DinatheDinasaur didn't expect to like this literary legend; read on to find out what made her change her mind!–Sparkitors
Everyone looks at The Great Gatsby as just another typical American novel thrown into the high school curriculum. And trust me, I thought that more than anyone. While I’ll always be your average Harry Potter-loving, book-collecting closet nerd, I’ve hated “the classics” for my entire academic career. I could never understand why novels that were either so bland or so overly melodramatic had become so popular, and especially why we’d have to read them when there are books just like it—and written even better—nowadays. But I have to say, The Great Gatsby changed how I felt entirely. It's the first classic I've read that actually deserves to be a classic.
When I heard The Great Gatsby was a love story, my natural inclination against classics and romance novels had basically already made up my mind about the book for me. The last thing I needed was to read another sappy Romeo and Juliet scene, where two people who don't even know each other try to convince the reader that their infatuation and raging hormones are really “true love.” I was ready, once again, to feel like I was betraying my own kind as a lover of literature by hating classic novels.
But The Great Gatsby gave me a slap in the face.
It snapped me out of my cranky, cynical, preconceived notions and made me love it, not just as a classic, but also as one of my favorite books. I was completely caught off guard.
The Great Gatsby is essentially a look into the upper class society of the nineteen-twenties, and the scandals and dysfunction that took place underneath its glamorous surface. The best part about it is that it’s still applicable to our lives today. It's narrated from a friend’s perspective on a man’s determination to steal back his first love from her mistake of a marriage. Through failed affairs, ironic misunderstandings, and the dysfunction inside what we call a “happy family,” The Great Gatsby is set apart from every other novel. It is so much more than a love story—it’s about life. When I finished the end of the book, I was almost confused: what point was F. Scott Fitzgerald trying to make? What was he saying, that true love doesn’t exist, that we can never retrieve what we’ve lost, that we’re doomed? What message was he trying to send?
And that’s when it hit me. That slap in the face.
The Great Gatsby is about the disillusionment of the American dream. It is every suburban neighborhood in middle class America. It is every facade of a household, it is every hormone-ridden adolescent bursting with teen angst and dreams of a bigger life, it is the drive that keeps us going and tears us down at the same time. It is everything that has ever made you lie awake thinking in your bed at night, and the fact that it’s able to be captured into an actual work of literature immediately makes it the all time American classic. You know a book really deserves to be a classic when even 80 years later, it can still make you question everything about your life.
Whether or not you’re a fan of classics or hate them with a burning passion like I did, I recommend The Great Gatsby to anyone who appreciates good books. It’s amazingly written and subconsciously awakening, and definitely earns the title of a true American classic. Who knows, keep an open mind—it may become more than just your favorite classic, even become your favorite book.
Do you love The Great Gatsby? Are you super excited about the upcoming Gatsby movie starring Leo Dicaprio?
Related post: One Sentence Lessons I Learned from Classic Literature
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