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Why are we reading a book written in the 1920's? What gives a book its longevity? And...

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gmansaray | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 25, 2009 at 4:04 PM via web

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Why are we reading a book written in the 1920's? What gives a book its longevity? And which of its themes are eternal in the American psyche.

please anwer this question for me because its confusing

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 26, 2009 at 12:53 PM (Answer #2)

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"The Great Gatsby", which was written over 80 years ago, continues to be popular for the same reason many books and plays written hundreds of years ago are still popular. Great literature is really about what it is like to be human. Despite technological and cultural changes, the human experience has not really changed in hundreds of years. These books tap into our quest for learning how to deal with life. Gatsby, for example, taps into the yearning for the "American Dream". That dream suggests that  if you work hard enough, you will be rewarded with riches and happiness. That's what Gatsby believes and that dream leads to his destruction. Today, with our economy is distress, many other people are finding that, despite their hard work, they are losing the very things they worked so hard to attain. Thus, Fitzgerald tapped into a theme that resonates with people, especially today or whenever people experience an economic downturn or emotional disappointment. Other themes in the novel also seem like they could have been written yesterday. For instance, the clash between rich and poor. Look at the public outrage recently over the bonuses issued to rich executives. People do not understand how some executives are not reaping the consequences of their behavior, but instead are being rewarded. However, Tom and Daisy literally get away from any consequences of their actions. So, "The Great Gatsby" touches on themes that are still in today's headlines and that is why we continue to read the novel.

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