Submitted by francisf0reverr t3_z5im2c in books

Sooo many cringy metaphors and in a lot of areas it's just so weird😭 Some of the characters are interesting to analyse (Daisy mainly but Tom and the Wilsons can be interesting) but overall I find it a pretty basic critique of society. From what I've read about Fitzgerald's life and character he sounds so annoying and seems to project a lot into his work even though he doesn't really have much of anything interesting to say. His other works are also a bit... iffy? (Tender is the Night....?) The film adaptation is much better and makes some very welcome omissions...

Overall not a fan. I have to read it for school so I guess I'll just stick with it. What do you guys think😭

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ordinary_kittens t1_ixwd13i wrote

Interesting that so many people here don’t like the book, which is fair. Personally, I read on my own while I was in university (not as part of a class, was just curious about it) and thoroughly enjoyed the book.

The book is arguably most famous for taking a pessimistic view on the roaring Twenties, during the 1920s. Fitzgerald had trouble with successfully becoming a writer during his own lifetime. But, after the depression and after WWII, people really looked at history and saw the 1920s in America as a kind of cautionary tale of how unchecked optimism and hedonism can lead to disaster. So Fitzgerald’s take looked a lot smarter in hindsight. Was he really a prophet or was he just a pessimistic alcoholic, bitter that he himself had trouble keeping up with the supposed “high society” of his day? Probably more the latter than the former, although I still enjoy his observations in the book.

I don’t know if the book would mean as much to a non-North American - a lot of the book (at least, in my opinion) has to do with how the main character, and really most of the characters in the book, are people from the west who moved east, only to be overwhelmed and disturbed by how shallow and self-absorbed the lives of the rich and successful were. At this time in the United States, the wealthy of the east would be sort of a new nobility in North America - full of families like the Roosevelts, rich families that had been rich for generations. Out west you would have “new money” types, people who may have become wealthy through their business endeavours, but they aren’t elite the way old money types in New York are elite. So again, you need a hell of a lot of money to fit in with that crowd, but you need more than that, you need old money. Or as Gatsby found, a carefully crafted mystique.

It’s sort of a “don’t meet your heroes” story that I can get onboard with. I don’t think anyone needs to enjoy it but it always stuck with me.

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Rahm89 t1_ixwgxd0 wrote

As a non-American, I really enjoyed the Great Gatsby and found it very relatable. It helped that we studied it in class and had the symbols and metaphors explained to us, otherwise I might have missed the depth it has.

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Suspiciously_Flawed t1_ixwumz3 wrote

The Great Gatsby is my favorite novel, and I'm a die-hard Fitzgerald fan. I disagree with the idea that the book is some critique about society, certainly that's in there but it's just a side effect of accurately describing society at that time.

The book is about the green light, it is about chasing a mirror image of yourself, Gatsby never wanted Daisy he just wanted the image of him that he dreamed about and she was a part of that fantasy.

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francisf0reverr OP t1_ixwf6x7 wrote

True!! We are looking at it "through the lens of tragedy" and we have to talk about "society as the antagonist" which leads to Gatsby's downfall. I think there is definitely a lot that can be said about it and I'm glad it resonated with you. When I'm done with this course I will look at some of his other work. I think it could be helpful to get a new perspective on it.

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deadnAme_ t1_ixy3a32 wrote

i do recommend at some point reading it on your own at your own pace. i used to hate the books we'd read in class, but then i'd reread them some years later and loved them

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jerrylovesalice2014 t1_ixy76as wrote

Gatsby is perhaps the most hated book among American school children and it's such a shame. It's a magnificent book, but you just can't be forced to read it at 13 years of age. You have to come to it in your own time on your own terms. I myself hated reading it in school (even though I was an avid reader). Coming back to it years later and with more experience under my belt, about class, love, work, money, and how it all bleeds into your identity, and I was completely blown away. It is my all time favorite book now.

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my__name__is t1_ixwdjr5 wrote

Its a joy to read. If you don't find the style appealing, then I can see how it'd be hard to get through. Looking up some of the popular quotes:

>“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

That's a beautiful sentence.

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redditQuoteBot t1_ixwe8bz wrote

Hi my__name__is,

It looks like your comment closely matches the famous quote:

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." - F. Scott Fitzgerald,

I'm a bot and this action was automatic Project source.

