I had no interest in Fitzgerrald as a college student. I had no interest in his book even when the movie The Great Gatsby was so popular. I had been a big fun of Hemingway. Whenever talking about American writers, I will think about Hemingway, until now.
I was hooked by the opening line: In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’v been turing over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone.”he told me,”just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
Why this Nick talked in this way? What is this book about? So I read on and I find this is a fine book, possibly the greatest American Novel.
It is about many things, American dream, the pursuing of dream (maybe delusions), the social struggle, old money and the new money and the broken of the American dream.
People may wrongly take it as a love story and ask why that Gatsby loved Daisy so much? My answer is that what Gatsby loved may not be Daisy. Daisy is the representative of the “Old money”, the class that denied Gatsby when he was young. His love for Daisy is complicated. Does Daisy love Gatsby? Maybe, but she loves his lifestyle and admires his money more. She cried when Gatsby throw his shirts, fine shirts. She cried and said she has never seen such beautiful shirts. But the new money is denied once again by the old money. When Tom and Daisy are talking after the accident, even plotting, Gatsby is not in the house. Tom knew it was Daisy who drove the car, he still told Wilson that the car was belonged to Gatsby.
So the book ended with this paragraph: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter. Tomorrow, we'll run faster, stretch our arms further. And one fine morning——
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back, ceaselessly, into the past.
This is the broken of Gatsby’s dream, the American dream which dreams that you can change your social class by hard working. Gatsby lost, even if he tried hard. It is a tragedy.
So this explained why Gatsby is Great. It lies in the irony.
The American dream is defined as “the ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to every Americans, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved.” By Oxford English Dictionary.
In the novel, Fitzgerald used the green light to create symbolism and foreshadow the theme of the novel: the American dream. However, the green light is an ambivalent symbol, it represents the both good side and bad side of the American dream.