The Great Gatsby was written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald and was seen as a commercial disappointment when first released.
It has been highly revered as a Great American Novel since then. Part of this can be attributed to the distribution of free copies to American soldiers serving overseas during the Second World War.
After that, it became part of the high school curriculum and a crucial part of American pop culture. Due to Gatsby’s continued popularity, we’ve gone out of our way to review The Great Gatsby once more.
We’ll be summarizing the book, exploring the characters, themes, and a few interesting facts about the author himself. So, let’s take a look.
A Summary Of The Great Gatsby
In 1922, Nick Carraway moved to New York, where he rented a house in West Egg. The nouveau riche populates West Egg.
One of his neighbors is Jay Gatsby, who throws extravagant parties in the hope that his former lover: Daisy, will attend one.
Nick, who is Daisy’s cousin, visits her in East Egg, which is home to the established upper class. He is unaware of her past relationship with Gatsby.
Now she lives with her husband Tom and her young daughter. Among their group of friends is Jordan Baker, a cynical golfer with whom Nick has a relationship.
Eventually, he travels with Tom to the valley of ashes, where he meets his own lover: Myrtle. Nick divides his time between the West and East Eggs, where he eventually meets Jordan at one of Gatsby’s parties.
Gatsby reveals that he’s in love with Daisy and often watches her house, where there is a green light at the end of her dock.
In the hopes of inviting her to one of his parties, he gets Nick to reunite them. Upon Daisy’s visit to Nick’s home, she and Gatsby rekindle their love affair.
Despite Tom’s affair, he is suspicious of Daisy’s relationship with Gatsby. When he realizes that Gatsby’s in love with her, Tom confronts him.
Tom tells Daisy all about Gatsby’s illegal business, and Daisy decides to stay with Tom. After deciding this, Tom sends Gatsby and Daisy to return to East Egg.
However, they realize that when they drive through the valley of ashes, Daisy has hit Myrtle with the car. Gatsby takes the blame, and Tom tells George, Myrtle’s husband about this.
George believes Myrtle was having an affair with him, and so he goes to get his revenge. He does this by murdering Gatsby and committing suicide afterward.
Nick organizes a funeral for Gatsby, with few people attending. Daisy and Tom ultimately move away to start anew, and Nick returns to the Midwest after ending his relationship with Jordan.
Review Of The Great Gatsby
As you can see, The Great Gatsby is one of the Great American Novels for a reason. Set during the 1920s, it shows the moral decay following World War I as soldiers returned home from war.
Nick and Gatsby have both served in World War I and return with a sense of jaded cynicism. However, both react in different ways.
Gatsby clings to his love for Daisy and becomes obsessed with the idea of her. He couldn’t approach her as he felt he wasn’t good enough to court her.
Instead, he doesn’t approach her until he’s known for being ridiculously wealthy. However, because he is still not “old money” the relationship was doomed from the start.
Nick supports Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship, as he views Gatsby as being both loyal and kind. He sees Gatsby as the perfect man and wants the two of them to do well.
However, Daisy is rarely viewed as a person in this book. She is viewed as an object who is fought over by both her husband and her lover.
Despite Tom pursuing his own extramarital affair, he is furious at the prospect of his wife doing the same as him.
Meanwhile, as the two extramarital affairs go on, Nick pursues his own relationship with Jordan Baker. Jordan represents the modern woman, who is the antithesis of Daisy.
While Daisy believes it is better for a woman to be an idiot, Jordan stands as an equal to Nick. She is there to represent how women are now wearing pants, and she stands in a male-dominated field.
However, whether she got there of her own merit or through dishonesty is left up to the interpretation of the reader.
In a way, Nick and Jordan’s relationship, despite failing, is one that shows more warmth and tenderness than either of the relationships in that Nick is entangled.
Tom’s relationship with Myrtle shows that he doesn’t see her as an equal and almost views her as a pet. He treats her to get a puppy because she wants one and breaks her nose when she crosses the line.
Meanwhile, Gatsby tries to impress Daisy with his wealth but cannot comprehend that she is a married woman with a daughter now.
However, while Tom is a villain, it’s unfair to paint Daisy as one completely. Throughout the novel, she plays a passive role.
She doesn’t directly cause Gatsby’s death, while Tom goes out of his way to inform George of the driver of the car that killed his wife.
His plan is to move them away and sweep everything under the rug. Their relationship is more about how the upper classes can do whatever they want without consequences.
It shows that no matter how hard Gatsby works, he would never have been equal to Daisy or Tom.
No matter how he earned his money, his class would have prevented him from truly being with Daisy.
Instead, he always viewed an idealized dream version of her that became a representation of the American Dream.
The death of the American dream played a huge role in The Great Gatsby, as the American dream shifted from being about individualism and success.
Now the American dream is about wealth and success.
These themes show how The Great Gatsby has gained such traction as the American dream goes further away from its origins.
Even now, film adaptations of The Great Gatsby get lost in the extravagant parties and the Great Jazz Age instead of the social critique it is.
About F. Scott Fitzgerald — Author Of The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald started writing The Great Gatsby in 1922. The whole idea of the story was about “the unfairness of a poor young man not being able to marry a girl with money.”
Fitzgerald had based part of the story on his failed relationship with the socialite: Ginevra King.
The relationship between Fitzgerald and King ultimately failed when King’s father intervened and warned him away.
Ginevra King wrote a story for Fitzgerald where she is trapped in a loveless marriage but still pines for her former lover.
After attaining his fortune, he would return to her and take her away from her loveless marriage.
Even while he was seeing his wife: Zelda, he still wrote to King in the hopes that they would rekindle their romance (If you like romance stories, also check out It Ends With Us).
They reunited in 1937 after King divorced her first husband: Bill Mitchell. However, the meeting wasn’t successful as Fitzgerald struggled with alcoholism.
The relationship he had with Ginevra King had a significant impact on him. Even more of an impact than his relationship with his wife: Zelda, who he would have one child with.
Despite Zelda being a Southern debutante, she eventually accepted Fitzgerald’s marriage proposal after he published This Side of Paradise in 1920.
In 1922, he published The Beautiful and Damned, which gained him some credit with the cultural elite.
However, despite the success of his first and second novels, The Great Gatsby was viewed as a commercial failure.
Following The Great Gatsby, he began to struggle financially. His wife Zelda’s mental health deteriorated, and she was placed in a mental institute for schizophrenia.
Then, in 1934, nearly a decade after The Great Gatsby, he completed his fourth novel: Tender Is The Night.
Following Tender Is The Night, Fitzgerald wrote The Last Tycoon, his fifth and final novel.
However, he would never complete it, as he died in 1940 at 44. Instead, his friend Edmund Wilson published The Last Tycoon posthumously a year later.
The Great Gatsby is an excellent critique of the American dream and the tragedy surrounding it.
While the themes of the work may get lost in translation, it acknowledges the class divide between the nouveau riche and old money.
While it may not have gained commercial success in its time, it’s a classic American novel that still resonates with audiences today.
Much like other works of Fitzgerald, his stories are based loosely on some of his own experiences.
So, to understand his works, it’s also essential to better understand Fitzgerald, as he does take some biographical liberties.
When talking about The Great Gatsby, it’s impossible not to notice the impact it’s had on literature, with numerous adaptations made about it.