"The Great Gatsby" | Reflections on Rereading

Last week, while having dinner with my colleague, he brought up the topic of books and asked if we had read "The Great Gatsby". I mentioned that I had read it before. He then shared his reading experience, saying that he had heard about this book a long time ago, but never got around to reading it because the title seemed too common, with words like "great..." that were too self-help-like.

Later on, during his time in college, he decided to give this book another try. At first, it was difficult for him to continue reading, but as he progressed, it became more and more interesting. I asked him why, and he said that the author's writing style was very delicate and the story had profound meaning.

I completely agreed with him. The descriptions of many plot points were so detailed that it felt like experiencing the events firsthand.

Over the weekend, I read this novel again. It's considered a novella, and I finished it quickly. I also took the opportunity to read F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Rich Boy", a miniature Gatsby.

This time, it gave me a different feeling.

  1. The images on the billboards - the doctor's eyes, expressionless, watching everything from a god's perspective. Many key moments, such as Tom's affair, Daisy's hit-and-run, Wilson's decision for revenge... just like Nick, as an observer, seeing clearly the people trapped in the story.

  2. Before Nick went to the East, the novel described his longing for the prosperity of the East, his expectations for the American Dream. The text mentioned, "I don't think I'll ever come back." However, it wasn't until the end, when Gatsby was killed, that he saw through the dirty side of the Eastern prosperity and decisively returned to the West. The irony between the before and after is striking. This also reflects that Gatsby's shattered American Dream was not accidental, but rather inevitable, even without encountering Daisy and the subsequent accidents.

  3. Gatsby couldn't fit into the upper class society because he couldn't transcend the deep-rooted class divisions, despite receiving deliberate education and behaving like a gentleman. Even though he had countless wealth and famous celebrities attending his parties every week, as soon as he opened his mouth in front of true aristocrats, his true identity was exposed. The phrase "old sport" that runs throughout the text reflects his inferiority complex, thinking that using this authentic Oxford slang could make him more respectable, but it only made him seem more awkward.

  4. Gatsby's ideals were lofty, even though his means of making money were questionable. What's rare is that his top priority was always Daisy, but Daisy was completely unworthy of his ideals. Even though he knew what kind of person Daisy was - "her voice is full of money" - he was still willing to bear the consequences of her crimes for her. Until the very last moment, he held onto his illusions, thinking that Daisy would come to him, until the sound of the gunshot echoed in his garden. I have to say, from the first time I read this book until now, I truly admire Gatsby's devotion.

  5. Daisy, after finishing this book, made me dislike her even more. Before, I thought she was somewhat pitiful, but now I see her as a selfish person who only cares about money. What she says and what she truly desires are never related. She had known about Tom's affair for a long time, but she didn't divorce him, or rather, she didn't dare to divorce him. This kind of marriage based on social class is more about maintaining a relationship rather than true love. This reminds me of the recent incident involving Liu Qiangdong, it's just another form of maintaining appearances.

This is truly a great book. There are very few novels that I can read seven or eight times.

Later on, I found out that it has some insignificant honors: in 1998, it was voted the second greatest American novel and the best English novel; it was included in Time magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels in 2005.

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