If I had to make a list of my favorite banned books, The Great Gatsby would most definitely top that list. Every time I read this novel, I end up immersed in the Jazz Age and find myself wanting to travel back in time.
Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to the new movie adaptation that will be out soon.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even be a flapper for Halloween this year.
“Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald’s–and his country’s–most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. ‘Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning–‘ Gatsby’s rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.
It’s also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby’s quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means–and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. ‘Her voice is full of money,’ Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel’s more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy’s patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout.”
source – Goodreads synopsis
Why It’s Been Banned
According to the American Library Association, The Great Gatsby is often challenged and/or banned because of the “language and sexual references in the book.”
Honestly though, the last time I read it I found both of those ideas pretty tame. The novel itself deals with much more immoral issues like philanderers and infidelity, and I’m sure those are the deeper reasons for challenging the book.
I first read The Great Gatsby in high school and fell in love from the beginning. As I said before, I love the jazz age and Fitzgerald does a beautiful job at showing the era. I can hear the jazz, taste the oranges, and feel the fringe swaying as I dance at the parties. Every once in awhile I pick the novel back up when I just want to indulge; however, I did study the book for a semester in college for my literary theory class. The nerd in me thoroughly enjoyed applying different critical lenses to the story and picking apart Fitzgerald’s words. His novel is full of symbolism and actually the perfect novel for literary analysis. But, don’t worry, it makes for a great, entertaining read as well.
If you like The Great Gatsby you might like….
- The Flappers series by Jillian Larkin
- The Diviners by Libba Bray
- Bright Young Things series by Anna Godbersen
Book Talk: Where do you stand with The Great Gatsby ban? Do you think it’s tame enough for a high school classroom or too scandalous?