|Release Date||April 10th 1925|
|Author||F Scott Fitzgerald|
Written in 1925 by author F. Scott Fitzgerald, it follows narrator Nick Carraway as he reconnects with newly minted millionaire Jay Gatsby. But despite his wealth, Gatsby wants one thing and one thing only — the love of his old flame Daisy Buchanon.
As a member of the nouveau riche, Gatsby lives in a palatial mansion in the neighborhood of New Egg, which looks out over the water to Old Egg, where the true elite of society live. He throws massive parties and lives audaciously, but it isn’t enough.
Nick, whose first-person perspective we follow, has some secrets of his own, many that the reader never gets to fully understand without paying close attention.
The Great Gatsby is all about the American Dream. The titular character has gone from rags to riches, but there is still something his life is missing. Despite posh parties and an adventurous lifestyle, he is lonely. And despite all the wealth in the world, he’ll never be accepted by the elite.
In that way, it’s a criticism of something that lies deep within the country’s psyche — the desire to acquire and rise through the social ranks. But the book asks if chasing those things ever really ends up in happiness.
But it’s also a criticism of something else: the idea in our society that you can truly join a higher class. Almost anyone who tries will never get as far as Gatsby does, but even he couldn’t find acceptance. Class isn’t all about dollars in the bank.
While it was a commercial flop upon publication in 1922, during World War II it was distributed by the Council on Books in Wartime, a non-profit that sent free reading material to soldiers.
This led to many reassessing the book, and it was eventually recognized as one of the great achievements in American literature. Unfortunately, its author wasn’t alive to see it — he died in 1940, believing his work would be forgotten.
The short answer is: yes.
Gatsby uses sophisticated literary devices without ever coming off as pretentious or boring. Instead, the story at the heart brings massive emotion to the reader, and the ideas it kicks around will stay with you for years to come — all under 200 pages.
Even better, it sprinkles in comedy, biting satire, and swanky party culture from the Roaring 20s.
Plus, Fitzgerald was a master of images. Gatsby has many. Some are haunting, some are harrowing, and some are funny. But they all serve the story and keep asking that question: what does it mean to want? And the even harder question to answer: what does it mean to have?