The Great Gatsby is a movie that was based on the 1925 novel by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald with the same name. Indeed even though the movie was also set in the time of the novel, which was in the early part of the 20th century, it is common for most younger people to feel more comfortable receiving the work of the writer in what may seem to be an updated version of the retelling of the story. It is not surprising that several people have come to prefer the movie released in 2013 to the novel itself. But comparing the two works with the same story, it is true to argue that there is really much of the same thing to learn from the two pieces of art work (Heuring, 2013).
For most people, one thing they do not know about the movie and for that matter the novel is that its context was set around the life of the writer in the ‘and thus making it a biographic movie not only because it tell the story of Gatsby at the time. By implication, research has showed The Great Gatsby is actually chronicle of events of what took place in America in the 1920’s, making many regard Fitzgerald as the greatest chronicler of his time (Tate, 2007). As directly reflected in the movie, around the time, America was enjoying an economic soaring, which made the country very prosperous. The extent of prosperity was easily reflected in the lives of ordinary people, making it necessary to have some rules and laws that would make it necessary to regulate and monitor and ways and actions of people. One such intervention was the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution (1919) which placed a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol (Eble, 1974).
If it had to take a constitutional amendment to restrain the live of people, one would be very right to say that most people had blown the prosperity of the country out of proportion. For the author, his personal life was directly reflected in the movie through major characters who were Nick and Gatsby. Nick in the story was seen to have been someone who found the new way of life in America as being very exciting and tempting. Regardless of the ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol therefore, he could take advance of various forms of private parties that were commonly used by the people at the time to elude police into enjoying liquor that were sold by clubs operating in secrecy. To a large extent therefore, there were moments in the life of the writer that he would admit, through the characterization of Nick that he mismanaged his life because his alcoholism took him to the extreme for most of the time. It was not surprising that the movie started with a scene of Nick at the sanatorium to treat himself of alcoholism.
Despite this aspect of the life of the author, studies have showed that his personal life also reflected the characterization he put into Gatsby. This is because even though he took life and drunkenness to the excess most of the time, he was also a person who idolized the rich and wanted a life that was just like theirs. As materialism had been the order of the day, Fitzgerald through the character of Gatsby had a feeling that the only way he could be seen to be successful was to be very wealthy in material terms. The movie shows the approach and some of the social characteristics that might have influenced such a mindset for Gatsby. This included the fact that he used to work for a millionaire, which created an automatic environmental influence and urge for him to also become rich. Even though the flourishing American economy created opportunities for Gatsby to achieve his dream, he resorted to criminal activities to gain the social position he was seen to live in the movie.
Certainly, The Great Gatsby is a well written and acted movie, which needs to be retold in the same way that it was watched because the essence of this informative speech is to bring out the core ideas hidden behind the scenes of the movie. With this said, an area of the movie that will be emphasized is how the movie encompasses the theme of decline in the American dream of 1920’s rather than its theme of thwarted love between a man and a woman. Basing on the former, there is much symbolism of America in the 1920’s as a whole and how the mishandling of the economic prosperity at the time might have led to the total crush and disintegration of social and moral values at the time. Basing on this, there are a number of questions that can be asked as a reflection for everyone to consider. The first question will be the need to ask about the impact of modern global economic prosperity that has been brought about through globalization, e-commerce and technology as a whole on social and moral values. The second question will be to ask of the best forms in which existing global and national wealth can be perpetuated so that there will not be a crush as befell some of the actors in the movie. It has always been said that a word to the wise is enough but in this case, it can be said that a movie to the wise is enough. Thank you.
Eble, K. (1974). The Great Gatsby. College Literature 1 (1): 37.
Heuring, David (2013). “The Jazz Age”. HD Video Pro. New York: Werner Publishing Corp.
Tate, M. J. (2007). Critical Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Infobase Publishing.