What Gatsby Really Meant

I posted an article a long time ago about The Great Gatsby house’s impending demolition. I stumbled across this irate response to it today. She seemed up in arms because I’d mentioned the house stood for an America and a book we forget and/or take for granted. She said I was missing the point of The Great Gatsby, and it made me laugh. (It also made me a little sad because her Tumblr is filled with goodies like Avengers men and GoT jokes. WE’RE LIKE SOUL SISTAS.)

What I meant by my statement was that we forget our history. We allow monuments that stand for something to be demolished and save petty things like fur coats and jewelry. The house, she suggested, stood for lavish, indulgent times, and maybe she’s right… but what it truly stands for is a book that changed the face of literature. And the book itself, well, it is a beautiful piece of fiction that I hear more and more people shrug off as “bad,” “boring,” or “old.” We can’t let people let this book just slip away. It’s not a relic; it’s a gorgeous story about our past, albeit a flawed past.

So what I meant and still mean by saying we take this book and America of past for granted is that we forget our roots. We have to remember, whether we’re learning a lesson so we won’t repeat history or merely reflecting on what came before us. It’s important. What came before in history, both of our country and in literature, is vital to recall so we can learn, teach, change, remember.


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