The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby discussion


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What's so great about The Great Gatsby?

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Jordan I hated this book in high school, and, lo and behold, I became a high school English teacher and have taught it annually for thirty years! I've come to love it, but that's only because I have an unorthodox reading of the book that makes the work compelling to me. Here are some hints on how to appreciate it. The first thing to point out is that Fitzgerald's not interested in Gatsby; the book is about Nick. Also, far from seeing Nick as a trustworthy narrator, I see him as deeply unreliable. For instance, take note of when he opts to describe events in Jay's or Jordan's or Daisy's pasts rather than allow the characters to explain what happened through dialogue. Also notice the use of the conditional tense when he describes events that he didn't witness first hand. Basically, my reading is that Nick -- Yale graduate, remember -- is deceiving himself in elevating Gatsby -- a nincompoop and a gangster WHO DOESN'T EVEN KNOW WHERE SAN FRANCISCO IS -- to greatness, and he does this in order to repress his own culpability in the events that happened. Read the work as the product of a guilt-ridden and deeply traumatized accomplice to a fatal accident (NOT a tragedy) and you may find something intriguing in the book.


Kasey L I also found The Great Gatsby to be insipid. My guesses as to why it is so popular are because (1) it is book about a historical era written by a key figure within that time period, (2) Fitzgerald was a wildly popular celebrity and this book was loosely based on his highly publicized lifestyle, (3) Fitzgerald's short stories were incredible and critics were eager for him to write his masterpiece.

I believe that people eagerly accepted it as an American classic even though it wasn't original or great because he was an eminent writer and also because they were excited that he had depicted that time period so accurately.

I am very interested to read other people's comments to learn why they love it, though!


message 3: by Monty J (last edited Jan 31, 2020 08:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Kasey wrote: "even though it wasn't original "

What did you find unoriginal about it? Plagiarism is a serious charge. If you're going to make the assertion you must defend it rather than requiring others to bow to your whimsical demand for them to explain themselves. (Or are you one of Goodreads' paid trolls, trying to scare up hits so they can charge more for advertising?)

What qualifies you to make such an absurd accusation? What book did you feel The Great Gatsby emulated?


Heaven W I read this in my Advanced Literature class in HS when I was 16 and then on my own when I was about 20. I am in no way as knowledgeable or intellectual as some of the commentators seem but I will state my reasons on why it peeked my interests and my opinions :)

1. When I read this in school I in no way understood it haha until it was broken down by my teacher. Once I sorta got the idea I re read it many years later to see if my adult self could comprehend it even more so, and if it in any way correlated with my life.

2. My teacher broke it down simply saying that Nick was first non judgmental and naive and then through out the book you see him start to mature and see that judgement is necessary in everyday life and that things are not what it is all cracked up to be. He was so fond of Gatsby, a man he thought he knew so well based off of what he was being told, then realizes only after his death he didn't know him at all.

So, I am assuming people enjoy the story because they can relate to alot of the characters. Jay, a hopeless romantic with no real future, loses the girl and makes this impression that he is so much more than himself. Obsessed with a woman who in the end doesn't even chose him.
Nick a naive hopeful good man who shows that sometimes you have to be a pessimist in life and that things are not what they seem.
Daisy a woman who wants so much more but settles because its what she feels she has to do. That she is nothing.

All in all i dont believe this story is as grand as it should be but I come to relate to a lot of the characters this book portrays and maybe thats why most people praise it. Honestly, no clue.


Susan I hated this book. This was required reading in one of my English classes. Blech. Depressing, full of unlikable characters. Have really no idea why it's held in such high regard!


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