I am European so i never had to study The great gatsby in my school years. I’ve decided to read it because of the importance it seems to have into the American literature.
I didn’t catch all of the symbolism, I am sure, but to be honest, I didn’t read it to over analyze it, i'll do that later.
After reading the first three chapters, the story line seemed to include a lot of non primordial informations (I won’t use the word “rambling”) from the narrator. If the book would have been longer, I would have probably lost hope, but since it’s a short read, I forced myself to go past the slow beginning, trusting that something soon should inevitably happen. Soon enough, the story got a faster pace.
To summarize, I think it’s a nice read over all. I liked the way the characters are portrayed even though I didn’t like the characters themselves. Carraway can’t seem to have a defined opinion on anybody, Gatsby is an impostor fantasizing his life and obsessed over Daisy, Daisy (which I thought would be a strong woman character before reading this book) was the stereotypical (almost cartoon-ish) white rich girl with as much depth as a glass of water, Tom is boorish and vile, Meyer is a snake and all the other characters are idiotic (the Wilson, the house employees, the people at the parties). Only Jordan seems to have a bit of sense and grip on earth.
What startled me is that Tom is portrayed as the devil, the cruelest man ever, some sort of a bear mixed with a lion, without God or morals. But to me, he was just the common cheating douchy rascal that a young naïve girl could only hope to marry. I mean, yes he is bad. But he is not worst than Daisy, they are both wrong in their own way. I agreed with Carraway on this point.
I also liked the story line, even if I could give a damn about all the West egg – East egg comparison. I thought that it was a bit too short to really get into the 30’s jazzy atmosphere. I would have liked to have a bit more of description of the parties.
About the book itself, I don’t know what made it to be such a monument, probably that it was a controversial novel back when censure was a common thing. To me it was a short nice story, with a bit of stripling romance and a bit of drama, a tragedy of modern times in fact (Gatsby's end was quite tasty).
I liked the critic of the rich shallow society but the story was too rushed to be taken seriously and considered as a master piece. It felt as if there was so much to criticize about the american upper class and not enough time. Maybe I’m biased since I’ve read Zola, Hugo and Balzac works in which they really
take their time to portray the society they are writing about.
This quote sums up a lot : "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…"
Yes, there is inequality. I mean, you can just go outside, look around, and you'll see it, i don't get how this particular book is revolutionary by pointing it out. Not pointing it out would have been noteworthy (and not in a good way). I feel like praising this book for its critic of society is like praising a restaurant for not food poisoning you.
Since the book is written in not-so-rich-Nick's perspective, of course he would notice all that's wrong in the East side society. I can only ask what the story would have been in the over-guilt-and-law rich people's perspective if they had felt at least a tiny bit of self consciousness.
Also, i would have liked to reads a final encounter of Daisy and Nick to show us how she dealt with her responsibility.
If i wasn't impressed by the critic of society in this book, i was by the character of Gatsby. He has his flaws and makes his mistakes but you can only be fascinated by him. You don't have to like him nor respect him but you can't ignore him. This was clever of Fitzgerald.
In the end, i am just glad to not hate the book. I had huge expectations that weren't met for the last two books that i read and when i realized that i wasn't hooked on this one, i felt betrayed again, but the story finally took off and i am not that disappointed.My rating
: 2,5 stars out of 5. I liked the book, but i could have lived without reading it.