. In addition, Fitzgerald depicts in a wonderful way the superficial blasé attitude, the over-saturation of the fashionable upper class, their fast paced life and continues boredom. Nick is the narrator of this story. He thinks of himself as tolerant, non - judgmental, a good listener, and feels that as a result, others prefer to tell him their secrets. However, it becomes pretty quickly clear that Nick is not as detached as he believes and that he has to bear some of the blame of the tragic events which follow.“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since."Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had” The style and Fitzgerald's melancholic aspect of his characters lure you into such a lightness of being that you can’t hate the utterly annoying decadence of the main characters. You know they are nasty, and actually you shouldn’t like them, but you are fascinated anyway. What Fitzgerald manages to portray in this little story, is that despite all the wealth, every single character, is a rather lost soul, with no real focus on life, without the ability to fill the empty spaces. This has been particularly evident in Jay Gatsby’s unquenchable desire for Daisy which is the setting for this novel."He wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was.” Jay Gatsby is one of the “New Money” and is fascinated by the dazzling and mundane society of the twenties. For a while, he is allowed to share their and especially Daisy’s life. However, how illusory this life might seem notwithstanding the element of fraud, jealousy and neuroses of that society rule. In the end even 'The Great Gatsby' has to deal with the consequences and the reality of this life."Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes."more
Nick Carraway, the first-person narrator of this novel, gets to know Jay Gatsby in the Roaring Twenties. The latter is very rich and throws glamorous parties on his grandiose estate to which he invites his neighbour Nick.The title drops already a hint: The Great Jay Gatsby is a magician and everything in his life is an illusion: Before he went to war Gatsby, then known as James Gatz, fell deeply in love with Daisy. But as he was away, she married another man and had a daughter. When Gatsby returned after the war, he still clanged to the dream of a married life with Daisy. Everything in his life is build up around that dream – he even seems to have accumulated his wealth only to make it real.Fitzgerald’s novel is about make-believe worlds and chimeras, about appearance and reality. A very interesting scene is when a guest notices in amazement that the books in Gatsby’s library are actually real. The novel disproves the American Dream and shows that money can neither buy love nor true friends. Money may talk, but not everybody listens.Unfortunately I got a quite bad translation. When I compared a part of the book with an English version online, the latter one was way easier and more enjoyable to read. Honestly, I was underwhelmed by the book when it comes to the story. And I don’t think that it will stick in my memory for long. But I’m glad that I can finally tick it off my to-read-list.more
I have been putting off writing about the book, as I am not sure I can articulate my feelings about it. In fact Im not sure what my feelings even are about it. I do know I enjoyed reading it and kept wanting to pick it up, and I was glad when a slightly exciting story line developed. The hoo-ha with the car accident finally brought out some interest in the characters for me.So, yes, they float about in their own little rich worlds. People have been critical of the novel for this reason alone, but that's life isnt it? Some people do have that luxury, and it doesnt make their feelings or experiences any less valid. It just limits who can relate to them. I liked reading about their petty worries and relationship dramas, it took me away from my life and into someone's completely different.And written in a very appealing way.The first time I read this book was half my life ago, so this was like the first time for me. And I think there'll be more readings in it yet.more
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.more
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!more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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! more
Didn't like it very much. It was slow and pretty boring and definitely not my type of book.more
It was nice to read this book on my own as opposed to reading it rushed in school, as I did the first time. I still loved it! Not much else to say except it is a classic that everyone should readmore
Oh my god, I actually enjoyed a book written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Someone hold my hand through this confusing time please.

Just like the other Fitzgeralds I've read, "The Great Gatsby" is full of unlikeable, annoying characters, but the prose in this novel(la) makes up for that. Maybe the fact that it's short helps, too, as one doesn't have what seems like FOREVER to stew about their idiocies.more
There are many books that I read or attempted to read while in high school that got a big "booooo" from me at that young age. The Great Gatsby was one of them. Now that I am an adult (sort of) with a more mature view on life (right?), perhaps I should go back and re-read these "classics"? Would anyone be interested in persuading me to read this one?more
This is another of those classics I've been promising myself I'd get around to for years, and now I have, and yet again I've been blown away.

I seem to remember reading Tender Is The Night years ago, but can remember next to nothing about it. I suspect that Fitzgerald, like Jane Austen, is one of those authors you can be too young to read, and tragically, they are also the sort of authors that are given to kids as required reading.

But as for The Great Gatsby, it's a wonderful take on ambitions, dreams, and the semi-permeable boundaries of class. Gatsby lives alone in his massive house in West Egg, hosting lavish parties, and is an object of fascination to new arrival Nick Carraway, who lives in a small house next door. Gatsby, who trails an aura of vague notoriety wherever he goes, is in love with the glamorous Daisy, who is seemingly unhappily married to the stymied, bullying, unfaithful Tom. Tragedy ensues.

