With the premiere of the movie this summer, I decided a reread of The Great Gatsby was in order. I had originally given it a three out of five on Goodreads, which I think was because whenever I read it, many moons ago, it didn’t make much of an impression. (I was an English major, so god only knows when I originally came across it.) I was also interested to see, with the benefit of time and age, if my opinion would change.
The Great Gatsby definitely stands the test of time and is a mirror into the past, the 1920s to be exact. Gatsby is more myth than man, a legend of fall tales and mystery. The narrator of this tale, Nick Carraway is equal parts casual observer, unwitting participant, and helpless bystander. His telling of Gatsby, and his downfall shows us the frivolity and invincibility of this time period, at least for those that were more fortunate. Self-awareness is at an all time low, and living for the moment is the trend.
“Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people I have ever known.” This statement by Carraway is very telling to me. I think many of the main characters would believe this about themselves, and even acknowledge that they are honest about their dishonesty. The misfortune is that they can’t be honest about what they don’t know, which is the true nature of themselves, and of those around them, and this is ultimately the downfall of our title character.
I really enjoyed this read, though I’m not sure if this is due to only my opinion, or with the weight of acclaim. I recommend it as a solid read, and a novel that deserves the praise heaped upon on. On a personal note, I also recommend rereading novels that you previously read in high school and/or college. Trying to understand your own reasoning for highlighting certain passages is a mystery all it’s own.