《了不起的盖茨比》读书笔记
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A Study and Analysis on The Great Gatsby

Recently, I read a novel named The Great Gatsby .It is a medium-length novel that written by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925. The background of this novel areNew York City and long island in 1920s.Its appearance laid the position of F. Scott Fitzgerald in the history of modern American literature, so that he became one of the representative writers of "the lost generation" in 20s. This novel is a tragedy about struggling, about love and the dream of American, especially it was released a film of the same name in 2012, this movie also got great success and left me great impression. So, I consulted some literatures both in library and Internet, did the following thinking on the author and his work, the novel plot, characters and reading feelings about The Great Gatsby.

First of all, I have a great interest in the writer——F. Scott Fitzgerald. As I know, Fitzgerald was born in Minnesota in 1896 and passed away 44 years later. Heheld an important place in American letters inthe 1920sand 1930s, as arepresentative of "Lost Generation" and the Poet Laureate of "Jazz Age". He pointedout that "it was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and I was an age of satire". He was regarded as one of the three unparalleledwriters. The other two were Faulkner and Hemingway and they both won the NobelPrize in Literature. Fitzgerald's diction was smooth, original and well-constructed. Itwas gorgeous for him to use narrative skills and symbolism by colors, houses, etc. All those gained him enormous praise and his many works were considered as classics.This Side of Paradise was his first novel and it brought him great success. He was aproductive writer and created four long novels and more than 160 short stories in hisabout 20 years' writing career. In 1925, The Great Gatsby was published, which wasthe epitome of his own experience. Though it did not bring big financial benefits asexpected, it got the approval from most critics. T. S. Eliot, the great poet and literarycritic, concluded that it was "the first step that American fiction has taken since HenryJames". In 1998, it ranked second in the best novels of20s century made by Random House, the world's largest English language tradepublisher. The Great Gatsbywas on the top in their list of 100 Best English Fictionsexhibited by Radcliffe College of Harvard University. Nowadays, it has become amust for English learners of middle schools and colleges. It has great influence onlater authors, like Salinger who creates The Catcher in the Rye and Haruki Murakamiwho is famous for Norwegian Wood. Haruki Murakami once said he would have notwritten in present way or even pursued the path of writing if there had been no Gatsby.Up to now, it has been translated into over 30 languages and has numerous studies,too.

There is no doubt that we are familiar with the plot of this novel. In The United States of 1920s, the air was filled with the atmosphere of singing and drinking. Accidently, a poor clerk Nick who from the Midwest hometown came to New York found that beside his house, it was Gatsby's mansion, and grand banquets wereheld every night here. Nick met Gatsby in the party one night, and he gradually realized that there is a secret in his world of heart.Gatsby, who once was a poor guy from the Midwest.He fall in love with Daisy, a rich girl. Later on, he went abroad for the First

WorldWar and when he came back he found that Daisy had got married with Tom Buchanan, awealthy man. Gatsby thought the reason why he could not get Daisy was his poverty,so he worked as a bootlegger after war and accumulated a huge amount of moneyquickly. In order to attract the attention of Daisy, he bought a villa on the opposite ofher house and hosted luxurious parties every night. Nick was touched by Gatsby’s still infatuation, so he went to visit his distant cousin Daisy who was long time no see and conveying Gatsby’s mind to her. With the help of Nick, Gatsby met Daisy and expressed his love to her. However, Daisy was hypocritical and not aspure as what he had regarded. She did not have the courage to leave her husbandthough she was attracted by his richness. After a quarrel between Gatsby and Tom,Daisy drove car home and carelessly killed Mrs. Wilson, Tom's lover. The coupleimputed the accident to Gatsby. At last Gatsby was shot by Mr. Wilson in revenge, while Daisy and Tom went outside for a vacation. Gatsby's dream was disillusioned. Nick witnessed the scant righteousness and virtual feeling of human reality, he was disgusted with all this things, therefore with a tragic mood, nick kept away from the metropolis which full of hustle and bustle, cold and empty and false, and returned to his hometown sadly.

