Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Great Gatsby (The Authorized Text)
The Great American Novel
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles… It faced–or seemed to face–the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.”

Set on the East Coast in the roaring 20′s, this novel is a classic -- some claim it is the great American novel or at least one of them (Huckleberry Finn and Moby-Dick have been included in this list). If not the best depiction of the American iconic story it is still a great read and it was with heightened anticipation of this that I recently reread this book. That Fitzgerald's novel is a great book is demonstrated by the many layers of meaning and myriad ways that you can interpret the story. One approach is to focus on crime and there is plenty of that to be found in the book including: murder, bootlegging, financial theft, adultery, speeding and fraud to mention many if not all. Another interesting way of looking at the novel is that the real character, Tom Buchanan, dislikable as he may be, triumphs over the fake character of Gatsby. Throughout the novel Gatsby seeks to be something he is not and when his false front crashes there is nothing left. No friends, no possessions, no life. My favorite moments of the book also have to include the sheer poetry of Fitzgerald's writing. This, the narration of Nick Carraway, and all the rest made it a book I enjoyed rereading as much as any in recent memory. From it we learn that often the wanting of something is better than actually having it. Furthermore, one true friend is worth infinitely more than a multitude of acquaintances.

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