The Great Gatsby short summary & analysis

The Great Gatsby


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The Great Gatsby - Scott Fitzgerald


The Great Gatsby Analysis

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is among the most important American men of letters. Born in 1896, the author is the son of an Irish mother and an English father. At his family’s will, who were strict Catholics, he got Catholic education. He grew up in the time of World War II and he called this period as “Lost Generation”. Upon winning great fame with his novels, he becomes fascinated by it and his health deteriorates. He loses his reputation in time and, resentful to his life, he dies in Hollywood.

According to Lionel Trilling, who is one of the most renowned literary critics of that period, Scott Fitzgerald has written a lot on love, has pondered the relationship between man and woman. But he states that this is not the only thing we have seen his power became known. Trilling, who states that the true quality of an author is eventually seen at his wording, continues as: “Even in Fitzgerald’s earlier works of his novitiate, even in his commercial stories, and even in his works where he wrote without regarding the wording, there is such a tone and sound in his sentences that this reminds us his warmth, compassion and civility which is seen very rarely and not appreciated nowadays.”

Although The Great Gatsby did not attract the expected attention when it was published in 1925, it is considered Fitzgerald’s most important work today. The novel depicts the 1920’s economic crises. That period coincides with the aftermath of the World War II. At this post-war period, especially one part of the society become quite rich and America undergoes a great transformation. At this period, jazz music appeared and became rather popular. Fitzgerald names this period as “The Jazz Age”. The author criticizes this period’s exaggerated pomposity, luster and lavishness via his character.

Fitzgerald has succeeded in depicting this ten year which he calls "The Jazz Age" with perfect observations and artfulness. Even though it could not attract people's attention adequately in his own time, the novel is now among the most important works in the world. It has also been turned into a screenplay several times.

The Great Gatsby Short Summary

Time is 1920s, setting is New York and Long Island… It was the time when the right to vote and stand for election was given to women, the arms of smuggling and mafia appeared and rose. The narrator, Nick Carraway, is a Yale University graduate, a veteran and now working as a shop assistant. He lives in his modest house in Long Island next to the majestic house of Jay Gatsby. Jay Gatsby, whose real name is actually James Gatz, is a man who gives unusual parties at his house and the source of his money is a great enigma. Therefore, people speculate about this topic a lot. He is actually a romantic and restless man who is bond with a woman obsessively whom he met and fell in love while he was a soldier in the army.

On the other hand, the woman, Daisy, is the wife of Tom Buchanan who is handsome, rich and arrogant. Daisy is also Nick’s cousin. Nick and Gatsby live in East Egg; Tom and Daisy, on the other hand, live in West Egg that is just opposite the bay. Nick gets the information from Daisy’s friend Jordan Baker that Tom cheats on Daisy. Daisy is sorry for this news although she does not love her husband.

In the following pages of the novel, The Great Gatsby, Nick learns that Daisy and Gatsby were lovers five years ago while Gatsby was still poor. Gatsby disappears for a while, and around that time Daisy marries rich Tom. Meanwhile, Nick, with an invitation, joins one of Gatsby’s parties which is on everyone’s lips. He meets Gatsby there for the first time, as normally he is not seen in parties as landlord. Though he is rich from a monetary point of view, Gatsby’s primary objective is to win his ex-love’s affection again. That’s why, he asks Nick and Jordan to do a favor for him. With a consensus, these ex-lovers meet at Nick’s house and become very happy.

On the other hand, Tom’s mistress is Mrytle, who is the wife of Wilson the mechanic. Both Tom and Wilson feel that their spouses cheat on them. These five people go sightseeing in New York. Daisy and Gatsby get on Tom’s car; the others pile into Gatsby’s car. Tom feels uncomfortable about this situation and gets jealous. In the hotel room, Gatsby wants Daisy in front of everybody to admit that she does not love Tom. But she cannot do this and Tom is victorious over him. Gatsby is very sad about this situation and he understands that he will not achieve his goal. Tom asks Gatsby to take Daisy home. At that time, Mrtyle, who was locked into their house by her husband, jumps out into the street rapidly. This place is the Valley of Ashes which is an important metaphor in the novel. An automobile which is coming very fast crashes her. It is Daisy behind the steering wheel, but Gatsby undertakes the accident. When they reach the corpse, Tom whispers something in Wilson's ear. Thereupon, Wilson goes to Gatsby's house, he shots him down and then commits suicide. Only Nick and Gatsby’s father attend the funeral ceremony.

On the other hand, Tom and Daisy undertake a journey. Months later, Tom confesses to his wife that what he had whispered in Wilson's ear was that the person who crashed his wife was not Daisy, but Gatsby. She understands that he played tricks on her. After this confession, Nick hates this couple. At the end of the novel, Nick, who is looking at the Gatsby mansion for the last time, thinks about how the Dutch sailors looked at this island when they discovered America centuries ago. Gatsby, too, probably looked at the horizon with a great expectation just like them. But these dreams and expectations are now the matter of the past and they lost in the immense darkness behind the city.


I think it has very simple story, not sure why it is so popular. Guy loves a girl, girl doesn’t love him, guy becomes rich and throw parties to attract a girl instead of talking to her and doing something romantic.


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