The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a classic love story set in the 1920s, in the backdrop of the Jazz Age. The main focus of the plot is the love story between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan that is set amidst the glittering and decadent social atmosphere. At it’s core, it is a love story, but it has more to it.
The story is narrated by Nick Carraway, who moves into a house opposite the mansion of the rich, and elusive Jay Gatsby. Gatsby throws lavish parties frequently, and no one knows much about him and where he has come from. Nick meets Gatsby at one of his parties, and they hit it off. The narrator is fascinated and curious about Gatsby from the beginning. As Nick spends more time around Gatsby, he finds out about his business and his connections and he knows some dangerous people.
The greatest secret and truth of Gatsby’s life is his unconditional and uncompromising love for Daisy. Gatsby and Daisy were in love when they were teenagers, but they were separated. She belonged to an affluent family that made their union impossible, and she marries someone else. After Nick moves to West Egg and forms a friendship with Gatsby, he is reunited with Daisy. Nick and Daisy are distant cousins. Daisy feels neglected by her husband, Tom, who is also having an affair with another woman. When Daisy meets Gatsby, it feels like their past has collided with their present.
It is a little difficult to rationalize some of the decisions taken by the characters in the story. At times, you can empathize with them, and at times, you can’t understand their reactions. The characters are flawed, and it is hard to understand and sympathize with them. Gatsby is crazy about Daisy, and she is all he thinks about, but that doesn’t change the reality of their relationship. When they are together, in those stolen moments they are in their own little bubble oblivious to the world. There is hopefulness in Gatsby when it comes to his love for Daisy.
The social atmosphere of the era, the way it is described in the book is so materialistic, selfish, judgmental, and even harsh. The society these characters live in is such a weird and toxic place. The core of the story remains the romance between Gatsby and Daisy, but it also focuses on the social constructs of the time and the way things worked in that world. The end of the book was abrupt and sad. I liked the way the story is written. Its descriptions range from subtle to explicit, but it never gets dull. I liked the way the story unfolds, and it sets an even pace.
In a rare instance, I saw the movie before I read the book. It was on playing on television one day, and I watched half of it; I skipped the ending on purpose because I wanted to read the book. It didn’t take anything away from the story, but it did help me imagine the setting of the 1920s easily. It is a well-written love story that ends realistically, remaining true to the story. I liked reading this novel.
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