The Great Gatsby is a fictional novel revolving around a mysterious millionaire known as Jay Gatsby as the central character. The novel was written by an American author Scott Fitzgerald and it delves into the thematic areas of idealism, resistance, social upheavals and decadence. In a way, the novel presents an accurate depiction of American society in the twenties. More importantly, the novel tackles the common irony that a man can strive and rise from rags to riches only to realize that wealth alone does not guarantee him the same privileges as those born in the upper class of the society. Jay Gatsby is presented as a wealthy New Yorker who is subject to various speculations on his occupation and income.
The story is narrated by Nick Carraway who lives in the same neighborhood with Gatsby in West Egg. Nick is a Yale educated young man who hails from a prominent Midwestern family. The novel is therefore a narration of what Nick experiences and observes in the summer of 1922. As a largely passive observer, Nick is able to present a clear view of what he observes during the time. The beauty of the novel arises from the unique ability of the author in presenting the historical economic prosperity of the twenties within a relatable plotline. The era is characterized by the explosion of jazz music, flapper culture and popularity of the automobile.
While the author died without any hope on the future of his book, the Great Gatsby has had a rich legacy and has been a subject of much analysis. During the Second World War, thousands of copies of the book were distributed to solders overseas as it was very popular and relevant for them. Across the world, the book has sold over 25 million copies with over half a million copies sold annually. The novel has been adapted in many areas including ballet, films, computer games, opera and theater.
The Great Gatsby is therefore a reminder that money doesn’t always bring everything. The story is a true representation of the American experience and how the American dream over the years has always been about money and making life better. More profound is the conflict that arises between economic and cultural powers within the society. At the end, the reader is left to wonder about the very essence of the American dream considering the dynamics that characterize the realization of individual aspirations.