So I just finished reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald!
It’s the text under Advanced English Module A – Elective 2: Texts in Time and used in comparison with Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnets.
The book is quite an easy read – only 134 pages in my edition split into 9 chapters.
However, I can’t see many students actually enjoying reading this book and its story (please correct me if I’m wrong about this). Firstly, the story is too short for you to develop any real connection to any of the characters, not even the narrator Nick Carraway. All the events that happen seem rather poetic (read: random) and somewhat contrived to make social critique. As I result, I read this with a kind of strong disdain for all the characters. I felt no sympathy or anger or anything – my reactions were more like “Huh.” and then I read on. There is really nothing admirable about any of the characters!
I do admit, however, that Fitzgerald’s writing style is lovely. The descriptions and what he evokes from an atmosphere is definitely “poetic” as all critics seem to say. Some of it is really quite beautiful and as an Arts in Communications: Writing and Cultural Studies student, I have to admit…I’m jealous.
But that in itself does not carry the story forward.
Perhaps what is also frustrating is that the narrator Nick Carraway is so much of a narrator, an observer, in this story that he rarely takes action. He does not “drive” the story in a sense. As such, you feel like he is rather meandering around what is happening. And you never feel invested in anything that he does and feels (e.g. his relationship with Jordan). And since the entire story is narrated by him, you cannot help but feel detached from everything that happens.
Nonetheless, it’s a short and easy book to read.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this text?