Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Not-So-Great Gatsby

So, I just finished up The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The book is a very short read, which is filled with symbolism. Fitzgerald did a great job planning the book and setting it up just right, but structure isn't the only thing that makes a book. Sure, I was impressed by his use of colors as symbols and the obviously detailed work he put into it, but there are several things missing. But let's get to a brief fly through of the book first.

Nick Carraway has just moved to New York in the middle of the 20's. Actually he just moved away from New York, but it is written in such a way that we are looking back at the time when he was there. Nick quicly meets up with his cousin Daisy, and he is quickly informed that her husband is having an affair. We soon come to meet Nick's neighbor Jay Gatsby, who the rest of the story centers around. Gatsby is a very mysterious man who throws parties at his luxurious home on a regular basis. The central plot revolves around Gatsby and his true desire.

Here's the problem: the characters do NOT feel alive. They felt no more alive to me at the end than they did at the end. Fitzgerald gives us more than enough insight into their lives, but he does not make us feel like we know the characters. I can tell you anything you want to know about the characters, but I only know about them, which isn't enough to truly grasp the reader.

Some people might say that the characters are only a small problem, but I have also heard people say Fitzgerald has incredibly round characters (what books are they reading). What the characters did for me is make me consider the book as just ok instead of being good or great. It is a quick read though, also considered a classic, so it might be worth picking up just to say that you have. It really shouldn't take you more than a sitting, if you don't want it to.


Blogger Dennis Day said...

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5/09/2006 6:22 PM  

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