A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more.

On My Favorite Classic Novels List: The Great Gatsby

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When I read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald a couple years ago, it instantly fell into my mental list of favorite classic novels.

I haven’t seen any of the movie versions yet, but I’ll admit I’m already prejudiced against them in favor of the book itself: while the story is powerful, what I loved most about the book was the writing style and language. The similes and metaphors, vivid descriptions, and music of the writing were breathtaking.

But I did love the story too. A few more specific thoughts (*possible spoiler alert*):

I loved that Nick, the narrator, was a secondary character to the story’s action. This not only allows for the beautiful description of things through his eyes, but it also helps focus the reader’s attention objectively on Gatsby and Daisy and makes the story’s ending more bearable.

Normally, I admit, I prefer rather simplistic and neat endings to stories (despite the fact that I like classic literature), but this is one realistic story ending that I did very much like; I found it both moving and closure-providing.

Some examples of the prose I so adored in the novel:

“The wind had blown off, leaving a loud, bright night, with wings beating in the trees and a persistent organ sound as the full bellows of the earth blew the frogs full of life.” (p. 20)

“He wouldn’t say another word. His correctness grew on him as we neared the city.” (p. 68)

“When the melody rose, her voice broke up sweetly, following it, in a way contralto voices have, and each change tipped out a little of her warm human magic upon the air.” (p. 108)

The last line of the book: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (p. 180)


2 comments on “On My Favorite Classic Novels List: The Great Gatsby

  1. typosandterseness
    June 19, 2014

    I, too, love The Great Gatsby. In fact, I love Fitzgerald! I am reading a book right now called, Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of the Great Gatsby. It’s fascinating and provides a lot of historical background to help contextualize Fitzgerald’s choices while he was writing Gatsby. That last line in the novel is chilling and powerful!


  2. Sarrah J. Woods
    June 19, 2014

    Oo, that sounds like a good book! Thanks for the recommendation.

    You know, I think that without that last line, Gatsby may not have fallen so easily into my top favorites list. But that last line just delivers a final punch that’s, as you said, “chilling and powerful.” Exactly!


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