The Great Gatsby

Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.

I would never be as presumptuous as to write a review of one of the greatest works in English literature. However, I thought I would write a little post on what makes a classic so classic. I admit: when I first read The Great Gatsby at sixteen years old, I wasn’t blown away. Sure – it wasn’t boring like some of the other famous works I’d been made to read (I’m going to decline naming names, as I can imagine the disapproval I’d get from some literary fanatics!). But was it the most interesting book I’d read? Hardly.

Fast-forward to four years down the line. I’ve now reread the book countless times, and I think I get it. Well, not completely – but that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? Each time I pick it up, I get something new out of it. Sure, I have other favourite books, but most tend to evoke the same feelings each time I read them. The Great Gatsby doesn’t do this for me. It seems to adapt with my life experiences. The words speak to me in a different way each time, and as I grow they grow with me. I see meaning in them now that I didn’t four years ago; what’s more, I know that four years from now I’ll feel a different way when I read certain lines, and that a subtlety I may have previously glossed over will take on new significance.

I love thinking about the timeless nature of books like these. It’s funny to think that F. Scott Fitzgerald could hardly have imagined the impact his words would have – in such a short book, too – on the millions of people that would read them over the years, long after his death. So, maybe take this post as a little reminder. If you’re at a turning point in your life, or even just haven’t read an old favourite in a while, pick it up again! Perhaps you’ll find out a little more about how you’ve grown than you would have otherwise realized.

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