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Apr 13, 2011

Plot: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published on April 10, 1925, it is set in Long Island's North Shore and New York City during the summer of 1922. The novel chronicles an era that Fitzgerald himself dubbed the "Jazz Age." Following the shock and chaos of World War I, American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the economy soared. Although it was adapted into both a Broadway play and a Hollywood film within a year of publication, it was not popular upon initial printing, selling fewer than 25,000 copies during the remaining fifteen years of Fitzgerald's life. It was largely forgotten during the Great Depression and World War II. After its republishing in 1945 and 1953, it quickly found a wide readership and is today widely regarded as a paradigm of the Great American Novel. The Great Gatsby is ranked second in the Modern Library's list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century. Time included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.

The story is presented as a recollection of Nick Carraway, a young man from a patrician Midwestern family who lived in New York after graduating from Yale in the early 1920s. Nick declares that, following his father's advice, he avoids judging people: a habit that has caused trouble, exemplified by events concerning a man named Gatsby.

Nick's next-door neighbor is the wealthy and mysterious Jay Gatsby, who each weekend throws lavish parties hosting hundreds of people. Nick receives a formal invitation from Gatsby's butler and attends. Nick runs into Jordan Baker, but they are separated while searching for Gatsby. Jordan reveals to Nick that Gatsby fell in love with Daisy before the war and hosts parties in the hope that she will visit. Gatsby has asked Jordan to ask Nick to get him a meeting with Daisy. Nick agrees: the reunion is initially awkward, but Gatsby and Daisy begin a love affair. An affair also begins for Nick and Jordan, but Nick knows of Jordan's shortcomings and predicts that their relationship will be superficial.

Later, Daisy invites Gatsby and Nick over to her mansion and the three, accompanied by Tom and Jordan Baker, depart for a hotel in the city at Tom's suggestion. At the hotel, Tom eventually notices Gatsby's love for Daisy and, in front of Gatsby, Daisy, Nick, and Jordan, claims that he has been researching Gatsby. Tom alleges that Gatsby is a bootlegger and expresses his loathing of him. Gatsby urges Daisy to say that she never loved Tom; Daisy says that although she did love him, she still loved Gatsby as well. Tom mockingly tells Gatsby that nothing can happen between him and Daisy. Gatsby retorts that the only reason Daisy married Tom was because he (Gatsby) was too poor to afford to marry Daisy at the time. Tom is angered and for the second time in the novel he visibly loses his composure. Gatsby and Daisy drive off together in Gatsby's car while Tom takes his time getting home in the company of Nick and Jordan.

The suspicions of George Wilson, husband of Tom's mistress Myrtle, have also been aroused and he too has been arguing with his wife. Myrtle runs outside only to be struck and killed by Gatsby's car, which is driven by Daisy.

The following day Nick learns the truth about the accident while breakfasting with Gatsby by his pool. Gatsby is depressed, unsure of whether Daisy still loves him and hoping for a call from her. Seeing himself as Gatsby's closest friend, Nick advises Gatsby to leave for a week. "They're [Daisy, Tom, Jordan] a rotten crowd," Nick says, "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together." Gatsby smiles the irresistible smile that Nick describes as having "faced—or seemed to face—the whole world, then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor."

Wilson appears at the Buchanan mansion with a gun, finding Tom packing to escape with Daisy. Tom, unaware of Daisy's culpability, names Gatsby as the driver of the car that killed Myrtle. Wilson finds Gatsby floating in his pool and kills him before committing suicide nearby.

Gatsby's funeral devolves upon Nick, whose attempt to find other mourners is virtually fruitless; not even Gatsby's shady business associates will attend. Apart from Gatsby's servants and Nick, the only other mourners are "Owl Eyes" (a Gatsby party guest) and Gatsby's father, Mr. Gatz. In the end, Nick returns permanently to the Midwest, reflecting on Gatsby and the experience.

Fitzgerald very eloquently writes a wonderful novel that without a doubt can be called a masterpiece. His choice of words is very articulate and the description he includes in every sentence is admirable. Fitzgerald helps the reader to become part of the novel and associate with the characters; as well as be able to imagine the story and picture it perfectly down to the very last detail. His use of figurative language in this piece is what makes it flow and sound like poetry. He created somewhat fictional characters, such as Gatsby that one can appeal to and enjoy reading about. This novel is hard to put down, its very easy flowing and one can run through the pages like the waves through the sea. The book is so entertaining that it's easy to miss the fact that it's beautifully written.

The Great Gatsby is so sad too because in the end no one "wins" except maybe for Nick who is a better man for having known Gatsby. Eventhough Nick believes that Daisy and Tom can retreat into their money and forget anything ever happened, Daisy still has to live with the fact that she got the only man who every really loved her killed, I don't think money could make her forget that

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