The thing that struck me most is how exquisitely filtered everything is. We follow Nick as these characters open up to him, like Chinese dolls, revealing different facets of themselves as everything rushes to its denouement. They are faithless and shallow, and it is Gatsby, the fraud and criminal, who at least sticks true to his doomed dream. For such a small book, it really delivers pounds per punch.more
I enjoyed it but it is (obviously) dated. The characters don't quite speak to me, though there are touches of universality with Gatsby, Tom, Daisy, and Nick. But even they are caricature like - the novel is only 140 pages (in my version), it's hardly enough time to bring a lot of nuance to the characters.

The ending was somewhat satisfying, though it was for reasons other than what people might think. I think the characterization of Daisy was appropriate, which was my biggest concern, and Gatsby also felt a lot more vulnerable at the end, than just this incredibly aloof millionaire.more
After seeing a trailer for the upcoming Baz Luhrmann adaptation, which made me roll my eyes, I was curious to revisit this book, which I'd been required to read as a student 2 or 3 times (yikes, 20 years ago). I was amazed. It's incredibly assured, economical, and witty.

My tattered paperback from college is littered with lecture notes that seemed irrelevant now. This time I felt that all that analysis (symbolism etc.) had missed just how entertaining, intelligent and esp. how drily funny Fitzgerald was. The writing is almost ridiculously perfect. Most writing feels word processed to the point of good enough for now, but this - you could chisel it in marble and wrap it around the base of the Chrysler building. Presto, eternal to monument to New York striving. Tom Wolfe who?

Were the 20s/30s the high point of the novel? This short novel feels incredibly modern, like it could have been written today. The voice reminded me of books I've read recently, and not just Fitzgerald pastiches like Netherland & Rules of Civility.

The only thing that dates it, really, are the occasional mentions of old technology. (Even Tom Buchanan's shocking racism seems as relevant as ever.) Movies of the 20s look like cave paintings by comparison. Nearly a century old and still so fresh.

I really need to read something else by FSF soon.more
since i think it's required in the vast majority of American classrooms, i read this right along with everyone else somewhen in high school, and utterly hated it.

wow, what a difference 2 decades makes.

the prose is just lovely, and Fitzgerald had a marvelous talent at metaphor (descriptive and lush, without being too damn clever for its own good). it's a relatively simple story of love and yearning for things you can't have (or never could), and i guess my teenager brain wasn't emotionally mature enough for subtle glances across the room and quiet desperation.more
 This is an odd little book, but not odd in a bad way. Told in the first person by Nick Carraway, it is set at the height of the exciting period that existed between the end of WW1 and the depression in New York - that most vibrant of cities. nick isn't really part of the set he's writing about, he just happens to be the neighbour of one of its leading lights - Jay Gatsby. and as an outsider, Nick makes quite an impartial, somewhat cynical, observer, on the periphery of the action, but rarely part of it. But he warms to Gatsby, such that, over the book he moves from being one in a company of hundreds to a man alone.

There are a lot of rather unpleasant characters, but they're never entirely indecipherable, you might not have done the same thing as they did, but you can understand why they make the decisions they have made. Nick comes out of it as a very decent man, but with his feet on the ground. Gatsby, in contrast, comes across as, at heart, equally as decent, but with his head in the clouds. He's managed, by his own effort, to transform his life and prospects (not always legally is the implication) but he has a dream. He met Daisy while a young army officer, but he had no money or security to offer her such that he considered himself committed to her. As he left for the war, she gradually drifted away from him and back to the dazzling, shallow, lifestyle of parties and attachments that she'd known before. She eventually marries Tom. I felt it was, in some ways a meeting of two equally rich, shallow people and they deserved each other. But it never stayed that simple. Gatsby has lived on the dream of her that existed 5 years ago. She never existed as he imagines her and the attempts to recapture the past fail dismally. On his side, the reality fails to live up to the dream, on her side, she has neither the courage of her convictions or the depth of feeling to actually do anything that's not just a case of following the path of least resistance.

It ends, badly, as it would when a dream comes face to face with reality and the reality fails to live up to the expectation. Unfortunately, it takes a number of people down with it, but those who deserve their comeuppance seem to escape scot free. But it's not a depressing end. It is as if the dream was too big to live. nick, as the sort of man he is, tidies everything up and keeps what he knows to himself. But he has become disillusioned with the life he has been trying to lead and so heads back to the Mid west and his natural habitat.

