The Great Gatsby – A View of Its Past and Present

Just like Maureen Corrigan, many others certainly did not enjoy the experience of reading The Great Gatsby in high school. One reason is that all the characters are more or less unlikable — Corrigan described her first impression of Daisy as acting “too much like the mean girls in the cafeteria”. Also, the book is a disappointment for many young readers who love intense action scenes or surprising turn of events. The elegant language flows through the entire novel smoothly, creating little to no ripples even during the death of Gatsby and Myrtle. If I did not watch the movie before I read the book, I probably would never catch Wilson murdering Gatsby. The magic often shows after rereading the novel, when many people start to see the significance it holds.

Fitzgerald waved his life into the plot of Gatsby. According to the article “How Gatsby Went From A Moldering Flop To A Great American Novel”, Fitzgerald was always “hoping to be good enough” for Princeton and his friends. His “hope” and desire is reflected in Gatsby, who constantly reach out to the green light, hoping to be good enough for Daisy. Even after his death, the writer was still denied his value by the Catholic Church. This parallels with Gatsby’s death: he died and was denied by Daisy and many others.

Apparently the novel was so unpopular at 1925 that Fitzgerald could not even find a copy at the bookstore for his mistress (Beckwith). However, the army has, surprisingly, helped with the promotion of the novel by distributing millions of copy to the soldiers. After knowing that the soldiers were reading The Great Gatsby on the eve of D-Day, I now look at the novel under a different light. Who would have thought that the thin and short novel about broken relationships can make such a grand impact in American Literature? After reading the history, I now sees the novel as going through a journey in the world of literature with some similarity to a protagonist chasing the American Dream.



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