The Great Gatsby Essay

2851 words - 11 pages

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby belongs to what Harold Bloom tags the “tomb” of literary archetypes, a family of fiction that espouses every facet of the expressive use of language (everything from Shakespeare’s plays to Dickens’ prose). As a participant in this tomb, The Great Gatsby has adopted a convenient persona in the world of twentieth century literature as “the great American novel,” a work that embodies the American thematic ideals of the self-made man, the great American character—Jay Gatsby.

In its infancy, the novel received only a taste of the “epic grandeur” that it would later accumulate. Snubbed by certain critics for its all-too-perfect design and shrugged aside by the popular masses, The Great Gatsby was a feat of fiction that, in its time, never knew its fame.

The Roots of a Novel:

In the Spring of 1924, The Fitzgeralds left for France. There, F. Scott Fitzgerald hoped to indulge his literary appetite without distraction. He wrote The Great Gatsby during the summer and fall in Valescure near St. Raphael, having conceived the story much before then. (Matthew J. Bruccoli considers the final draft the product of a three-year process of evolution that included revisions at a stage when most other writers are finished with their work.) During the winter of 1924-25, The Fitzgeralds traveled to Rome to revise the novel. They were on en route to Paris when it was first published on April 10, 1925.

Commercially, the novel was a huge disappointment. The first printing of 20,870 copies at 2 dollars a piece sold slowly, exploding any hopes of reaching Fitzgerald’s desired 75,000 mark. A second printing of 3,000 copies was ordered in August—many of which remained shelved in Scribners’ warehouse as late as Fitzgerald’s death in 1940.

Contemporary Critical Reception:

The initial reviews were mixed. The first appeared in The New York World just two days after publication and was headed “F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Latest a Dud.” Adding further fuel to the negative buzz, The Brooklyn Eagle reviewer claimed that there was not “one chemical trace of magic, life, irony, romance and mysticism in all of The Great Gatsby.”[1]

On the other hand, Fitzgerald received adulation from other corners of the literary-conscious world, from William Rose Benet of The Saturday Review of Literature and Larence Stallings of New York World to Harry Hansen of the Chicago Daily News and Herbert S. Gorman of the New York Sun. One of the most flattering reviews appeared at a time when the first wave of critical jubilation had all but subsided into a quieter appreciation. Gilbert Seldes declared in the August Dial that the “The Great Gatsby is a brilliant work, and it also a sound one; it is carefully written, and vivid; it has structure, and it has life. To all the talents, discipline has been added.”[2] Seldes goes on to say that “Fitzgerald has more than...

Find Another Essay On The Great Gatsby

The great gatsby: comparison Essay

598 words - 2 pages The characters of Jay Gatsby, Tom Buchanan have led dishonest, passionate lives which has ultimately brought upon their destruction. The Great Gatsby is filled with many conniving and sinful acts amongst the characters, they are portrayed mostly through the eyes of Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan.Throughout the novel Jay Gatsby has indulged in illegal activity and has had multiple affairs with Daisy, he has not contributed positively to society nor

The Great Gatsby Essay

732 words - 3 pages The American Dream of life, love, wealth and happiness is wanted by all, but only few will find it. The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is about the American Dream, and those who try to find it, roaring 20's style. Jay Gatsby wanted to be part of the rich. He wanted to live the American Dream. This dream is different for the many people in this book. Nick Carraway, a young mid westerner who moves to New York to learn the bond

The Great Gatsby

630 words - 3 pages "THE POOR SON OF A BITCH" The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, portrays the period known in American history as Prohibition (1919-1933) by focusing on three circles of people and how their worlds collide. The novel, narrated by Nick Carraway, gets its namesake from Jay Gatby, an affluent man known throughout the New York area aristocracy for his lavish parties. Gatsby and Nick enjoy a brief friendship before Gatsby is

The Great Gatsby

864 words - 4 pages How does The Great Gatsby characterise the impact consumerism is having on American Society? The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and is set in America during the 1920s. This was a time of great change in American society. Following WW1 most Americans experienced a high standard of living. The war had led to advances in technology, these advances where then used to make household appliances, new technology helped women by