It is a very vivid book, you can easily imagine the parties and the surroundings that the story is set in. Having said that, the people don;t seem to be described in any detail - but they stand as individuals in my imagination. It's not a long book, there's little in the way of padding and spare text - it should serve as a model to some of the overblown texts I've read recently in the art of concision. It doesn't take more than a few words to bring the entire thing into vivid life. You can't help feeling for the characters, even while you don't really like them - which takes a really great writer to achieve. This is very good.more
Fitzgerald's prose is as delightful as the smell of the earth after the first rain. His words can easily breathe life into the most mundane and ordinary of the things. 'The Great Gatsby' is perhaps not the best story that was ever told, but Fitzgerald's enchanting words work their magic and and make it one of the most beautifully told stories ever. The writing was perfect from the beginning to the end. I am quoting below a few lines from the end of the book. It is one of those endings which I am sure will remain with me for a very long time.

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning--
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
more
I haven't read this since high school, and I didn't remember what an unpleasant group of drunks were in this book! The writing really is marvelous, and I think it will make for a good discussion tomorrow.more
To me, this is very typical, run-of-the-mill, nothing special, piece of realistic fiction (I was so tempted to write piece of... something else). Due to the fact that it's supposed to be this gold-standard of literature, I feel the need to be a bit more critical of it. This is my honest-to-goodness opinion of the book:It's People Magazine for the thinking man. That is to say, its pretty, pretentious words and syntax mask the fact that the plot was an inane, stale cliche during the time of the Ancient Greeks: overdone, obnoxious love-triangles. Not a single damn spark existed between any of the couples in this book. Jay is portrayed as being "mysterious" and "intriguing," but it's very hard to create any interest in a character with a "mysterious past" when everything we see of him in the present is so flat and boring. Gatsby is like those really horrible holographic cards that used to come in cereal boxes; you can see how flat they are, but there's this cute little illusion of depth that simply isn't there.If you're a reasonably intelligent person that wants to hide the fact that they are entertained by such plebeian tripe as MTV Cribs and TMZ, this crap is for you. It's all about the dramatic lives of the "haves" as viewed by a member of the middle class. more
This is the story of a mysterious man named Jay Gatsby, who lives in a gigantic Gothic mansion and throws extravagant parties every Saturday night. He is a surprisingly young man who affects an English accent, has a remarkable smile, and calls everyone “old sport.” This book is about his life, his love, his loss, his achievements, and a lot more.more
A strange little book. Not really sure what I was expecting, perhaps something a little bit more life changing than what I got.The first 100 pages or so were very tedious I felt, although perhaps this was supposed to be the point. I wasn;t really sure what I was reading until things got heated between the characters and things started to unravel. Prior to this there was no clue whatsoever about what would occur later on, it seemed that nothing would happen at all.The last sections of the book were very good, the plot merged together and events conspired to create a really interesting tragic story. I just wish the first part had been more engaging. The second half of the book unveils a story of friendhip, romance and lonliness in the high society of New York in the early 20th century and made me think about the issues of love and fate. Overall a good read, but not the great read I was expecting.more
When I first read this story, I viewed it as a tragic tale of star-crossed lovers. Poor Gatsby. Poor Daisy. Why couldn't they be together? Why couldn't Daisy have just stayed strong and admitted that she loved him? Coming to it now, in the span of years - well, just a few years longer than the span between Daisy and Gatsby's first and second meetings - now, it seems like a cautionary tale, one about how you can mess up your life when you are young, if you aren't careful, of how sometimes there are no good choices, and sometimes, if you haven't grown up, you make all the wrong decisions grasping after some ideal of what life is supposed to be.If you haven't read this yet, and you are reading it for pleasure, go away and read it. Don't read this, as it will be full of spoilers. Ok, you've been warned.When Daisy was 18, and a spoiled rich girl without plans, she met a young, poor officer, and fell in love. But being a rich girl, marrying a poor boy wasn't 'the thing to do', so he told her to wait - after the war, he would make his fortune and come back for her. But she didn't wait. This is where every reviewer I've read online finds fault with her. And I did too, when I was younger. I still hope I would've waited, in her place. But then I think, we're being too modern here, folks. Remember, women's lib came after Daisy. All the women she knew that she identified with - well, they had no marketable skills. They don't even take care of their own children. To deviate from the model she saw before her - dutiful, idle wife dressing up in pretty clothes - well, what would she have done instead? Daisy wasn't a brave girl. When she tried to be, the night before her wedding, she had her 'friend', Jordan, the voice of her place in society, of convention, around to tell her that it would never work out. To wait for Gatsby, while it might have seemed emotionally right, conventionally, it wasn't the right thing to do. She