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The Great Gatsby is a fiction novel published in 1925 by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Inspired on Fitzgerald’s own experiences during the Jazz Age of the 1920s, The Great Gatsby captures the prosperity and the hedonism of the era through a cast of characters who reside in the fictional Long Island towns of West Egg and East Egg. Despite a cold reaction from critics and audiences upon its release, many modern scholars include The Great Gatsby in the canon of Great American Novels. In 1998, the Modern Library selected The Great Gatsby as the 2nd best English language novel of the 20th century.
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The narrator, Nick Carraway, moves to Long Island after returning from World War I. Although he is from Minnesota, he feels restless after the war and believes that the East Coast is more interesting and exciting than the Midwest.
After he relocates to the fictional town of “West Egg” and begins his job as a bond salesman, Nick becomes reacquainted with a distant cousin, Daisy, and her husband, Tom Buchanan. Both are from very wealthy families, and Tom is a successful businessman. Nick also meets their friend, Jordan Baker, a professional female golfer. Tom and Daisy live in East Egg, the more prestigious “old money” counterpart to West Egg, where people with “new money” live. Tom also has a mistress, Myrtle Wilson, the wife of a gas station and car dealership owner named George.
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One night, Nick meets Jay Gatsby, his neighbor. Although Gatsby is extremely rich and holds lavish parties at his home, he has few close friends. He invites Nick to one of his parties, and they become acquainted. Jordan approaches Nick to inform him that Gatsby and Daisy were once romantically involved and asks Nick’s assistance in facilitating a reunion.
Gatsby and Daisy begin an affair, which soon becomes apparent to Tom. He despises Gatsby and informs Daisy that Gatsby is a criminal. This is true: Gatsby is not from a family with money but is instead a self-made alcohol smuggler from a modest Midwestern family. After the revelation, Daisy and Gatsby drive away, and Daisy runs over Myrtle by accident.
The two do not stop the car, and later Tom convinces a distraught George that Gatsby drove the car. George pursues Gatsby, murders him, then commits suicide. None of Gatsby’s party guests, nor any of his criminal associates, attend his funeral. Disillusioned, Nick makes up his mind to return to the Midwest.
By F. Scott Fitzgerald