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F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

Discussion in 'Fiction Books' started by Rogue, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Rogue

    Rogue New Member

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    I just read this book and I really don't understand what the hype is all about!?
    Sure it was pleasant to read but for me there was nothing more.

    So guys why do you love it?

    Cheers :D
     
  2. novella

    novella Active Member

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    There is no hype about FSF, he just has an earned, good reputation. He broke some important ground in American literature. The art of Fitzgerald is that his writing is both modern, decribing the modern human (1920s American) condition, and making such eloquent reference in his language to Keats and Wordsworth and the structured classism of society at the time. He's not just a 1920s novelist, but one who bridges, in my opinion, the linguistic and artistic gap between Romanticism and Modernism. And also fully describes early 20th century American upper class idiocy with wit and depth.

    If you don't get it, perhaps you can't place it in American history, or understand the development of literature in the English language? There is no one else like Fitzgerald.

    If you want it funny, there is Wodehouse and there is, for the NY version, Perelman.
     
  3. Ashlea

    Ashlea New Member

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    I love the Great Gatsby, and I think it's strength relies on the depth of the characters and the incredible realism of Nick (the narrator's) voice. Nick is one of the first narrators to be so blatantly unreliable, so that we have to interpret everything he says, yet still true to himself and unaware that the story is only his interpretation of it. Few authors have been able to do that as well, it's a fine line to walk. (Nabokov of course comes to mind.)
     
  4. Ou Be Low hoo

    Ou Be Low hoo New Member

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    'The Great Gatsby' is one of my favourite books of all time. It's charming, richly evocative of the era and the people and the story is simply perfect.
     
  5. True@1stLight

    True@1stLight New Member

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    Well said, I'm not sure how to describe it better than that.
     
  6. Ou Be Low hoo

    Ou Be Low hoo New Member

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    I totally agree with your sentiments here, but I would like to add one further regarding 'The Great Gatsby'...I don't think I've ever read a more concise and un-wasteful novel...nearly every single sentence is beautiful, yet simple and a delight to read.
     
  7. maey

    maey New Member

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    The Great Gatsby

    My brief, but comprehensive analysis ;-) (I hope those aren't oxymorons):

    There are mixed feelings towards The Great Gatsby. Some feel it is meaningless and focuses too much on the futile preoccupation of the characters; others feel that it is strictly a romance novel that ends tragically. But after recently completing The Great Gatsby I must say I absolutely adored it. Besides the fact that it is rather short, compared to other novels I was required to read for American Lit. class, I felt Fitzgerald captures most of what the Jazz Age/Roaring Twenties embodied in America. The romantic love affair between Gatsby and Daisy was captivating but there were much more intense ideas presented: (1) the double standard between men and women – Tom disregards Daisy when he continues to see Myrtle but he assumes the role of the victim when he discovers the affair between his wife Daisy and Jay Gatsby (2) the desperate desire to relive time – Gatsby fails to let go of the fact that he is living an empty life of crime to impress Daisy, who has her own life with Tom (3) shallow obsession of materialistic possession – money segregates the people of East and West Egg; Tom and Daisy “were careless people […] they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money”. Fitzgerald has an eloquent writing style and he cleverly uses Nick Carraway as the narrator. In the beginning of the novel Nick presents himself as a trustworthy and tolerant person who is “inclined to reserve all judgments”.
    The inclination to reserve judgment is what I especially appreciate in Nick’s character above all other characters. He is able to look beyond the rough edges of people, such as the dishonesty in the most vivacious Jordan Baker and the suave persona Gatsby tries to put on to cover up the love-sick soldier he shelters within himself.
     
  8. Sun-SSS

    Sun-SSS New Member

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    Did I read somewhere that you are only 16, and not well read?

    I stand in awe. My faith in the younger generation begins to be restored. I used to mark papers sometimes, not long ago, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the ever reducing vocabulary range of this post-modern era, and the clumsy way people put their thoughts together. Yours is different.

    I can add nothing to what has already been posted on The Great Gatsby. Eloquence, comes to mind. And characterisation. Fitzgerald's characters, while not all likeable, are always interesting, and so so believable.
     
  9. maey

    maey New Member

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    Awww thanks! :) I really appreciate your reply; very encouraging to me.

    Threads merged - fluffy bunny
     
  10. novella

    novella Active Member

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    maey,

    Hi there. So many astute observations!

    I would say, though, that even while Nick puts himself forth from the beginning as a person who will reserve all judgments, he goes ahead and judges everyone, both socially and morally, from start to finish.

    To me, it's one of the types of essential contradictions in Gatsby that makes it an intriguing book. It creates subtle tension, as we trust Nick but then hear what he has to say, which can be quite harsh and snobby. As narrator, he assumes the reader/listener is sympathetic to his view. Note: he is from a conservative, known family of "good" reputation, which sets him above Gatsby socially, even though he lives in the little cottage, so his judgments are rendered from high on the social ladder. He's basically a rich Midwestern guy temporarily slumming.
     
