Gatsby the Greatest

When I read Maureen Corrigan’s expert from So We Read On, the first thing I thought of was how I had the same first impression of The Great Gatsby when I read it that she had as a teenager. When I read the book for the first time ( and watched the movie) and finally got to the ending, I closed the novel and thought to myself “What exactly was the point of the novel?” It is difficult to argue that the book is not good, because it is very well written and interesting, but there just seems to be no point, at least none that I can relate to. However, once we started talking about the novel in class, I began to understand the meaning behind the words in the book. What makes this book more mysterious and interesting, I think, is that the meaning is hidden and harder to find than other books because the plot of the story is somewhat dull. When my aunt asked me what The Great Gatsby was about I had difficulty in explaining it to her. I knew the storyline but once I tried to put it into words, it sounded like a bunch of “Well people were drinking and having affairs and such..” However, once we discussed the book in class, I could much easier explain “well there is actually a much deeper importance to the meaning of the book than the plot itself.” I know for a fact that had I not read the book in class and instead read it on my own, I would have put the book back on the self thinking to myself “that was depressing but at least it was well written” and would have given it no further thought. I probably would have told people I did not care for the book that much when asked how I liked it just as Corrigan felt the first time she read the novel. Thankfully I now have a deeper meaning of the book and can engage in a more interesting conversation about how I enjoy it now. There are many other interesting things to learn about Fitzgerald beyond what we learned in class. I was also shocked to learn that Fitzgerald was denied burial to his family’s plot just because the Catholics did not approve of his novels. This shows the culture difference in our nation in little less than 100 years which influenced the novel’s readers. I still find it interesting how Fitzgerald went from someone on the outside looking in to someone on the inside looking out, just as Gatsby had done. Also, Gatsby’s character gave the men in the military reading this novel hope because Gatsby, who was also in the military, went from war to success and even though his story was not happily ever after it showed that he was able to make something of himself. The other thing I enjoyed learning about was the surprising fact that the U.S, military created a greater sensation for Gatsby’s growth than the Leonardo DiCaprio movie did.

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