It’s hard to put my finger on what makes The Great Gatsby so popular. Perhaps it is that it is an adult novel that appeals to youth and can be easily taught as a classic. Perhaps it’s that it’s quotable. There is, of course, the iconic passage from Daisy, “‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.’” I quite enjoy that passage myself because I think it speaks in leaps and bounds about the role of women in society.
This book is dripping with sneakiness and the fickle nature of human beings, which I’m not sure necessarily should make it a classic. However, it’s a quick read and I could see rereading it easily, a quality that is also present in one of my favorite books, A Room with a View. There is a certain timelessness to each of these books that speaks more to how human beings feel and react than to any specific time period, a quality that most certainly validates it as a classic.
I did also see the movie. I thought the costumes, set, and music were quality, but again I find the story itself a bit lacking. As though it is too self aware that it is a grand idea to be real, but incorporates run of the mill characters to lend themselves to making the story feel tangible. It is fantastical trying to be down to earth. Not saying that is bad, just noting the overall feeling. The book and the movie take about the same amount of time to get through, so I would recommend watching the movie for the costumes and music. They don’t miss any of the good parts, I promise.