The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is unanimously regarded as Fitzgerald's finest work, th one which provides the fulliest and most satifying study of the recurrent theme of wealth and its role in American life.
The novel is generally set in the New York area, but the world of the story is divided into four particular settings. East Egg, the home of families of old and secure wealth and aristocratic habits; West Egg, the home of the riches, bith on Long Island. The third setting is the Valley of the Ashes, inhabited by lower-class people or common workers, a barren wasteland characterized by old abandoned factories, cheap estuaries, offices and small workshops. The fourth setting is New York City, the world of business, where money is made easily and bootleggers flourish.
Setting is important in the novel as it made the class divisions in the heart of New York, and because one of the themes of the book is the contrast between the corrupt metropolis and Mid-Western America, where life is simpler and closer to the Puritan virtues of the founders of the United States. This contrast is embodied in the person of the narrator, Nick Carraway, who has come up to New York from the Mid-West (like Gatsby - and Fitzgerald himself).
According to the plot of this novel: Jay Gatsby is an enigmatic figure, a mysterious "self-made man", who appears to have achieved the American dream of immense wealth and is the owner of a palatial mansion where he holds fabulous, extravagant parties, open to everyone, given week after week through the summer. At the heart of this glamorous world (as Nick Carraway, the narrator discovers), are inner solitude and emptiness and Gatsby's unhappy love for Daisy whom he had met when he was poor to marry her. Daisy is now unhappily married to Tom Buchanan, a brutal and domineering representative of the older wealthy families. Buchanan has a squalid love affair with Myrtle, living on the edge of the Valley of the Ashes. Gatsby has now made the fortune he so desperately wanted. All through the book people speculate about the source of his wealth and about Gatsby's true identity; only at the very end do we learn that he made his money as a "bootlegger" - a seller of illegal liquor during the Prohibition period. All he can do with his wealth is buy a house in the neighborhood where Daisy Buchanan lives and give party after, hoping one day she will appear at one of them and fall in love with him again.
One day the garage owner discovers his wife's love affair with Tom Buchanan. To escape his violent reaction, Myrtle runs out of the house, and is struck and killed by Gatsby's yellow car, a Rolls Royce, driven by Daisy. To protect Daisy,, Gatsby pretend he was driving the car at the moment of the accident, and is eventually killed by Wilson, obsessed ith avenging his wife's death. Without revealing the truth, Daisy returns to her frivolous and vacuous existence. Nick Carraway, the narrator, turns away in disgust from lives founded on amoral passions, self-assertion and emotional indulgence, to go back to the simpler life of the Mid-West, based on sounder principles.