  11. Jenem

    Jenem kickbox

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    Gizmo - I also did not think much of the novel. I can appreciate what the novel was to its time, but that didn't help me enjoy the story any more. Parts were written very beautifully, but the story itself didn't do much for me. I feel I understand the elements of the story (I agree Maey's review is excellent, and so is Novella's) but it didn't impress me on an "entertainment" level. In short, I didn't find it excellent.
     
  12. Vinsecula

    Vinsecula New Member

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    Hmmm....

    Here is what I often tell people about Gatsby:
    "It is a horrible book, but a wonderful story."

    And I stick to that. While the story, the characters, all of it feels very true to human nature, Nick Carraway's narration of it is what spoils it. His diction is completely full of itself, and I think that may be some of F. Scott's arrogance gleaming through in Nick.

    However, though arrogantly-written, the book still earns a spot on my bookshelf. My personal favorite character was Meyer Wolfsheim. For some reason, I kept picturing him as Elliot Gould...
     
  13. Jenem

    Jenem kickbox

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    OMG - now that you point it out, I TOTALLY agree with you!! LOL
     
  14. Ashlea

    Ashlea New Member

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    That's really the point. Nick IS full of himself, and through the way he tells the story, Fitzgerald lets us in on that insight into Nick's character.
     
  15. opinion8ed2

    opinion8ed2 New Member

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    I also am a big fan of this book. Although when I read it a couple years ago, I didn't really notice the whole conflict with Nick as a narrator. I took his word as law. Whoops. I was younger though, and not as "good" of a reader as I am now, I think. I must re-read it sometime in the near future, since it isn't that long and is definitely worth re-reading to gain the insight that others have :D
     
  16. WoundedThorns

    WoundedThorns New Member

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    i had to read it for school. i can see what you're saying and i agree, but i suppose it was revolutionary especally at that time period since it depicted the rich in a different light
     
  17. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    You know who you are. You've tried reading The Great Gatsby time and time again, only to fail. Now have no fear. This will be an effort to slog through this classic work, all the while not suffering any pain, mental anguish, or outright desire to dig up old F. Scott and slap him. So if you care to join me, grab the book and read up-an alaysis of chapter one will be posted soon.:cool:

    The Great Gatsby Wiki page.

    Interesting trivia from the Wiki page.

     
  18. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    So far, so good with this one. Chapter one was as I remembered from previous readings. Tom Buchanan is described as a muscle bound playboy. More specifically, as:
    And not to leave any ambiguity in the matter, Fitzgerald has our ever kind and humble narrator state:
    Fitzgerald did include some politics of the time into the book. This can be seen through the reference of eugenics when Nick is speaking with Tom's wife and the comment is made about the need for the white race to continue, lest the lesser ones catch up. Not a big thing in the book by any means, just an interesting side stop along the road.

    I've met a few people in my life like Tom Buchanan. The machismo nature and jaw that juts out majestically is a couple of the traits that I see very clearly upon reading these parts. And how many people have you met whose peak part of life occured when they were seniors in high school or college? Sad really, but common.

    The inner-class consciousness between east and west egg are interesting to note. I was really interested in the description of the valley of ashes. In having Nick and Tom visit George Wilson in the valley in Wilson's garage points out the proletarian origins of Wilson to the inth degree. Tom's arrogance still shines through, definitely not a man who respects his "lessers" by any means. His following comment about why Wilson is naive about his wife leaving with Tom is quite telling.

    Chapter 3's account of how Nick came to meet Gatsby was done in a classy way. The unsuspecting Nick sharing war stories, unbeknowest to him, with Gatsby was a good transition in the story. I also loved how the rumors of Gatsby were related. You could just see the whispering people. "He is related to the Kaiser," "He fought with the Germans," "He killed a man." In reading these items, I was reminded of the busy bees in my own small community.:p The account of the wreck and the drunken individual too sloshed to figure out that the tire was separated from the rest of the vehicle was a good way to begin to show the excesses of the era. The entertained crowd, you could just imagine such a scene.

    Starting chapter IV in about fifteen minutes, an enjoyable read thus far.:)
     
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  19. SFG75

    SFG75 Well-Known Member

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    Found an interesting geocities site dealing with The Great Gatsby. Do check it out, it's chock-full of some interesting material.

    Chapter V was by far, my favorite. The introduction of Meyer Wolfsheim to Nick was an interesting affair in Ch.IV, not to mention the cold encounter between Tom and good old Jay.:D The biggest scene though was the first meeting between Daisy and Gatsby. Just imagining the cold, sunken-eyed, love-sick Gatsby gave me a good fit of laughter. Fitzgerald planned Nick's reaction to finding out that he had been taken advantage of provides a good "fit" into the character as you could envision Nick really doing that. Someone who is annoyed, but distantly so, yet helping the person who deceived him in such an uncomfortable situation.

    Still awake and reading......onto chapter VI.:cool:
     
  20. Dogmatix

    Dogmatix New Member

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    You need to switch to decaf:)

    Haven't read Gatsby since high school, but your enthusiasm is definitely contagious. Nice analysis so far.
     

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