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francisf0reverr OP t1_ixwg3qt wrote

Yesss that is definitely one of the good ones and there is a lot to be said for the majority of the writing

It just gets a bit awkward in places I find

"He could climb to it [...] and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder"

Eww😭

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LordBlam t1_ixwjt7j wrote

This is a super common response to reading the “classics” in school. See e.g., Goodreads, and note how reviews for classics invariably are lower than thousands of objectively worse books. There are many reasons, but mainly because schools assign classics, which means you have lots of people reading something because they HAVE to and not because they WANT to. Nobody likes that.

Also: (1) Not everyone subjectively likes the same books, even great books. (2) Not everyone has enough reading experience/age/social-historical perspective to appreciate some classics. (3) A lot of classics are tragedies, and lots of people don’t want to read to be bummed out. And (4) some classics are dated and are taught today at least partly because of inertia.

Thus, I can predict (without checking beforehand) that The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, Middlemarch, A Hundred Years of Solitude, and most other “great books” almost certainly have much lower Goodreads reviews than the latest Brandon Sanderson “Cosmere” book.

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francisf0reverr OP t1_ixwr9cq wrote

Yeah I can see that. I didn't like 1984 when we studied it last year but actually goodreads got me to think about it and I rated it 5 stars. I have loved a lot of the plays I have studied though. Othello is so interesting and I got such a good question for my exam last year for the Crucible (it was about the disturbing nature of Abigail and Proctor's relationship- don't even get me started!!). Goodreads is not the most reliable lol I think all of the colleen hoover books are rated higher than Othello 😭

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LordBlam t1_ixwrxph wrote

Yeah, I’m not suggesting that Goodreads ratings are an example of the best way to encapsulate a book’s worth, but it as good a way as any to glimpse a simple thumb up/down opinion for a broad cross-section of the population. It’s easy to see on Goodreads that there’s a lot of punitive downvoting that goes on with assigned classics. You seldom see this with regular “popular” books.

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rottingmeloninthesun t1_ixw95uo wrote

High school or college?

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francisf0reverr OP t1_ixw9cx2 wrote

Sixth form- I think that's high school in the US but I'm not sure

Edit:I am in 11th grade lol

Edit 2: an award!!😭thank you I've never got one before

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astron-12 t1_ixwb3u8 wrote

Cine back to it in five or ten years. I think that lit classes before college only inform composition. Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice were much better when I revisited them later.

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iwasoveronthebench t1_ixwhvaj wrote

I love the book personally myself! I think it’s very easy for people in my age group (I’m in my early 20s) to dismiss this book and others in classic American literature because we can’t look at it from the lens of its own era. Of course it’ll feel awkward with language - we’ve have 100 years of language since. Of course it’ll feel basic with social critique - we’ve had 100 years of critique and societal change since.

When I look at it for what it is, it’s an amazing novel with beautiful prose that sounds like music to me. If I was to compare it to my modern favorites, it doesn’t hold up because books from my generation will always hit harder.

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[deleted] t1_ixwq5am wrote

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francisf0reverr OP t1_ixwrow0 wrote

Yeah I'm 17 but I'm allowed to have an opinion in a subreddit made to discuss books. My English teacher with an English degree has also complained about the book-she still appreciates it!!! I know it is a classic and I can see why but I think you can admit that it is flawed

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SofiThomas t1_ixwbwma wrote

I enjoyed it when I read it in college. I just remember a lot of what we were reading that semester didn't seem to have much for plot, which made Great Gatsby a refreshing change of pace.

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MoistMaster_2577 t1_ixwat8i wrote

I’m kind of in the same boat as you. I’m in 12th grade (my last year of high school before uni, which I think would still be sixth form) and I didn’t really like the book when I read it in 11th grade. I have to read it again for a different class this year, and I was able to pick up on a few more subtle things.

A lot of people say it gets a lot better each time they read it, so I guess I’ll have to take their word for it.

The book is kind of weird because you can’t take it super seriously but also have to look at it through a bunch of different lenses (new historical, biographical, Marxist, feminist, etc) to really get the big picture. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you, because it may get to a point where people are finding symbols that don’t really exist.

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GjonsTearsFan t1_ixxq78b wrote

I read it on my own and didn't really like it but I'm not American so I think that made it difficult to fully understand how it's supposedly a "critique/commentary on the American dream"? Still rated it 4 stars on Goodreads, though. It wasn't bad just confusing and kind of pointless *to me with my limited perspective*. I know it's supposed to be deep, though, and had heard some things about why it's significant before I read it, just couldn't pick out what any of the elements really meant when I read it, though.

