The Great Gatsby
What is The Great Gatsby?
The Great Gatsby is a contemporary novel written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald. It is known to represent the so called “Jazz Age” or “roaring twenties”, the times of the economic boom in America and especially New York, where the story is set.
Jay Gatsby is a late romantic who attempts in vain to revive the relationship with Daisy Buchanan, the woman he lost contact with before going to war. Since she is now married to a man named Tom, he throws large parties at his mansion just outside New York hoping that one day she would finally attend. He then finds help in his neighbour, Nick Carroway, who is also Daisy’s cousin. After a series of events, however, Gatsby is destroyed by his own dream but also by the indifference of the others.
The story is told through the free direct thought (1st person) in retrospect of one of the characters (Nick Carraway), so the events are filtered through his representation, as if he is the author of the book. Fitzgerald can be identified in the outsider role of the narrator Nick. Mostly in his ability to remain distinct from a setting by which one could be enticed, yet also corrupted.
Whenever you feel like criticising any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had. […] In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments.Nick, The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald ended up representing both the hope and the hollowness of America in the 1920s. The characters, in fact, are represented as careless of others and especially of Jay Gatsby, whose character is a metaphor for the illusion of the “American Dream”.