The Great Gatsby, the 1925 novel by the master F. Scott Fitzgerald may be required reading for many high schoolers today. It may widely be considered one of the greatest novels ever written. It may widely be celebrated, critiqued, parodied, and modernized. But ultimately it is, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, a gem that was unappreciated during its own time.
Jay Gatsby believes in a manner so firm and pure it is reminiscent of Root, the Tibetan impoverished worker from the Chinese filmA World Without Thieves. Gatsby believes so purely he unconsciously attracts those bright characters intoxicated on the whirring whimsy of New York City and those unctuous slugs dancing out of the gutter to the alluring tunes of the Jazz Era. The hope is infectious, the heartbreak is gut-wrenching, and the story is filled with unappreciated potential. However, just like Fitzgerald andThe Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby fulfills that potential in unexpected ways. Nick Carraway like all of us is inspired to carry on the ideas that were not adequately understood in their own time but amazingly still stir deep within us today 90 years later.
Every character in this story is loveable, embraceable, and utterly condemnable. The Great Gatsby is a rhythmic improvised symphony that captures us all and puts society in the cross-hairs so we can truly see. And with those same keen eyes we can finally see how grotesque and great we have grown.