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whitewanderer75 t1_ixy0j52 wrote

I read the book at 15 for high school and just last month, decades later. I found and still find it a great but also sad book, especially because of the similarity with the writer's life. Read the Sun also Rises soon after, but that I found boring. Yes I understand... emptiness after WW1...Never understood why that is one of America's classics

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GaryTheCommander t1_iy22the wrote

I'm more of a Sun Also Rises fan than Gatsby. Very beautifully written, nihilistic, and real

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whitewanderer75 t1_iy276sc wrote

I see. I just got noted about reading about the endless drinking sessions and actually very little happening.

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seriouslyfluffy71 t1_ixzysli wrote

I didn’t read Gatsby until college (2nd year of uni would be the UK equivalent), and even as a voracious reader I probably wouldn’t have taken much away from it without a great prof because on the surface not much happens (I never really looked for deeper meaning before when I was reading). What I did take away from it was that Americans (maybe just people, really?) are always in a state of wanting more. There’s always some unrealized goal, maybe not even fully formed, that they are reaching for. Once they attain it, another goal will take its place. If Gatsby had won Daisy, as if she were just some prize, he wouldn’t have known what to do with her. There is no way she could’ve lived up to the expectations he had built up in his head. That’s what the green light represents— those dreams that would die for the having of them. Gatsby’s (the character) is kind of an immature take on what happiness really is, the belief that getting what you want will actually bring happiness, rather than living in the present. If that’s your state of mind, you’ll never be happy, and for all his wealth, Gatsby wasn’t. He was just kind of… empty. Other than that impossible goal, he was just a cipher, completely defined by his wants than by his own accomplishments or qualities, and that was his own fault. Sorry for the wall of text, but I guess I commiserate with you— when I first read it, I was a bit like “wtf did I just read?” Without a lot of in-class discussion and the help of aforementioned prof, I would’ve probably binned it, but I ended up liking it. The Scarlet Letter, however, is another story, but I’ve already talked too much and that’s off-topic, lol.

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SuperSpeersBros t1_ixwg5l3 wrote

"have to read it for school"
I am very pro higher education, but school ruins good books. I'm certain that if you read this in your 20's for fun you'd get more out of it.

I'm currently reading through War and Peace, which I would have hated to study, but which is a relatively enjoyable diversion when reading in bed for leisure.

Just assume everything you do between ages 14-17 are a wash and be sure to play video games with your friends. Unless you're my kids, Googling this some time between 2025 and 2030 in which case I mean "school is fun, especially if you study hard!"

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[deleted] t1_ixwdvn8 wrote

If nothing else, it's the best gangster novel never written

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Suspiciously_Flawed t1_ixwub7v wrote

It is not a critique of society, sure that's in it but that is not what the book it about.

The book is about the green light at the end of Daisy's dock, nothing more and nothing less. The book is about chasing that idealized, not even fully formed, fantasy in your head of who you want to see when you look in the mirror.

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Still-Mirror-3527 t1_ixwxgs7 wrote

Sinclair Lewis is better at handling these themes, imo.

Main Street and Babbitt are his best works.

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TaiPaiVX t1_ixwauu7 wrote

Tender is the Night is much better.

Much Like forced reading of Catcher in the Rye with Franny&Zoey being far superior.

they make you read the blandest works of the great writers

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[deleted] t1_iy22zch wrote

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TaiPaiVX t1_iy3lofs wrote

To each his own , just using it as an example of how the required reading isn't always the best hell I'd put up 9 stories if I thought it would turn people on to an author.

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Kitsik_ t1_ixwg18h wrote

Read it in middle school and felt like I was watching some soap opera my sister used to love. Couldn't understand why my english teacher would recommend me something so unremarkable until I learned that it's actually a classic :-;

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Any_Coast5028 t1_ixw9ro8 wrote

It’s honestly a mixed bag of a book

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francisf0reverr OP t1_ixwb08s wrote

I agree! There's definitely some good parts and it definitely makes you think about things. I like Gatsby but he's just kind of crazy. I need to think on it a lot more especially the ending. I find his dad's reaction heartbreaking.

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cheesepage t1_ixwcfty wrote

I've always thought it overated.

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Axel-Heyst t1_ixwnrlt wrote

I don't believe that it is a bad book, just a very boring one. You're not alone in you're dislike of the book. I would personally say that the book is a 5.5/10.

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RoseIsBadWolf t1_ixx52or wrote

Try reading the book as a commentary about what the real people at the top do with their lives. They aren't actually helping society, or using their money for good, they are selfish and they suck.

Gatsby comes into great wealth and blows it all trying to attract a girl. Tom Buchanan is a racist and he doesn't want to admit anyone into his class. Daisy literally married just for money and status. Nick is watching them all with disgust and he invites you to join him.

