“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead,”
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This isn’t a review of a “Great American Classic”, but rather comparing my thoughts from when I was a teenager to now.
I still love the story. It is a story about a person observing the wealth, craze, and vapid selfishness of his peers. The fancy lifestyle fascinated me now as it did 10-15 years ago. Nick Carraway is still the innocent but sweet character who is in over his head with New York’s wealthy. He’s probably closest to being my first book boyfriend. He’s my favorite character in the book for two reasons. One, he’s honorable, even when he didn’t have to be. He doesn’t care much for what others thing. He’s the narrator of the story and appears somewhat neutral, but in reality, he’s not a neutral narrator. He is our moral compass.
That brings me to my next point: I love the “I’m watching” narration. It’s first person objective POV, officially. Nick’s role is detached from the main story. However, that is not completely true either Nick Carraway may be objective to the actual events that happen, but his opinion is still inserted throughout. It’s debated whether a first POV can be truly detached, but either way, it’s a form of narration that appeals to me, especially when it comes to eventual stories I want to tell.
One of the major changes this time around was that I noticed how empty all the rich people were. When I was younger, I thought Daisy, Tom, and the gang were selfish and corrupt people. This time, I noticed that they weren’t bad, but rather they were “nothing”. Machines of society, they moved through the motions. Instead of hating them, I pitied them. At 15, I believed Daisy loved Gatsby but was stuck in bad choices. I now think she never loved anyone, not even herself. It’s sad; I pity them.
And speaking of pity, Instead of finding Gatsby romantic this time, I found him pathetic. He believed till the last minute that Daisy loved him and would run away with him. He searched for someone to love him since he never loved himself. Maybe it’s me finding my own happy ending–love isn’t about changing everything you are for someone else. I don’t think Gatsby loved Daisy, but he did believe he loved her.
When I was a child, I saw the book through an innocent’s eyes: a romantic tragedy, full of pretty people and pretty things. Now as a happily married woman, I saw a tragic story about people who are searching for love but never find it. They never knew what LOVE is.