The Books Guide

Books from libraries and publishers worldwide

06
Jul

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and first published in 1925. A literary classic, the novel is now a standard text in high school and university classes worldwide.


Plot summary

The action takes place in Long Island and New York from spring to autumn 1922. Young Nick Carraway moves to New York to begin a career. He rents a house in West Egg, a district of Long Island where the new rich were living. This new group is made of people who have just gained their fortunes and have not established social connections yet. Nick`s neighbor is Jay Gatsby, a mysterious man who owns a huge mansion where extravagant parties are held every Saturnday.

One evening, Nick visits his cousin, Daisy, and her husband, Tom. There, Nick meets Jordan and they start a romantic relationship. He finds out Tom has a lover named Myrtle Wilson whom he later meets. Nick is invited to one of Gatsby`s parties where he encounters Jordan. Gatsby confesses to Jordan that he knows Daisy for several years and he loves her. In fact, Gatsby`s lifestyle is so extravagant only to catch Daisy`s attention and win her love once again. Gatsby asks Nick to arrange a meeting between him and Daisy. They meet as planned and begin a love affair.

Tom finds out about the love affair and cannot live with the thought that his wife cheated on him, even if himself has an affair with another woman. He goes to Gatsby to confront him and says to Daisy the Gatsby is a criminal who got his fortune from illegal activities. Daisy recognizes that she loves Tom, not Gatsby. As a proof of self confidence, Tom tells Gatsby to drive back to East Egg with Daisy. On the way, their car is involved in an accident that killed Myrtle.

Gatsby confesses to Nick that Daisy was driving the car when the accident happened, but he took the blame on him. Myrtle`s husband, George Wilson, thinks that Gatsby was Myrtle`s lover so he goes to Gatsby`s and shoots him dead, then kills himself.

Nick takes care of Gatsby`s funeral, breaks up with Jordan and moves away from East Egg. He is disgusted by the lack of morality of the people there, as well as of the decay and emptiness that rules their lives. In fact Gatsby`s perception on Daisy was infected by money, while the American dream transformed into the pursuit of fortune. Nick arrives at the conclusion that the dreaming era is over.

Themes and style
The main theme of the novel is the decline of the American Dream in the 1920s that lead to a hollowed upper class. Other themes are money, wealth, love, adultery, memory and the past, isolation, dissatisfaction, marriage, education, morality, forgiveness and religion.

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