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Secty t1_ixwaeuj wrote

I studied this book for sixth form too and honestly I was bored shitless. One of my classmates (who was held back a year) kept going on about the green light and whilst I appreciate the value of said green light.. it was not the be all and end all. Ultimately there are better books out there by the same author. Books that have not been done to death by students around the world. While I enjoyed reading the book for the sake of reading a book, I did not enjoy analysing or critiquing it in the style an A Level student need to.

Good luck.

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francisf0reverr OP t1_ixwbe1i wrote

Yeah I don't get the green light😭 money, fame, green eyed monster.... I think there's more important things you could look at.

Thank you!!

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Cooper-Willis t1_ixwed8o wrote

I guess it’s supposed to represent America. Daisy has old money, she’s the remaining aspect of English aristocracy that still held influence over America at the time, and Jay represented the rising meritocracy. Gatsby is an average Joe turned soldier turned millionaire, and it’s still not enough for Daisy to choose him. Gatsby, like America, was chasing after something they would never get; the glory of the jazz age was waning, and Gatsby endured all the superficial partying to retain the appearance that society wanted from him, yet the green light was always just out of his reach.

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woundedbearhair t1_ixwc8f8 wrote

My literature class in high school protested against reading this book because it was boring and we just didn’t connect to it. We watched the movie that was made with Redford instead since this was 20 years before the DiCaprio version. It’s really only as popular as it is because every GI in WW2 was given a copy to read and it’s been jammed down everyone’s throat.

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Cooper-Willis t1_ixwd1s1 wrote

Or maybe . . . Because it’s actually a really well written book?

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woundedbearhair t1_ixwfghq wrote

Uh maybe…just maybe that’s why it’s is a widely known book.

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stevejer1994 t1_ixwbrbd wrote

Never understood the adulation myself.

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defenestrator2000 t1_ixwhgjc wrote

I've taught in in senior high school lit, and it's...fine, I guess.

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Adorable-Buffalo-177 t1_ixwasqg wrote

I didn't either . I got half way through and just gave up

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DaRudeabides t1_ixwetxa wrote

Same here, and as a completely irrevelant aside I plowed through Catch 22 and hated it, some books and albums automatically plug directly into your being and others just don't, but each one leaves a little smouldering ember that can be appreciated in it's own way, keep it lit.

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Indotex t1_ixwgixw wrote

I agree. Granted, I first read it twenty years ago and liked it. Reread it about ten years ago and still liked it. My last rereading though a few years ago, I honestly couldn’t get past the first few chapters because >!I realized that everybody, with possibly the exception of Nick Carraway (the narrator) only care about themselves and lack basic empathy.!<

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Chipjack t1_ixwa3hz wrote

I think they assign certain books in school because nobody would bother reading them otherwise. The Great Gatsby was slightly less annoying than The Canterbury Tales, but then, so is a root canal.

I learned to love books before I was old enough to start school, and I've loved reading my entire life, but high-school really did almost cure me of it. I didn't really get back into the habit of reading for pleasure until later in my 20's, after college.

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francisf0reverr OP t1_ixwcn1c wrote

Hahaha maybe. I like Othello but I don't know about Richard II. Next year we do Handmaid's Tale and the Kite Runner. I guess it's a bit of a mix.

Since starting my A levels I have come back to reading but I agree over my last years of secondary school I think I read maybe 3 books outside of school... absolutely shocking😭

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yourworkmom t1_ixwefgt wrote

Couldn't agree more. Thank God we didn't let the educators ruin our live of books.

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unlovelyladybartleby t1_ixwa5cy wrote

I didn't like it either. I thought it was a long ass pompous look at people in whom I see no redeeming value. I get that the book is supposed to make us reflect on the rich and their ways, but if it were up to me the lot of them (and the manuscript) would end up at the bottom of the pool lol

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francisf0reverr OP t1_ixwbkba wrote

Pompous!!! That's the word I needed

Yeah I agree with what u say😭

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unlovelyladybartleby t1_ixwc8m8 wrote

My theory is that when there were less books (and less people who could read) it was easier to become a famous novelist. Today, F Scott would be writing fanfic on a blog decorated with pissing Calvins

But be tactful in front of your professor - some people take "the classics" very personally.... I ended up in a shit ton of trouble for summarizing A Separate Peace as "whiny closeted murderer wasting paper" 🤣

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yourworkmom t1_ixwe7n0 wrote

Terrible book. Thought maybe I was too young to appreciate it in HS, so I read it again. When I was in my forties. Still hate it. Terrible.

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