Set within the glamorous backdrop of the 1920s prohibition era, The Great Gatsby is a tale of love and one man’s desperate attempt to repeat the past.
It’s summer 1922 in the village of West Egg, Long Island, when Nick Carraway, the narrator, moves into the house next door to the mysterious Jay Gatsby. Upon arriving in his new home he goes to visit his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom and witnesses their elaborate lifestyles.
Nick is simply an observer, giving the reader an insight into Gatsby’s life, as more and more of his past is revealed. Daisy and Tom are living in an unhappy marriage. Gatsby lives in an enormous mansion and throws the most extravagant parties in New York, but does not take part in them, as they only serve to get the attention of Daisy, Gatsby’s long lost love.
The love story can be viewed as beautiful yet heavily based on vanity. When they were teenagers Daisy and Gatsby were in love, but the war tore them away from each other. Gatsby’s parties are a way for him to show off his money to Daisy in an attempt to get her attention. It is revealed that many more parts of his life are simply engineered around him trying to repeat the past and get Daisy back.
All characters in the novel, apart from Nick, share the same characteristic of vanity. Daisy only cares about Gatsby once she finds out that he is obscenely wealthy, Tom is only married to Daisy for her status when he is really in love with someone else.
The beautiful description almost distracts the reader from the evil and selfishness that truly lives in this novel.
When Nick witnesses one of Gatsby’s parties for the first time from his home, Fitzgerald writes in the most picturesque way.
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
About the author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul Minnesota on September 24, 1896.
- His wife Zelda is considered the original ‘flapper girl’ of the 1920s.
- The Great Gatsby was never a best seller in Fitzgerald’s life time, it was until the novel got re-released during WWII.