“The Great Gatsby” Still Provides Life Lessons


gatsby

When American author F. Scott Fitzgerald penned The Great Gatsby published in 1925, little did he know it would rank number one in the eyes of many critics for the remainder of the century and beyond.
 

Set largely on Long Island's North Shore in 1922, the novel deals with the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, bootlegging, shallowness of the wealthy class, greed, and, most of all, the concept of the American Dream.

This book is a must read even for twenty-first century bookworms seeking new material. It remains amazingly relevant to every period of economic strife or growth encountered in the last hundred years.

The 1920s is an era I truly appreciate. This Lost Generation, aptly named by Gertrude Stein and written about by Ernest Hemingway and company, might hold some of the answers for Americans nearly a hundred years later. Gatsby highlights many of the human emotions we face daily and Fitzgerald demonstrates through his characters those pathways through life that work, and those that fail miserably.

This is the kind of classic novel it pays to read many times. We learn what true happiness is and is not, and confirm the adage, “All that glitters is not gold.”

 

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Comments

  1. So true, and one must never forget, Scott Fitzgerald's life and his art was forever intertwined, and enormously shaped early in his life from (right here in) St. Paul the very town where he grew up, (and nearly died running across Summit Avenue) in his excitement after his first publication! All of is works related often to people, events, places and most importantly attitudes and ideas (from Minnesota) that kept him forever motivated. He often said in regards to St. Paul, "It is still home to me."

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    1. Karen: It is those relationships that jar our memories in the present time. Besides being brilliant fiction, the historical significance of this novel is second-to-none.

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  2. Mom and I just watched the DeCaprio version of The Great Gatsby (for me, again and for her, the first time). I think he did a brilliant job playing Gatsby. I need to read the book again. It's been a long time. I think the things I loved most about the movie: 1) Almost from the onset it felt like a train barreling toward a tragic crash 2) Coated over that was the flavor of the 1920s... big, brash, outlandish in some ways 3) The eternal optimism of Gatsby in the face of circumstances that would make most men do a 180. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he was certain it would all work out just as he wanted, intended, worked for. He truly couldn't see any other outcome... while all we could see was the other outcome. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

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    1. Robin: I also enjoy the Redford version from the 1970s. The novel is brilliant on so many levels. While I do understand that novelists are influenced by the eras in which they live, present-day writers can learn a great deal from Fitzgerald. His ability to demonstrate human characteristics and flaws transcends time.

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  3. I'd like to read this classic, JJ.
    I find good classics reflect our present realities in so many ways...
    Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Julia: That is the point exactly!

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  4. I haven't had the literary pleasure as yet, only the films. Do you think we're at some high in this country that's about to crash and we're oblivious?

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    1. Linda: It is a great read, especially if you enjoy symbolism.

      I absolutely believe we are about to take a dive. I don't think we are oblivious. I believe many people cannot face reality. They equate the truth with negativity. They will not be able to avoid the disaster later on, and then they will look around to see who they can blame.

      I am a lifetime student of history and philosophy. I know that if I drop a brick off the top of a building, it will not fall up. Only naiveté can cause a person to argue that Iran with nuclear weapons will benefit the world or that taking money that has been earned by one person should be given to another. We must take care of those who cannot help themselves, like the mentally ill for instance, but wealth re-distribution will not work. It has been tried before, and the brick never fell up.

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  5. Dear JJ, I read 'The Great Gatsby' a long time ago, and then again, and then another time. So interesting how our interpreteations of a novel changes with time! "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

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    1. Britta: Yes, and it is wonderful!

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