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A Life Lesson From Jay Gatsby

Screenshot of "The Great Gatsby" (2013)

“The Great Gatsby”: very well-known book with three movie versions — the last one with DiCaprio as Gatsby. We’ve all heard this story at least once.

If you’ve watched the movies, you probably thought, “What do I have in common with a spoiled guy from the 1920s, who lived in an immense villa with his golden-rich friends, throwing parties almost every single night?” Believe it or not, Gatsby is a far more complex character than it seems at first look — it’s not all about the appearances, rather there’s something that he did wrong from which we can all learn.

Gatsby is a dreamer and firm believer in the power of love lasting through time and difficulties. Gatsby strongly believes so even when everyone around him is telling him to move on, not because he doesn’t respect their opinion enough, but because he is constantly looking for the moment in which his dear Daisy will stay with him and will choose him over anyone else.

This obviously seems quite positive — being a determined person is intriguing in a character. The problem is that his determination may seem unhealthy, and to some extent it is, because the overall message we could receive from this story is that yes, dreaming and believing are possibly the right attitude in many circumstances, but sometimes, dreams and beliefs should be directed towards the future, rather than the past, over and over again. The only thing that the clever and charming Gatsby didn’t grasp is that the past is the past, as cheesy as it sounds.

He is trying to keep a love relationship and a whole set of past experiences alive not by creating new ones and simply remembering the past by reliving it and looking for a way to relive it. Failing miserably.

That’s why we could all learn from Jay Gatsby, the guy who kept throwing parties to gain Daisy attention; the one who looked at the green light every single night thinking it was an untold love message between the two of them; the one who was considered great because of his reputation; but mostly the one who couldn’t distinguish past from present, and the one who wasn’t actually comfortable with himself once again until he met Daisy once more — until he relived the life he missed.

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Written by Martina Porru

Martina is a dreamer and a constant worrier, currently a student at University of Glasgow, even though she's Italian. She loves reading and talk about literature 24/7. You can find her reading in a cozy room; when approached, she will ask you instantly if you wanna know about the book she's reading. She's also describing herself in third person right now.