Why You Should Read ‘The Great Gatsby’

One of the illustrations of the Folio Society edition of the book.

Synopsis: A graduate from Yale and a war veteran,the young Nick Carraway takes a job as a bond salesman in New York and rents a house on Long Island.He becomes the neighbor of the enigmatic Jay Gatsby,a man of incredible wealth,known for frequently holding parties as lavish as his past is mysterious.Yet Gatsby cares for only one person: Daisy Buchanan,his long lost love,now married and living on the other side of the island.

Why you should read The Great Gatsby:

1.The Narration
Nick Carraway might simply be one of the best narrators in literature.He is a stranger to Long Island and thus,provides us with a honest insight into the lives of the rich.He is taken aback by the opulence of the people and the decor of Long Island,and is so effective in his narration,that we too are awed by the lives of the characters – the faithful depiction of the follies in which people indulged during the roaring twenties is besides one of the forces of The Great Gatsby.Moreover Nick,being a stranger,doesn’t see Gatsby as the myth his guests see him as,and thus,makes Gatsby more human in our eyes.

2.Jay Gatsby
There are many books which have made their marks in literature,but few are the characters who have done the same.Jay Gatsby is one such character.He is unique and typical,as is his propensity to keep saying ‘Old sport’ at the end of his speeches.Gatsby is also more than a human being; he is the American dream.His story,poignant yet absurd,is the essence of this eponymous book.

3.Fitzgerald’s Prose
Art and beauty are stamped all over the prose.The metaphors Fitzgerald employs are such as you have never seen before.Fitzgerald’s writing is so lyrical and compelling that there is no banal moment in The Great Gatsby; everything is dramatic,tragic,or in some cases,comical.Also the idiosyncrasies used by Fitzgerald are fresh and engage your imagination all the time; the meaning of his words are very subtly conveyed.

4.The Allure of a Play
Fitzgerald’s book captured the mood of the roaring twenties so well that it can bring to mind the works of another American genius,the playwright Tennessee Williams.The setting is vividly described,ranging from the music at Gatsby’s parties to the decor in Long Island,and everything holds a symbolical representation;nothing is superfluous.Furthermore the relatively few recurring characters are as dramatic in their speeches as their past is.The scenes in the play are also written with much economy,so that all the drama they evoke is preserved.Finally,the anti-climatic ending which connects,in one way or another,all the characters together is heavily reminiscent of a dark-comedy play.

5.The Length
A little novel,The Great Gatsby has just over 3000 words in excess to be called a novella.Yet its length is one of the many factors which make it a masterpiece.The length is such that events follow at a very fast pace,leaving the reader to always wonder what will happen next.As a result the story is very intense and in the end,leaves an indelible impression on us.

What you might not like in The Great Gatsby:

1.Not that easy to read
The Great Gatsby should not be underestimated because of its length.In fact it is a challenge to read,as Fitzgerald employs a very poetic language to write it.The language is also at times so metaphoric that you might spend a good time wracking your brain to decipher its meaning.If you have read young adult fictions so far,I suggest you read more classics before taking on The Great Gatsby.

Verdict: Before reading this book,I feared it might be overrated because of the romance.I was hugely mistaken.The Great Gatsby is as close to art as a book might get; in itself it is a work of art,quite as Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is.I loved everything in it: the cast of characters,the drama,the setting,the language and of course,Jay Gatsby himself.For me it definitely is one of the best books I have ever read,and I plan on reading it over and over again in the future.Would I suggest it to people? Yes and no.Yes because it is a real masterpiece and is short.No,because I know many people will have a hard time with the language,as a result of having read few classics in their lives.All the same,The Great Gatsby remains a timeless piece of art.



10 thoughts on “Why You Should Read ‘The Great Gatsby’”

    1. Hmm,don’t worry though! There weren’t major spoilers in it.Besides it’s been a long time since I wrote the other post,so I hope you have forgotten almost everything that I wrote in it! 😉
      I really like the book,and I think you should give it a chance. 🙂

    1. But you read the book in another language and I believe much was lost in translation; the beauty of The Great Gatsby lies in the poetic and metaphoric language employed by Fitzgerald.He also takes great liberty in the way he writes the book,but such idiosyncrasies maybe weren’t visible in the translated text of the book.

      But anyway,perhaps you wouldn’t have loved the book,as it doesn’t really tally with your personality,unlike Brave New World – upon reading the first pages,I knew why you loved it. 🙂

      You should try God of Small Things and Never Let Me Go!

      1. Yes, you have a point, the translation was a major issue. (I learned my lesson though!) I did read some more Fitzgerald in the original language later, but it didn’t appeal to me 😦 Anyway, there are other great books to read! Never Let Me Go is on my to-read list when I get down to reading for pleasure rather than study 🙂

  1. I have loved this book since high school! Jay Gatsby is one of the best characters ever created. When the movie came out I was reminded of my love for the book. Considering rereading it sometime soon! Other good reads from high school: The Catcher in the Rye, Life of Pi, and Night by Elie Wiesel.

    1. Bizarrely I watched the ending of the movie the night I wrote this post!
      The feeling I had when watching the movie comforted me in my knowledge that I didn’t exaggerate the novel’s beauty; it really is a piece of art.I adore the book,and I’m glad you love it equally!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! 😉

    1. And now that you’re speaking about it,after having watched the movie the day before yesterday and reading the book about 1 month ago,I already want to re-read it!! :O

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