After reading this novel, the most impressive thing for me is that the background of 20s in 20 century. 1920s is an important Change period in the history of the United States. After the First World War, United States became economic leader of the world. Invention of automobile and radio and the transformation of the production of productive material to the production of consumer, which madethe Americans to live a more comfortable life than before. However, the rich material was not bring the satisfaction of spirit, people all in the pursuit of external success but ignored the internal needs. In the novel the wealthy class cannot be more comfortable to live a material life, they belong to the upper class, and they caninherit honor, conceited rights and a lot of money. These people spent their time by spending money, maybe money is the only thing they have. There was no doubt that Tom and his wife Daisy were the slave of money, Money gave Tom the habit of being rude to others, but it also gave him a comfortable life. The upper class should represent the civilization of society, but in this period of the United States, the upper class is far from civilization at all, they gathered together to reject the new class. The American dream has also been alienated as a desire for money and entertainment. Gatsby was the spokesperson of the new class, he was born in a small village, and no one knows where it is. He was deeplyashamed for the family's poverty. So he changed his name and started striving for his dream of money from the age of seventeen. In order to win daisy. Like any other person in this period, he took money by fair means or foul. He succeeded, but he also failed. He had enough money to live a luxurylife, but his spirit was empty, his life was the imitation for the wealthy, and thetraditionalwealthy class also rejected him, he seems won Daisy's loveagain in surface, but this was not sincere. At the same time, the lower society was not satisfactory, too. Wilson, maintain other’s luxury cars day after day, but it was very difficult for him to have a car belonging to himself. In his view, with a car show the recognition of his social position, he can look forward to acomfortable lifelike the rich. He achieved his American dream through his own

efforts, but his wife Intel cannot satisfied with the existing life, she was crude and rash, She also wanted to become a member of the wealthy class, Daisy's life is an example of life. By becoming the mistress of Tom, She succeeded in getting rid of the lower class. Due to the pursuit of luxury life. She and Tom who is rude and cold-blooded kepta shameless relationship, also hurther husband who was really love her, her dream was doomed to failure. Tom didn't love herat all, he just wanted to meet his control desire. She was beaten by Tom and hurt her nose only because she said Daisy's name at the party. But this did not means that Tom wanted to maintain Daisy's honor, a few days later of the wedding, he publicly got mistress, after all. He completely ignored his wife's feelings. Daisy looked beautiful but her inside was empty. She did not have any plans for life, her hobbies are always aimless and erratic. Daisy is not as perfect as Gatsby imagined. She is a girl of emptiness and superficiality. She at tracts Gatsby's attention even though she doesn’t' intend to marry him. When she was obliged to make a choice, she chose Tom in the end.

The most Tragic character must be Gatsby. Gatsby is a man full of imagination. He was so reluctant to face the reality that he never accepted the fact that his parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people. The truth was that Jay Gatsby, sprang from his platonic conception of himself. This "platonic conception of himself"set young Gatsby,however, "in a constant, turbulent riot." He often dreams marvelous and fantastic dreams in his sleep. He felt happy, excited and elevated as if at the gate of paradise. His youth was full with excitement of expectancy. Gatsby was wild with various kinds of romantic dreams. Thesedreams not only provided an outlet for his imagination but al so filled him with hope for the future. He had felt and seen the light fromGod, which made everything even more beautiful and attractive. Herefuses to accept the reality which, in his eyes, was "unreality". And he aspired to an ideal world which was "founded securely on a fairy swing". All these dreams came and went, leaving no concrete shape that can be visualized.Nevertheless, two persons in Gatsby's life helped his dream became concrete,one is Dan Cody and the other is Daisy.

Dan Cody ws a millionaire who has accumulated wealth in a copper transaction. His wealth made a lasting impression on Gatsby's mind. It was Dan Cody who helpsed Gatsby see clearly what to pursue. Gatsby wanted to follow him, as he was fabulously rich andenjoy all the beauty in the world which was brought by wealth. Gatsby admired Dan Cody so much that a portrait of him can always be seen in Gatsby’sroom. Despite the fact that Daisy has been married with Tom for fiveyears, Gatsby was determined to regain her by first becoming richhimself. In fact, to Gatsby, Daisy occupied a much more important position than those of just being a lover and then a wife. She means something sublime and eternal. We can see that from what Nick tells us.

"He knew that when he kissed the girl, and forever wed has unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited ,listening for a moment longer to the turning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lip's touch, she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation complete."

Here we can see clearly that to Gatsby there are two Daisys, one is the physical Daisy, and the other is the ideal Daisy. The physical Daisy is the girl whom Gatsby wants to be her lover. The ideal Daisy represents Gatsby's romantic visions ——his ideal. When the physical Daisy marries Tom, the two Daisys are absolutely torn apart. Through this book the two Daisys are always separated from each other. What Gatsby endeavors to do is to reunite these two aspects. But when he realized that he lost the physical Daisy forever when she chose Tom. He still pursues the ideal one which is more important to him. I think when this read, most readers would have a sign here. In short,The United States witnessed the miracle of economic development after the First World War, but the ideal of people gradually disappeared. Behind a veil of rich life, peoplefoundthat they lost themselvesin the fall of spiritual and moral in the 1920s. But the Great Gatsby , like a booster, strongly condemned this situation, and leavepeople infinite melancholyspaceof thinking.