Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Is Gatsby so Great?

The Great Gatsby has lately become a household title. Everyone is talking of the newest version of the classic novel. The twenties was an era where America's focal point became pleasure and self. Of course the mysterious book allowing us a glimpse into that extravagant past has been retold many times through the silver screen. We will first look at the book itself and the characters that gave life to the roaring twenties. And finally we'll consider the movie.

From a purely literary perspective, the book is brilliant. The writing is very well done and flows wonderfully. The plot rolls along with perfect rhythm. The twists arrive at precisely the right moments. That being said, the plot is as mysterious as its protagonist. The story centers on the incredibly peculiar Jay Gatsby's lavish lifestyle, eccentric parties, and forbidden romance. It offers everything in the way of entertainment but morally it leaves us hungry.

Each prominent character has much according to the measures of the world. Wealth, youth, beauty, popularity, and talent are generously distributed to each character in turn. Every main character is at some point immorally attached to a significant other. The attempts at nobility in other areas are made minor by these impure actions. The acclaimed Gatsby himself pursues a married woman shamelessly. Selfishness governs Gatsby to the very last breath.

Despite the immoral conduct of the Gatsby, I believe he was searching. Searching vainly for value in his life. He did everything exciting and adventurous. There was nothing left. And he acutely felt the void in his heart. He tried to fill it with Daisy. What he lacked was purpose.

It is true that the author severely punished the offending characters. I wonder if Fitzgerald's purpose in writing this story was to reveal what the twenties truly offered, disappointed dreams and hollow promises. It very well may have been written as a reflection his own sorrowful life. Whatever the case, the story cautions us to beware of the allure of the sin that ruins all: the sin of pride.

I can not acclaim for the sliver screen's  newest version of the novel. I have not watched the movie; the trailer was quite enough. Reading the reviews confirmed my suspicions. They have played up the glory of sin. Hollywood does not fail at turning the rogue into the hero and his faults into victories. They do not even allows us the music of the twenties. Instead they add modern music to keep the attention of the audience. It supposedly lost the essence of  F Scott Fitzgerald's world. It failed at presenting the clip of time through the author's eyes. Consequently, I will miss the latest retelling of The Great Gatsby.

The novel I believe can be read and examined safely enough. Whatever the intent of the author in putting this tale to paper, the moral of the danger and destruction of selfishness screams to be noted. The similarities between that pleasure-seeking era and our own time is startling. We must learn from the mistakes of the past lest we also reap the consequences.


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