A Review of The Great Gatsby

Breindy Berger

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s notably famous work, The Great Gatsby, is one of the most widely acclaimed works of American literature. Jay Gatsby’s rise to riches, failure, and ultimate death provide a highly insightful commentary on the moral decay of the Roaring 20’s and on the slippery reality of the American Dream.

The book demonstrates the difference in definition of success and of the American Dream for Americans with different social backgrounds.  It presents an overall disgust with the lie of the Dream, and with Americans who cannot reimagine it. While this view of the Dream is certainly cynical, it has remained accurate until today.

Wrapped in the guise of a doomed love story, The Great Gatsby is a beautifully crafted classic full of deep symbols and relevant insights on people’s deepest desires. Gatsby is the perfect example of an American dreamer. He grows up poor. He works incredibly hard. He is involved in some shady business, but the whole time, he has a Dream in mind. He wants two things, both of which his love, Daisy, represent: money and a place in high society. He gets his money, but his failure to be a part of high society is so complete that it is difficult to determine whether he was successful. His dream also kills him, which makes it even more difficult to call him a success.

The disdain of the “old rich” for the “new rich” is clearly portrayed as negative in The Great Gatsby, and it ensures that class division will not be remedied. The old rich, like Tom and Daisy, have no respect for the new rich, which dooms Gatsby before he even begins to pursue his dream. Although Gatsby attains his money, he can never achieve a place in high society, and he can never truly win Daisy’s heart. Because Gatsby, the person who seemingly made it, fails in the end, the American dreamer is doomed.

Gatsby isn’t the easiest read out there, but it isn’t the hardest one, either, and it provides many discussion points and a lot of food for thought. Its well-developed themes are as relevant today as they were in 1925. The writing can only be described as beautiful. All of this contributes to The Great Gatsby’s continuous ranking among the most important pieces of American literature.