Chances are that you read The Great Gatsby when you were in high school. If some time has passed since your first reading of the novel, I urge you to read it again. I had read TGG when I was in college and had not thought about it too much since, except to recall that the paper I wrote on it got me my first A from a tough professor. Well, this was the last novel that we read in my summer Currents in the Modern Novel class and it was a stunner.
Start with the title…was Jay Gatsby great? Is the title genuine or meant to be ironic? Lots of discussion on this in class. What makes someone great? Is it their accomplishments? Is it who someone is inherently? What does it mean to have money? Does it make a difference as to whether it is “old” or “new?” Is it okay to “carelessly” take the things that one wants in life? What does it mean to be a “careless” driver? How do we organize our lives around dreams? What does it mean as these play out? Are dreams illusions?
There was also lots of discussion about capitalism in class. Is the novel an indictment of the capitalist system? Some critics say yes while others say Fitzgerald did not intend that. Your opinion?
I was more moved by Jay Gatsby after I finished the novel this time. Will you be? spend time with Jay, Nick (is he an unreliable narrator?), Daisy, Tom and Jordan and then let me know.