The Great Gatsby

1085 words - 4 pages The Great Gatsby In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby the narrator, Nick Caraway makes a statement that, in my opinion, reveals to the reader why the book is called The Great Gatsby. “They’re a rotten crowd” Nick shouted across the lawn to Gatsby “You're worth the whole damn lot put together.” I agree with Nicks statement because Gatsby has outstanding values that differ and set him apart from the other characters in the

The Great Gatsby - 1037 words

1037 words - 4 pages F. Scott Fitzgerald opens The Great Gatsby with an epigraph, consisting of a poem, ostensibly written by Thomas Parke D’Invilliers. D’Invillier, a fictional character created by Fitzgerald, describes the advice given to a man to woo his woman of interests with materialistic things. This epigraph directly parallels the courtship of Gatsby and Daisy, as he uses his wealth to cultivate the past love, which was once at the core of their relationship

Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

2929 words - 12 pages Illusions and Reality in The Great GatsbyAccording to Cynthia Wu, no matter how many critical opinions there are on The Great Gatsby, the book basically deals with Gatsby's dream and his illusions (39). We find out from the novel that Jay Gatsby is not even a real person but someone that James Gatz invented. Wu also tells us that Gatsby has illusions that deal with romance, love, beauty, and ideals (39). Wu also points out that Gatsby's

the great gatsby

563 words - 2 pages Singh 1Inder SinghMr. HarrisonEnglish 11 American Studies18 March 2014Hopes and DreamsThe Green light in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby, symbolizes hope, money, and the American Dream. The green light is a significant symbol in this novel because the color green can symbolize many different things, but for Gatsby it is his hopes and dreams for the future.The green light is one of the most important symbols in The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby - 566 words

566 words - 2 pages The Great Gatsby Essay Most people are obsessed with something, whether it be cleanliness or money. Many characters in the Great Gatsby are obsessed with the dream of being wealthy, the American dream. Most of these characters are corrupted by this dream, for example Jay Gatsby, Meyer Wolfsheim, and Myrtle Wilson. The Great Gatsby show how the American dream when taken too far, can turn an innocent person into a person only seeking money

The Great Gatsby & Nick

583 words - 2 pages In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway serves dual roles. The first one introduced, Nick Carraway is the novel's most well-developed character. The opening paragraphs of the novel reveal Nick's morals and ideals as a person. Though believing himself to have been given a fair amount of the "fundamental decencies [that are] parcelled out unequally at birth", Nick still is inclined "to reserve all judgements" (6, 5

The Great Gatsby Annalysis

1015 words - 5 pages The American Dream is different for everybody. People will go to extreme lengths to obtain their dream. Social Structures have a part in how far someone can go in that dream. In the book, The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald we encounter our main characters Nick, Gatsby, and Daisy. Nick and Daisy are cousins, and Gatsby is a newly rich man who loves Daisy. Gatsby’s American Dream was to move up the social ladder and to reignite the

Similar Essays

The Great Gatsby Essay 680 Words

680 words - 3 pages The Great Gatsby The "Twenties" was an exciting time in American history, when being a "flapper" and rebelling against the common say of society was all the rage. As in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby is a popular yet mysterious "flapper," whose image is created through the life of Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald portrayed his life, problems, and triumphs, through his image of Jay Gatsby. The correlations between the life of

"The Great Gatsby" Essay

548 words - 2 pages The narrator of "The Great Gatsby" is a young man from Minnesota named Nick Carraway. He speaks very highly of himself. He stated that he learned from his father to reserve judgment about other people because if he holds them up to his own moral standards he will misunderstand them. He is both highly moral and highly tolerant. He briefly mentions Gatsby, the hero of his story, when he represented everything he scorns, but he exempts Gatsby from

The Great Gatsby Essay 1082 Words

1082 words - 4 pages F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, is an arduous book to interpret particularly because of the style in which it is written. Readers must differentiate between the separate views of Nick Carraway as the narrator and Nick as a character, but without him, the story would lack balance and insight. Nick is both a shrewd and tolerant man who greatly represents the only sense of morality in the novel. His moral sense helps to set him apart

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby Essay

1290 words - 6 pages The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. “In the years immediately after the completion of The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald was unable to provide his art with any such endorsement” (Collins). Fitzgerald was unable to get his book published because of insufficient funds. According to Harris, “F Scott Fitzgerald wrote his greatest novel in France in 1924, having exiled himself in order to get some work done” (Harris). The best novel