How to Lose Your Mind in 90 Days or Less

The Great Gatsby should be renamed How to Lose Your Mind in 90 Days or Less, because the loss of one’s mind is what the novel’s reader experiences after reading about the three-month summer adventure that takes place. This adventure is one full of twists, turns, lies, hidden truths, and morals no one seems to agree with.

 

The novel opens ordinarily: a young 1920s lad in New York introducing the imminent tale of man he names as Gatsby while attempting to build his credibility by dubbing himself an “honest man.” He notes what he (Nick Carraway, the narrator) expected his arrival and early days in the city and its outer land formations (West and East eggs) to be like, hinting that those ideas were not what became reality in the end. However, as the chapter draws to a close — all strategically outlined twenty-one pages of introductory conversation — a hidden complication fights to make its appearance; why does Gatsby matter to Daisy? More importantly, who is Gatsby? It is soon explained that Daisy and Gatsby were at a time, years prior to Daisy’s engagement and marriage to Tom Buchanan, in love — the book’s first, beautiful hidden truth. Further on it’s revealed that Tom, Daisy’s husband, is in an ongoing affair with a woman by the name of Myrtle Wilson — the book’s first, of many twists. As the details progress and Gatsby and Daisy are reunited, the twists, lies, and hidden truths unfold piece by piece. In chapter six Gatsby admits, “I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,” and yet another hidden truth is revealed; the man is not in love with the Daisy he sees now, but rather he’s infatuated with her present character and in love with the girl he once knew. This infatuated love is what ultimately leads him to his death, after he takes the blame for a serious crime he didn’t commit; a truth that appears to remain hidden to everyone but the reader, the now deceased Gatsby, and the novel’s narrator Nick Carroway.

 

From Nick’s “fly-on-the-wall-esque” telling of events to Daisy’s tears of materialism when she sees Gatsby’s expensive clothes, the novel takes its reader on a spiral of events. Aside from twists and hidden truths, lies are also evident. When Daisy runs over Myrtle in Gatsby’s car, she speeds off, knowing somewhere deep down that Gatsby will protect her…and he does; he lies to protect a Daisy he thinks he loves. When Tom goes to bed each night next next to his wife, Daisy, he acts as if she’s his one and only; yet another lie. The novel’s plethora of characters are ultimately living lies in that they’re not real people but the coinciding hidden truth is that their lives are based on the way other 1920s Americans (primarily those in New York) lived day-to-day; the novel is a mind-whirling tale based on multiple truths.

 

How is it that one claims to love a book but hate most of the morals presented within it? I suppose when it comes to The Great Gatsby, nearly anything is possible. While the reader mentally (and possibly verbally) scolds Gatsby for his decisions, their minds are withering away even more as the plot draws to a close. More than one can fathom occurs in the span of one summer – roughly three months/90 days. In history, we read about and discuss events that took place in the 1920s, learn about the lifestyle, and imagine the scenery piece by piece; in The Great Gatsby, you’re forced to think about anything and everything that ever happened during the time period.  Form wars between “worlds” (East and West Egg) to economic corruption (Gatsby’s new persona), one is left to wonder – is there more to be taught in US History classes? With ponderings and new opinions continually forming, you begin to  become frustrated; why don’t the characters act civilly? Why doesn’t Gatsby realize the Daisy he loves is gone?

 

To conclude, The Great Gatsby should be re-titled How to Lose Your Mind in 90 Days or Less, because one does inevitably lose their mind as they close the book after reading the novel’s last word. From twists and turns to life altering lies, the book takes the reader on an adventure that leaves them frustrated, questioning the 1920s morals, despising the story’s characters, and at a complete mind loss.  In the end, we can’t change what Fitzgerald has already written, but that won’t stop readers from critiquing the plot, the characters, losing their minds, and still dubbing the novel their “favorite.”

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