Sunday, November 16, 2014

5 Reasons Why I Love The Great Gatsby

I have a confession: I'm not a huuuge fan of classic literature. (Please don't stone me.) However, last year I read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and it quickly catapulted to my list of favorite books. Why is that? Some days, I still don't even know. It has everything I thought I wouldn't like in a book: it's a classic, it has a bad ending, and it's a rather bleak book. But regardless, I still adore The Great Gatsby. It's probably my favorite book ever, actually. And here is my attempt to put my incoherent ramblings about Gatsby into words: five reasons why I loved it.

1. The characters.

I'd be remiss not to mention the characters, as well-crafted as they are. We have Nick Carraway, the unreliable narrator. [SPOILER] For the movie, they made him narrate the story from an insane asylum, which made me happy. After all he's been through, how could he NOT have been driven a little batty? [ /SPOILER] Overall I find him quite likable, and though I thought he'd be flat, he wasn't. He's logical and reasonable, and I really love him.

Then we have Nick's cousin Daisy Buchanan, whom I personally adore. She's been stuck in a situation she wasn't planning on, and her dreamer's heart has been broken, as we see in this post:

"It'll show you how I've gotten to feel about – things. Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. 'All right,' I said, 'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool – that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.' "

Life isn't what Daisy thought it would be, at all, and her story is really rather tragic. Despite this, I still see people hating on her on the internet. Why is this? Protip: Don't hate on my girl Daisy. (Well, you can, because freedom of speech and all. But at least think about things from her perspective.)

Now we come to the titular character himself, Jay Gatsby! He's such an enigmatic mystery, and then we find out that he's kind of creepily obsessed with the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. Well, okay. (That is weird, I'll admit.)

The things I find most interesting about Jay are that a.) he basically created himself as he wanted to be seen, and b.) he has a hard time letting go of the past. Jay Gatsby is surprisingly a fake name, and we find that in some ways the man we see is an illusion, or at least what Jay wants us to see--the man he's made himself into. And then, the whole premise of the novel happens because Jay can't let go of the past, aka Daisy. And he ends up paying for it.

There are tons of other characters of course, but these are my top three.

2. The roaring 20's 

I haven't read much about the 20s, so reading Gatsby was glorious. The lavish lifestyle and the glamour you can feel radiating off the pages is incredible. (Especially Jay's decadent parties. Wow. Watching them on screen in the 2013 movie adaptation is even more stunning.)

But we also see the pitfalls, the way people were obsessed with material and hedonistic pleasures, such as when Nick spends an afternoon drinking with a bunch of people he doesn't know. It's a very interesting look on what the 20s were like--the good and the bad.

3. The descriptions

I once put up a personal post on my blog about how Fitzgerald described a ceiling as cake. Cake, people. How could that not be fabulous? Immediately he sets the scene with his perfect descriptions. I haven't pictured the events of a book this easily in a long time. Fitzgerald transported me to a different world with his descriptions, all the way from Daisy's curtains to the two large eyes of T.J. Eckleburg.

4. The twist ending

I have to admit, I couldn't put The Great Gatsby down. I was riveted at the very end, and horrified when I saw what was coming. And even though I had an idea of how it ended, my stomach still twisted when we reached the end. It was heartbreaking. I know this ending might not be for everyone, and it may come across as a very hopeless one. I get that. I do. But for some reason, I adored it. It made me feel things, and that's one of my favorite things.

5. The quotability

Say what you will about the ending, The Great Gatsby has a ton of great, thought-provoking lines. Fitzgerald truly was a gifted writer, and I love immersing myself in his words. Here are some of my favorite lines from this particular book of his.

“Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.” 
“So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.” 
“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” 
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” 
“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.” 
“They’re a rotten crowd’, I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.” 
“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.” 
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” 
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 

Overall, The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books. So what about you? Did you like The Great Gatsby? Did you hate it? Feel ambivalent?
Sound off in the comments!


  1. It's been a while since I read Gatsby, but I loved it. It's such a rich story, and the imagery! It's definitely a visual book.

  2. The Great Gatsby is most definitely one of my favorite books. Everything about it is utterly beautiful and terrifying and....heartbreaking. Not to mention that me and Gatsby have pretty similar personalities. I just reallly love it.

  3. I'm totally with you--I adore The Great Gatsby. I love the way Fitzgerald's style is descriptive and elegant but also somehow still simple and real. I love/hate the tragedy. And I really love Gatsby himself. I'm not one for classics, either, but this is definitely one of my favourites.

    Not sure if you've already read it, but since you like The Great Gatsby, you also might like Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. I discovered it a little after I first read Gatsby, and they remind me of each other somehow. I love each writer's style, and you can really see the disillusionment of the Lost Generation in both of them.

  4. My favourite part about TGG is the way it makes me *think*. And the characters' stories are relatably tragic. This post captures my own thoughts well. :)