Written in the year 1925, The Great Gatsby is one of the most complex and analytical books I have ever read. In just 218 pages F. Scott Fitzgerald has taken The American Dream and the enigma of hope-two of the world’s most complicated ideas and molded them into a work of fiction so powerful it helped shape both literature and our very perspectives.
So what makes The Great Gatsby so great? In my reading experience, I have seen two types of books; those which are driven by external conflict (what happens to the characters) and those that are driven by internal conflict (what happens because of the characters). It’s easy to see that the Great Gatsby is extremely character-driven, and thus the problems that they face are also internally driven. Their futures are devised by the choices they made in the past, both good and bad. This makes the external conflict matter more to the reader, giving the book that much more meaning.
But besides the unique characters and carefully crafted plot, the subtle symbolism and heavy themes in The Great Gatsby took my breath away. Themes like how, much like Gatsby, we all have that one almost unattainable goal that always seems just out of reach. And although Daisy Buchanan isn’t the most likable character, Fitzgerald used even her character to show the themes of the book. Themes of regret, the dangers of power, the contrast of what we think the world should be, opposed to what it is, and most importantly…hope.
“Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning– So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby