Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

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The Great Gatsby  is a phenomenal book.  I have previously read it, but I know for sure I'll enjoy it again after reading the first several chapters.  I kept my eye out for a quote that stuck out to me throughout the chapters, but I couldn't help but go back to the very first page in the very first paragraphs:

"In my younger years and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

'Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had all the advantages you've had.' " 

I can't help but think that these two paragraphs set the stage for the entire book.  The father was a very smart man and I believe everyone should think about what he says even if he is a fictional character in a book.  He's smart.  Everyone, no matter who well-off or less fortunate you are, there is someone somewhere who has it worse than you.  People in college complain about how hard we have it, but is it really that hard?  We're getting an education.  Some people don't have the luxuries we do.  Sure, sometimes the food is awful and we have no spending money, but is it really that bad?  I don't think so.  

I just think if everyone thinks about what the father says every once in a while, everyone may be a little happier?  But that's just me giving out some food for thought. 

2 Comments

Christopher Dufalla said:

Wonderful point! I have to confess that this philosophy is one that I am very fond of. To be quite honest, as I sit here typing this comment I can see the small sign on my desk that reads "Don't complain: there's always someone who has it worse!" I agree with you, Anna; everyone would probably be just a little bit happier if we all reflected upon the father's quote.

Good point. That point reminds us that, while Nick tries to present himself as an average guy, in truth he has come from a very privileged background, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to observe all these events that transpired in the lives of the fabulously wealthy.

Nick does report, as the party in Chatper 3 winds down, we see people sulking, getting in fights, driving drunk, and we see Gatsby is alone in the midst of the crowd. Nick never comes right out and announces a judgment about Gatsby, but what do all these details encourage us to conclude about Gatsby and his efforts to connect with Daisy?

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