At some point in your life, you were probably forced to read The Great Gatsby in high school or college, and while you may have thought it was a waste of time to read because you may not enjoy reading, it had some good lessons to learn from. What F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby taught me:
1. You can’t repeat the past.
“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!”
No matter what Jay Gatsby may think, you cannot repeat the past. While he was a firm believer in being able to repeat the past in order to change decisions and circumstances that took place, it wasn’t a realistic outlook. Though you cannot repeat and change the past, you can essentially start over and leave the past in a trail of dust behind you.
2. Money is a disguise.
Many elaborate parties, excess amounts of alcohol, classy dinners, shimmering dresses, bright cars, large houses… the list goes on. While money may resemble happiness on the outside, it’s a mask for what’s really hiding on the inside.
-Jay Gatsby can throw as many parties as he wants and put on a sophisticated smile, but Daisy is not there… he is not happy.
-Daisy has more than most young wives yet she is absolutely miserable.
3. You cannot hide the details of your personal life from others forever.
Sugar-coated on the outside, dark on the inside… everybody has their secrets. Daisy’s husband is having an affair with a lower class woman, Nick Carraway is becoming an alcoholic, Jay Gatsby is running an interesting operation in his free time and tends to have anger issues deep down.
4. Your lies will often lead you to be alone.
Twisting the truth to sound better, richer, and more intelligent may sound nice in the moment but the repercussions may not be as nice. Gatsby elaborated a lot of his life story to impress the crowd and in the end, he was found out. When Gatsby died… he was left alone, no one came to visit him and this has a lot to do with the media thinking he had done criminal acts but also because of the lies he became tangled in throughout his lifetime.
In retrospect, The Great Gatsby is an enchanting, yet tragic tale of love, heartbreak, young money, and social upheaval during the roaring twenties. While it all sounds so beautiful and fun, like any story there are obstacles everyone must attempt to get around.
The past is the past.
Money does not bring happiness.
You can’t hide your secrets forever.
Lies unfortunately equal loneliness.
Life is a beautiful struggle, old sport.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”