On Friday, May 10, The Great Gatsby hits theatres. This marks the 6th time that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel has been made into a motion picture since its publication in 1925. The movie is especially timely for our senior students, who will host their Gatsby-themed formal on its release date.
The novel centres around Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who is trying to relive his past by winning back an old flame, Daisy Buchanan. The story is told through the voice of Nick, a young man who has come to New York from Minnesota to make his fortune. As the novel progresses, Nick becomes more and more disturbed by the behaviour he sees from Gatsby and his wealthy social circle
So why – almost 100 years later – do we keep coming back to this tale?
“At one time or another, all of us have wished we could go back in time – to change a decision we made, or to take back something we said,” Principal Hardy said. “Jay Gatsby behaves the way he does because he is trying to recreate his past. However, as he learns, time marches on in the other direction. All we can do is learn from our mistakes, and use them to make better choices in the future.”
Part of Nick’s disenchantment with his friends as the story progresses comes from his discovery that when he looks past the privilege, their lives are hollow. “The wealthy people in the novel lack something we talk a lot about at Greenwood: values,” Principal Hardy said. “They’re not concerned with doing the right thing, or contributing to their communities, or persevering through a challenging situation. Without those qualities, even the most entitled life is empty.”
Ultimately, the novel still rings true today because so many of its themes endure. “Like all great art, The Great Gatsby holds up a mirror to society, and makes us examine it more closely,” Principal Hardy said.