Why I Love… Reading The Great Gatsby

Here are three reasons to choose reading The Great Gatsby over watching The Great Gatsby.

Reason 1: Characters. Characters. Characters!

F. Scott Fitzgerald, better known as the King of the Jazz Age, the writer with flair, or quite simply the one that brought us the most complex, yet dazzling character of the 1920s, poured out his heart and soul to produce a work of delicate art. Far too delicate in fact to then go onto the screen, in a futile attempt to demonstrate the spontaneous lives of such flamboyant characters. Fitzgerald’s characterisation of the enigmatic protagonist Mr Jay Gatsby, the erotic Myrtle Wilson and the superficial Daisy Buchanan cannot, and I repeat, cannot be portrayed onscreen in the same way that they quite obviously flourish on the page. Nick Carraway’s hypocrisy in the film is no match for the way Fitzgerald presents it. Through just his words Fitzgerald illuminates characters amongst entire settings which are also laid out so explicitly, so to ignore this aptitude by choosing to skip where these characters were first spawned is both ignorant and lethargic.

Reason 2: Family Issues

Family issues is one of the major themes that the 2013 film is completely oblivious to. The parties, Gatsby’s eternal love for Daisy and countless random book quotes are basically what forms the basis of the film. Not once is there a snippet of little Pammy and how she is a direct contrast to her stuck up mother. Unlike Daisy, Pammy is innocent, polite and mature. Daisy is so caught up in Gatsby’s “beautiful shirts” and Tom’s “string of pearls” that she doesn’t realise that her own daughter is strolling through life while she is a chaotic mess.

Reason 3: The American Dream

Society. Immorality. Immorality. Society. The American Dream. Destruction! “ Where on earth in the film does the American Dream come into this?” you say. “What IS the American dream and how is society the main bulk of the story, I thought it was Gatsby and Daisy’s love,” you say. Correction: society has everything to do with story. Second correction: The Great Gatsby  is not a love story. Gatsby is not the man of Daisy’s dreams and Daisy is as equally inadequate for Gatsby. The Great Gatsby is not about love but rather the fight to succeed. The American Dream is represented constantly through The Great Gatsby, especially through the character of Gatsby himself. His dream is not only Daisy (which the films seems to stress an awful lot) but it is to become someone. Becoming someone in the vast city of New York, on the aristocratic Long Island. In New York, Nick thought anything could happen. Even Gatsby could happen. But of course, what did happen to Gatsby was the inevitable, the inevitability for those who searched for success. In the film, can anyone even remember the car crash? It’s pretty important and represents the destructive side to the American Dream as well as foreshadowing the death of Gatsby, so I recommend, instead of gazing at a television screen, you pick up the book and read it.

I have far more reasons as to why you should stop gawking over Leonardo DiCaprio and start reading about the extravagant, depressing and unfortunate life of Gatsby but three seemed to be enough to portray how desperate I am for people to witness Fitzgerald’s ingenious work. Don’t get me wrong, he plays the part in an orderly manner. But I would choose Mr Gatsby over Mr DiCaprio any day.

This entry was posted in Books, Features, Fiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.