would've lost touch with her friends, her family...and what if he hadn't come back rich? Again, she had no marketable skills. What could she have done to help him? (Arguably, plenty - but not in Daisy's mind! She wasn't reading Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan - the women around her did certain things and the men did others. To think of breaking free from that pattern would not even have occurred to her!) So Daisy gets married and she hopes for the best. The best doesn't happen. Her husband cheats constantly. Except that he does seem fond of her, in a Don and Betty Draper way (you'll have to excuse me here - I never got beyond the second season of Mad Men - so little time, so many movies on Netflix.) . Life goes on. They meet with friends. They sit out in the garden and birdwatch. He buys her jewelry, takes her to Europe, etc. Life is in some kind of stasis.THEN - who should appear but her high school boyfriend! Ok, we don't know whether she went to high school, but lets think about this. She was 18 years old back then. Gatsby really was her first love. She did love him a lot back then. If he had asked her to marry him immediately, and not to wait, of course she would have. In her mind, only circumstances ever kept them apart. And now, here he is. Now that 8 years have passed, and she has a daughter and an unhappy marriage. But still, a marriage. What WOULD the right thing to do be here? What would you do, as a grown, married, adult, if your high school boyfriend showed up with the house of your dreams and a scrapbook full of photos of you, and promised to give you everything he couldn't the first time?This is where Daisy seems so young to me. Because for a moment, this looks like the right thing to do to her. She indulges it. She wants to escape from this more adult life she's been living. Forget the part about them being rich, callous and blase. That may be true. But also, it looks to me like a quarterlife crisis. She is married, and that's kind of rocky. She has a daughter that she's not quite sure what to do with. Can't they just dress up in their high school clothes and pretend to be 18 again? Because that's what she really appears to want to do. When Gatsby asks her to confront her husband, then it is forcefully brought home to her - they AREN'T kids anymore. She must feel some obligation to her family, at least to her daughter, if not to her husband - and then her husband reminds her of all the things they have been through together. Would you leave your husband for your high school boyfriend, at that point? I wouldn't. (Not that I would, in any case - sorry high school boyfriend - you were a nice guy! But it was a LONG time ago, and I kind of love my family - yes, even the big one with the moustache - thankfully NOTHING like Daisy's husband!) The book seems to present Myrtle, not just as a counterpart love story - Tom cheats, Daisy cheats, etc. - but as - well, what WOULD Daisy's life have been like if she had married Gatsby instead of Tom? Would he have been driven to make all the money? Or would she have become a Myrtle, trapped in poverty, but desperate to live in high society - hating her husband and her circumstances. I feel like, as a modern person, it's hard to have sympathy for Myrtle. You want to say, "Dude, poverty's not so bad. There's a lot of stuff I want right now, but it's not driving me to drink and run into the street or anything." But imagine, for a minute, that the women around you don't work. They don't teach you that you grow up and get a job. They teach you that if you are pretty, you will grow up and get married. Then, your husband will make the money, and you, if you have done everything right, will live this certain kind of life. Everyone you know lives this same kind of life. They go to parties. They fence on the lawn. They have tea. That's what they do. All of your friends do it. They don't work. If you were to go out and get a job - well, silly you - women don't have JOBS - well unless you're a nanny. Or a maid. But we don't associate with those guys. I would argue that, to a girl in Daisy's class in the 1920s, that's as if a modern woman were to say, "It's ok if we're poor. I'll just go work in a sweatshop." That's about the level of social prestige among her friends she would continue to have if she were going out to work. Daisy doesn't know anyone at all who is a family member or peer who works. To her, it just isn't done. In the same way that you or I, we don't say, it's ok if I can't buy my own clothes, I'll just spin them (and if you can do that, I am in total awe of you. But I can't!). It is something that is almost inconceivable to her. While she doesn't appear to have made up her mind to be totally conventional and satisfied with her life (like Jordan), she doesn't want to end up like Myrtle either. Not knowing an alternative, all she really knows how to do is 'go along to get along'.So, except for her bad driving and total disregard for hit and run accidents, I feel more sympathetic to Daisy this time around. She seems like she's just trying to do the right thing, and she hasn't yet figured out what the right thing is, and she sure doesn't have a good example around to follow, in any of her friends or, presumably, her parents, who pushed her into this life to start with and presumably live in much the same way. And Gatsby - well, I like him -- he's idealistic and sentimental, and honest (if you overlook the mob ties), and he certainly goes for what he wants...but he's kind of a creeper too, isn't he? Unhealthily attached to his teenage years. It was interesting, reading it again. What do you think? Was Gatsby and Daisy's love affair tragic, or just an unfortunate series of mistakes? What books have you read again that seemed completely different the second time around?more
Got to love a short classic, but wish I could get the image of Robert Redford as Gatsby out of my head.more
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