Monday, 16 May 2011

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

I think my expectations were set a little too high. Considering The Great Gatsby's  iconic status as an American classic, I expected something a little more, oh, I don't know...profound? Fitzgerald certainly has a highly polished writing style that oozes cool sophistication but it seemed a bit much at times. Mitigating circumstances also seem to have influenced my enjoyment of he novel and I would like to revisit it in the near future without so many distractions.

The novel makes no illusions about its scathing indictment of American culture during a specific time period when the country was undergoing radical social and political change in terms of class. It is also a cynical and accurate depiction of the crumbling American dream after WWI caused by rampant moral depravity and superficial materialism. The corruption of moral and ethical values with greed and selfishness creates displacement in the individual where a self-identity is tied only to wealth and social rank. The novel's preoccupation with nostalgia and the attempt to re-establish the past is most heartfelt. It seems that nothing much has changed with American culture since the 1920's and perhaps Fitzgerald was right, maybe that green-light will always be out of reach.

Read from April 24 to 25, 2011

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