The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a classic novel that has captured the imagination of millions of readers.
I, however, am not one of those readers.
For me, this book held no enchantment. The story line was choppy, and I had trouble following it. There wasn’t enough character development, not to mention that none of the characters were even likable, except maybe Nick. And even then, I never felt like I really got to know him well enough to sympathize with him. Then there’s Daisy. She is such a shallow character and I never could understand why Gatsby was in love with her in the first place. As winning Daisy’s love back is the purpose of the novel, not being able to understand her appeal makes the book difficult to get into.
This is not to say that there aren’t redeeming qualities to this book. Take symbolism for example. Everything takes place under the ever-watchful and judgmental eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, like God watching down on the wicked. These eyes are in the Valley of Ashes, a symbol of moral and social decay in light of the pursuit of wealth. The green light at the end of the dock, representing not only Gatsby’s dreams but the broader American dream. Fitzgerald uses other literary techniques like imagery and allegory to make the story not just about the lives of Gatsby, Nick and Daisy, but American society at this time as a whole.
For me, all of these motifs and themes and the imagery and allegory are overused, trying to mask the fact that the book actually has no plot or relatable characters. So while this will never be one of my favorites or the book I go around recommending to everyone, I recognize its place in literature and I’m glad I’ve read it.