The Daily Suck
I’ve said before that I’m taking a college English class, and yesterday I received my first writing assignment: What is your favorite book and why? Not to be a school nerd or anything (book nerd would be more accurate), but that’s a fun assignment right there. But how did I possibly pick my favorite book of all time? It was impossible to choose, so I just went with one of my favorites. After considering Darth Bane: Path Of Destruction by former BioWare writer and genius behind Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic and Mass Effect Drew Karpyshyn, I went with a classic that I read for the first time in the spring. It was The Great Gatsby, old sport! Here’s what I came up with, and hopefully it’s good!
Chasing The Green Light: Why The Great Gatsby Is One Of My Favorite Books
There are many books that have to do with the chasing of a dream, but none other have hit me as powerfully as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby always comes first to mind when I’m asked which book is my favorite and, as a writer, I have rarely seen any other writing that I find more striking than Fitzgerald’s in the novel. I am continuously blown away with lines like, “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars”, “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart”, and “He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God”. These grand descriptions create powerful imagery in my mind, and add to the dreamy quality of the novel. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s equally powerful usage of metaphors like the green light that symbolizes Gatsby’s dreams, and the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg painted on a billboard that penetrate through the facades the characters build around themselves, give depth to the novel that made me think about it long after I had turned the last page. Aside from the masterful word choices, imagery, and metaphors, however, is the story of a man with a dream: Jay Gatsby himself, who quickly became one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. Never before in literature has there been a hero with such corrupt methods or a villain with such pure ideals. Gatsby is enigmatic, ruthless, child-like, optimistic, and utterly compelling, and it is his story that serves as the beating heart of the novel. One of the most interesting parts of his character is that, while everything he does to obtain his dream is corrupt and immoral, the dream itself that drives him to take those actions is poignantly innocent. Gatsby desires a life with the woman he loves passionately and to the point of obsession, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby is a poor soldier from a poor background when he first meets Daisy, a wealthy, upper-class girl, and after falling in love with her, makes it his life goal to become rich so that he can marry Daisy and give her a life of happiness and comfort. Unfortunately, Gatsby is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal, and becomes fabulously wealthy through the business of bootlegging, or illegally selling alcohol, during the American Prohibition era. When rereading the novel, I realized and found intriguing the fact that Gatsby’s corruption does not bring about his downfall. Rather, it is Daisy. When she accidentally kills her husband, Tom’s, mistress, Myrtle, while driving Gatsby’s car, Myrtle’s husband takes revenge and murders Gatsby at the end of the novel. By using Daisy as the instrument of Gatsby’s death instead of his corruption, Fitzgerald manages to make him a tragic character who is destroyed by his greatest dream. Even more tragically, however, is the fact that Daisy herself is not deserving of Gatsby’s love. Though beautiful and charming, Daisy is also selfish, shallow, and cynical, thus rendering her incapable of truly committing herself to anyone. F. Scott Fitzgerald describes her and her husband, Tom, best in this quotation from the novel: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” Daisy, the one person Gatsby loved more than anything in the world, leaves town at the end of the novel without even attending Gatsby’s funeral, proving her true nature to everyone except Gatsby, who dies with his dream optimistically intact. If Daisy has one redeeming quality by the end of the book, however, it is that Gatsby’s vision of her, while pure, is unrealistic and impossible for anyone to fulfill. Gatsby is so obsessed with his perfect vision of Daisy that he is unable to see her flaws or accept the person that she really is. Gatsby has an idealistic dream of what his and Daisy’s life should be, and even when he sees his life’s work crumble around him after Daisy admits that she loves Tom as well, Gatsby cannot let go of that vision. His relentless optimism makes him child-like both in his innocence and his sad naivete. When looking for a new book to read, I am always attracted to incredible characters, and The Great Gatsby delivers in the fullest possible way. Its story and characters are vibrant, tragic, and poignantly portrayed with larger-than-life descriptions that make them appear both grand in their importance and shattered in their personal lives. The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels of all time, and leaves me with the hope of preserving my own dreams in a world of corruption and “vast carelessness”.