The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published in 1925 during the Roaring Twenties, a period of economic prosperity and social change in the United States. Set in the summer of 1922, the novel unfolds in the fictional town of West Egg on Long Island and follows the life of Nick Carraway. Nick, the narrator, becomes entangled in the lives of his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and his mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is a wealthy and enigmatic man known for his extravagant parties and his unrequited love for Daisy. The novel explores themes of wealth and class, with Gatsby’s pursuit of success and love serving as a symbol of the elusive and often unattainable nature of the American Dream.
The story is layered with symbolism and explores the moral and social decay hidden beneath the surface of the glittering Jazz Age. Fitzgerald’s portrayal of the excesses and moral bankruptcy of the era offers a critique of the American society of his time. The Great Gatsby remains relevant today as a commentary on the pursuit of wealth and the corruption of the American Dream. Significant film adaptations include the 1974 film starring Robert Redford as Gatsby and the 2013 adaptation featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. These adaptations—along with the endless memes inspired by the 2013 version—have contributed to the enduring popularity and cultural impact of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece.
The SparkNotes study guide for The Great Gatsby has consistently been the #1 guide on our site for many years running, which is a testament to the novel’s immense and enduring popularity among teachers and readers.