The Great Gatsby


The Great Gatsby F.S. Fitzgerald, New York:
Charles Scribner\'s Sons, 1925. pp 182

This novel is in general about middle and upper class american
citizens and their lives a few years after the first world war had
concluded. The author, a World War I veteran himself, shows insight into
the lives and minds of American soldiers who fought in Europe during the
conflict and the interesting experiences some may have had in the years
following their return. Through written conversation, the novel deals
with many of the social attitudes and ideas which prevailed during the
early 20\'s. Historical facts are cleverly infused into the body of the
novel that gives the reader an authentic and classic impression of the
story. A clear view of the discrimination that existed in that time period
against non-whites and women was evident by the time the conclusion of the
book was reached. For instance, a conversation takes place between
characters in the novel in which civilization is said to be going to pieces
as a result of "The Rise of the Coloured Empires". Women are also
constantly referred to as "girls".

Also incorporated, was an interesting but sometimes uneventful and
boring sub-plot of a man\'s extreme love for a woman and the catastrophic
events that take place as a result. This was indicative of many people of
the day who had a spouse but often had someone else on the side. Although
this book is not the kind that exciting motion pictures are made of, It
was regarded as one of the masterpieces of American literature.

The plot centres on a fictional World War I army veteran named Nick
Carraway. After his involvement in the war on the allied side with a
machine gun battalion, he returned to his home in Chicago. With no clear
direction of what he wanted to do with his life, he decided to move to New
York to enter into the business of selling bonds. He settled down on an
area of Long Island called West Egg, directly beside a more fashionable
area of Long Island called West Egg. Across from him lived a rich man
named Jay Gatsby who also was a World War I vet. Not far away lived a
married couple Daisy and Tom Buchanan which he knew relatively well. It
was at their residence that he met a woman, Jordan Baker, who was to become
his good friend and later his girl friend. Carraway soon became a good
friend with his rich neighbour next door, Gatsby, and soon was exposed to
many rumours about this man which caused him to question his relationship
with him. A rumour that explained why he was so rich was that he was
German Kaiser Van Wilhelm\'s relative.

Carraway later found out from Jordan, that Gatzby was once in love
with Tom Buchanan\'s wife, Daisy. In fact the only reason that Gatzby had
moved into the large mansion on West Egg was to be close to his lost love.
Daisy soon rekindles the love between her and Gatsby and it turns into a
secret affair that only a few, including Carraway, are aware. However,
Daisy\'s husband soon finds out and this is when the trouble begins. As
Daisy and Gatsby are driving, they accidentally hit and kill a woman named
Mrs. Wilson who\'s husband suspects that she is cheating. Mr. Wilson
wrongly accuses Gatzby of having an affair with his wife based on
information from Tom Buchanan and subsequently kills him. So the story
ends.

This novel was not overly exciting but it was well written. The author
conveyed the main character\'s thoughts and emotions in a manner that was
both fascinating and clever. The vocabulary and choice of words used
enhanced the style. The plot followed a simple pattern and built up to a
climax at the end. The novel also proved to be a fitting reflection of
some minute aspects of American life at the quarter of the century.
Historically, the book was correct. For instance, the fact that the
Americans fought in World War I in 1917 and turned out to be a factor in
the defeat of Germany and it\'s allies during the war was written.
References to other aspects of the war were limited although there were the
occasional mention of places and names that related to it such as the
Argonne Forest and the German Kaiser Van Wilhelm. Racism and sexism, which
were also a integral parts of life back then were also included in the
novel. The book mirrored the time in which it