On April 10th 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald released The Great Gatsby, a timeless literary classic.
The story is a splendid journey lined with luxury, glamour, love and tragedy in 1920s New York. I’d like to take a deep dive into the story and explain why the American 20’s is still comparable to today’s society.The happy twenties. The Jazz Age. The world has just taken out a great war and the vast country in the West is experiencing a strong economic boost. A turbulent time filled with social change, but also by alcohol ban and organized crime. A time that very few people today remember, but as many romanticize. There is a large variety of popular culture that treats these years, often from the perspective of those who stood outside the law; HBO Series Boardwalk Empire is a good contemporary example.
There are also a number of literary works created during the period, one of the writers is F. Scott Fitzgerald. He’s written many famous works like The Beautiful and Damned and Tender Ice The Night, but perhaps mostly The Great Gatsby.The Great Gatsby is the story of eccentric and wealthy alcohol smuggler Jay Gatsby, whom we get to know through book narrator Nicholas “Nick” Carraway. The novel takes place in the summer of 1922, after Nick moved to Long Island, where he rented a smaller house adjacent to Gatsby’s magnificent mansion where there are often big and sumptuous parties. During these festivals a young and rich elite gathered to dance and drink drunk on Gatsby’s alcohol. It also happens that many gossip about the background of the host; according to Gatsby himself, he has gone to Oxford and on questions about how he built his wealth, the money is sometimes inherited and sometimes a result of good investment. It is at one of these bulky festivals Nick and Gatsby finally also met.
Despite his extravagant deliveries, Gatsby is unhappy and Nick will soon find out why. Before Gatsby went to Europe to battle in the First World War, he fell in love with a young girl, Daisy, who turns out to be Nick’s second cousin. Daisy still loves Gatsby, but is married to the most unsympathetic character of the book, Tom Buchanan, a buff millionaire with a vitality of white power and polo. Gatsby asks Nick to help meet Daisy once more, which he finally agrees with and invites her to tea in her house. The story continues with Gatsby and Daisy launching a love affair.
It ends, as you may suspect, not so well. During a party in the latter half of the book, Gatsby tries to get Daisy to acknowledge his love for him and at the same time renounce his love for the husband, ending in a tragedy for Gatsby. “I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 1, page 21)This passage, in the end of chapter 1, is when Daisy gets to know what sex her baby is.
The twenties wasn’t a good time for women, it appears only in later years females have risen and given the same opportunities as men have. Obviously Daisy wasn’t very happy about the news because she already knew what kind of trouble her daughter already gotten into, the moment she was born. She was hoping that the daughter would be unintelligent so she wouldn’t know the unfairness of the world. That she wouldn’t know that there are much better men than her father Tom, who as the matter of fact wasn’t actually at the hospital. The chances are much smaller that these thoughts would occur in a woman’s head on the hospitals bed, in today’s society. Female empowerment has been a major topic for the last decade and lots of improvements have been happening since the release of the mentioned novel.
Unfortunately these improvements haven’t reached all across the world. Many countries in the middle east are still struggling with these problems, with sexism, but even they have improved over time. The novel is very multifaceted and addresses topics such as class divisions, decadence, the American dream and gender roles in the 1920s. The fascination of the character Jay Gatsby comes from how he is portrayed early by Fitzgerald as a character with a mysterious past, an interesting and decadent man who enjoys all life has to offer. But in reality, he is just a man in love who devotes his life to recovering a lost love.
The year is 2017 and we approach the book’s centennial anniversary. The story is still relevant – it treats human feelings that have not been noticeably changed in the last century. Not only does it criticize today’s consumption society, where you get defined by what you earn, buy and own but also explains why we continue these habits. Finally, we learn to know the American dream in depth, where the background does not play any real role as long as you aim high.
It is not for nothing that Gatsby’s story has become a classic.