Friday, July 3, 2009

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I am pleased to say that The Great Gatsby has arrived at Sam's Space!
Book Summary: This classic novel is set in Long Island, NY during the 1920s and Prohibition. The story is told by a young man, Nick Carraway, who has just moved to the East Coast from the Midwest. There, he meets his neighbor, Jay Gatsby- a man who is full of money and doesn't have the class to go with it. Nick also finds his distant cousin, Daisy, her husband Tom, and Daisy's friend, Jordan. This is the point when everything devolves into a messy soap opera drama. Gatsby is in love with Daisy, Daisy loves money and stuff, Tom cheats on his wife with a married woman named Myrtle, Nick has an affair with Jordan, and everyone is getting drunk at Gatsby's parties illegally. A definite recipe for disaster- as Tom knows Gatsby loves Daisy and Myrtle wants Tom to get a divorce so she can leave her husband (George Wilson). And Nick is the unfortunate observer caught in the middle.

Review: This is not my favorite book in the world, but I did enjoy it. The characters involved in the story will have you frustrated, indignant, and shaking your head at turns. But each has some sort of endearing quality- Daisy is so innocent of the world, George knows nothing of Myrtle's infidelity, Gatsby just wants the love of his life, etc. The book addresses the immorality of society and the injustices dealt to the lower classes without being dry or boring.

What to Look For/Impress Your Teacher: The use of color is extremely important in this novel. The green light that Gatsby sees (no, I won't tell you what it is) represents hope. When Nick first visits Daisy, all the white articles represent her almost child-like innocence and her fleeting nature. Abstractly, using the terms West and East Eggs to refer to the different neighborhoods by Fitzgerald was deliberate. An egg is white on the outside, but yellow at the core. (The appearance of innocence at the surface, but a rotten heart lies beneath.) Also, pay attention to Tom's dialogue when he buys Myrtle a puppy. Read it with the thought that he isn't really talking about canines, but women. Tom had no respect for the fairer sex. And pay attention to the season. Spring is full of hope and budding dreams, Summer is hot and passionate and full of life, Autumn represents death and decay. Hmm. Something to consider when watching Gatsby's actions...

Author Facts: F. Scott Fitzgerald's full name was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. He coined the term "Jazz Age" in reference to the 20s and sometimes found himself nearing bankruptcy- forcing him to work in Hollywood. (He found this distasteful.) His wife, Zelda, was in and out of mental institutions and Fitzgerald himself was an alcoholic. For more, go to Wikipedia.

And after you finish reading The Great Gatsby, be sure to find a copy of Just One of the Guys on Kindle or Quake!

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