Why students should read this book:
Amazing how it never seems to lose its modernity; it has that kind of staying power.There is a great power of relevance for readers today. It offers complicated characters who can be interpreted in fresh ways for new readers. Is Nick in love with Gatsby, as Greg Olear theorized on Salon? Could Gatsby — the other, the outsider — actually be a black man? Often dismissed as a selfish ditz, is Daisy victimized by a society that offers her no career path except marriage to big bucks?
'The Great Gatsby' published in 1925 was written in an epoch of materialistic greed and hedonistic philosophies when social classes divided races and created substantial inequities. The importance placed on money and materialism in the novel is a running commentary on the social 'sins' of the era, when the people of that period, guilty of idolatry, viewed money with an almost reverent perception. Indeed even Nick Carraway, our 'path finder' and 'guide', is initially drawn into his milieu's elevation of materialism over moral principles, as in the corner of his house, the row of untouched books stands in 'red and gold like new money from the mint,' almost shrine like, promising initiation into universal 'shining secrets,' known only to the financial idols, 'Midas, Morgan and Maecenas.' It has been contended that upon critical analyses, 'The Great Gatsby' reveals the homogeneity of the 1920's, the decade in which the book was set, and that of modern day society, therefore revealing the relevance of the novel's theme of materialism and money to a contemporary audience