Catcher and the Rye, The Odyssey, and To Kill a Mocking Bird are just some books that fall on the classic high school reading list, but arguably the most important piece of high school literature is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
The Great Gatsby tells the story of how love, money and power affect the decisions one makes in life.
Its themes range from the cliché, money cannot buy happiness, to the more hidden themes, such as loving a person who has different traits.
CHS students often find the book to be pointless, boring and unfulfilling of its hype, but the messages set in the 1920’s book still hold true today. Money and power are still the leading causes of corruption in our society, just as they were before, and people are still deemed successful based on their wealth.
Like Gatsby, CHS students live in a more affluent area, where many students’ career and college choices are based upon where they believe they will achieve the most success. In their eyes, this often means where they will gain the most money. This is like Daisy’s choice of Tom for a husband over her first love Gatsby due to his wealth and social status.
Like in Gatsby, an outsider trying to climb his or her way up the social ladder and fit in would find it very difficult to assimilate to the culture of the privileged. Insiders are accustomed to this type of lifestyle, while an outsider, like Gatsby and his lavish parties, might feel overwhelmed with his newfound wealth.
Despite many students not truly comprehending the purpose of the book, future decisions and events in life will help further prove the point of reading it. Even some English teachers point out that they did not realize the true value of the book until they were older.
The Great Gatsby holds many important life messages that may not be fully be appreciated by high school students now, but will alert them to the ideas that happiness is more important to a successful life than wealth and status.