Friday, October 21, 2016

An Evaluation of My Summer Sixteen ft. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hi again everyone,
Happy Half Term! I must say, I cannot believe that it has already been 6 weeks since the start of school and the end of summer :( Time flies when you're having fun...
Now that I've finally settled into Year Eleven, I thought that it was time for me to reminisce the summer...
I can truly say that I did not read enough this summer and for that I am disappointed in myself. I had planned on reading a great variety of books, ranging from non-fiction to hispanic classics. Not to mention, I thought that this summer would be the summer where I finally discovered a hidden passion, something other than reading and writing of course. I had decided to go about accomplishing this through tackling as many books as possible. However, that was not the case. I found myself occupied with other things this summer. I focused on spending the majority of my time with friends, cherishing every moment I spent with them. Although this was wonderful, I feel like I missed out on a lot of reading.

Looking back, I can confidently say that my previous summer was relatively calm as opposed to this one. As a result, I had managed to keep up with my reading. However, this summer, I craved a different kind of fun. Although it is shocking that I only read two novels, I must say that I experienced so much more than the world of fiction could have possibly offered. My goal was for me to find out something new and interesting about myself. Sure I thought that I would do this by reading and feeding my intellectual curiosity, but instead I was able to successfully accomplish this through my own experiences. I spent three weeks at Brown University's summer course, during which I was expected to take care of myself entirely. My family was a whole ocean away and I was as independent and alone as I had ever been. This meant that I was responsible for my own actions and for making my own decisions. Being surrounded by only teenagers for almost the entirety of July, I was exposed to ideas, concepts and things that I had never been exposed to before. I met people from all parts of the world, including Puerto Rico, Lebanon, India, and Guam. The friends I made came from differing backgrounds and cultures, spoke different languages and all had conflicting views on many matters. One of my favourite things about attending such camps is the fact that I am given the opportunity to meet people from all around the world, further enhancing my relationship with not only different people but with the world itself.

Despite all this, I did read The Great Gatsby!

The Great Gatsby is a novel celebrated worldwide. Not only are there two films produced in its honour but it is a novel that has, and continues, to influence many. 
For as long as I remember, I've been following the popular belief that, 'the book is always better than the movie', and so I've always encouraged myself to resist the urge to indulge in the film before reading the novel. However, The Great Gatsby was my one and only exception. As I class, we celebrated the end of Year Nine by watching the Great Gatsby, starring the much loved Leonardo DiCaprio. I remember returning home that day in awe at the brilliance of the production. Ever since then I was desperate to read the novel. I did not believe that the novel could possibly outshine the movie. And I can honestly say that indeed, it couldn't and it didn't.

For those who might be reading this and are a fan of F. Scott Fitzergerald's work, I am sorry to disappoint but I must announce that I will not be joining the fandom. I do not know whether the fact that I watched the movie before reading the novel influenced my opinion and reactions whilst reading, but I cannot say that I necessarily enjoyed reading The Great Gatsby. That said I still understand why this novel is so critically acclaimed and treasured; it is worth the read. However its genre is not one that I favour. The main reason as to why I did not enjoy the novel was due to it being very anti-climatic. There was never a time when I felt hooked or when I felt my heart racing as a result of suspense and tension. There was not enough drama, and therefore, to me, it was dull. 

On the other hand, I must praise Fitzgerald for the sophistication of his characters. Each character had something about them that made them unique and interesting. The character of Jay Gatsby, for example, was intriguing for he brought the novel an element of mystery and danger. His mysterious identity created a thrill for the unknown. Furthermore, his relationship with the narrator's cousin, Daisy Buchanan, is the core of the novel.

The two protagonists are young lovers who are separated after Gatsby is sent to fight in the war. During his long absence, Daisy finds herself going back to her old habitats of keeping lovers. She longs for everything a woman of that time would desire: a husband, stability and a family, everything Gatsby couldn't offer.

The novel finds the lovers reunited in a blur of extravaganza and magnificence; five years after the war, in an area of Long Island, New York, known as the West Egg. Events are unraveled in the perspective of Nick Carraway, who acts as both the narrator and as a participant in the events. Though their romance did not initially come at a cost, circumstances are different now: Daisy is married to a short-tempered and selfish man, whose own affair leads to a catastrophic ending.

Though the novel has a storyline, I found that some events were rather irrelevant and spontaneous. I feel as though the novel might have had hidden meanings and deeper concepts that I, as a younger reader, might not have fully grasped or picked up on. As the novel did not have a direct plot and lacked the certain excitement that I look for in a good read, I did not enjoy it to the extent that I had hoped I could have. I must say that it's a great pity that I did not find this novel favourable, for I had been strongly blown away by the movie. This is rather interesting because, unlike many other novels and their films, the movie of The Great Gatsby was indeed extremely true to the book. As a result, I do not understand how I did not find the same pleasure or feel the same kindling emotions whilst reading the novel as I did
watching it.


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