August 21, 2012

The Great Gatsby

The wedding was so wonderful this weekend.
We had such a great time seeing all of our friends from college
together again and spending time with everyone.
While I sort through a couple of things I figured to
discuss a book that I recently revisited.
Last week I reread F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
I had been wanting to read it again for a while and had
recently found my old copy from senior year in high school. 
It had been assigned as summer reading, we needed to annotate it.
Apparently, sixteen year old me had no idea what
annotating a book meant, and didn't bother to look it up.
Reading the first couple of pages was torture for twenty-four year old me.
I kept pausing to read my "notes" in the margins
and wondered what in the world I had been thinking.
Very little of it made any sense.
When I was not stating the obvious, I was underlining random sentences.
I quickly realized that there was no reason why I underlined
anything, save for the sake of "annotating" the book.
As annoying as it was, I continued reading, trying my best
to ignore sixteen year old me's comments on nothing.
I did not remember much about the book, just a few scenes
stayed in my memory, so I no longer had any idea how it ended.
I'd put money on my horrible "annotating" as
the reason why the story was forgotten.

At first, I liked the story. I liked Fitzgerald's voice and tone.
Then we met Daisy, she is selfish and vain and annoyed me from the start.
(On a side note, she reminds me so much of a character that 
I'm currently reading about, Darcy in Something Borrowed.)
I remember having more sympathy for her and her situation in the past.
I remember severely hating Myrtle, and while I did dislike Tom Buchanan
just as much during this read, I didn't hate Myrtle this time around.
And I certainly did not feel sorry for Daisy.
Gatsby's inability to ask a direct question or favor of Nick annoyed me as well.
They all seemed to enjoy talking around things, casually hinting
at what they'd like, and then acting surprised when they got it.
As it so often happens on second glance,
I picked up on different things in the story.
 There was so much going on that I didn't realize before,
or that have at least escaped my memory.
For one, I hadn't realized that Gatsby's whole purpose,
everything that he built himself to be was for Daisy.
He was obsessed with her, and she only seemed to care for
whoever was most interested in her at any given moment.
How easily swayed she was in the hotel room where they all argued
about the affair, how she and Tom agreed to flee and place the blame
on Gatsby later that evening, it is evident that she never really cared
about anyone but herself. I'm not sure how sixteen year old me
missed the entire concept of Gatsby being such a tragic character.

Fitzgerald's characters flaunt the evils of human nature,
making them no better than the ash heaps they think so lowly of.
And at the end I felt disappointed.
All signs pointed to an unhappy ending, I knew it was coming.
It was just sad to see how after all of it, Gatsby had no one.
And everyone else, aside from Nick, continued on with their lives
unaffected as if nothing had happened, what Gatsby?
If Fitzgerald meant this to be a social commentary of the time,
then sadly, I do not think very much has changed in the ways of
human nature, we just word things differently.

Have you read The Great Gatsby?
I would love to hear what you think!

1 comment :

  1. I love this book. I'm dying to see the movie that comes out soon!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. I love hearing from you!