The novel is presented through the consciousness of the narrator, Nick Carraway, who has just moved from the Midwest to work as a bondsman in East Egg, one of two fictional New York boroughs, West Egg and East Egg. West Egg is the more affluent of the two. Nick moves into a small house next to a man named Jay Gatsby. Gatsby has plenty of wealth and holds huge parties every night at his mansion. At first Nick is not too keen on Gatsby; he thinks he is arrogant, flashing his wealth and never attending his own parties. However Gatsby holds a dark secret about his past and how he became so wealthy. This changes the way Nick sees Gatsby.
This novel may seem quite dull at first, appearing too reflective without much plot movements or mystery. However, it is actually the opposite. The first few chapters give a brief introduction to the plot and the themes of the novel, the main theme being love and the American class system. Gatsby's life had been dominated by the idea of winning Daisy Buchanan (Nick's cousin) back. To do this he became a self-made millionaire, after coming back from war, so that he could buy everything he would need to win Daisy’s heart again. All of the decisions made in Gatsby's life were adapted around Daisy; even the house that he lives in is directly opposite Daisy's house in West Egg.
An apparent problem with the book is that it does not explain initially why the word Great is used in the title. A little bit of perseverance is required, but once you read on events move swiftly and in the end you are bound to agree that the seemingly shallow bootlegger does merit the title ‘great’. No matter what kind of person you are, when you finish this novel you will not regret reading it, as it is much more than just a love story. It is also a reflection on the solitariness of a life of leisure, clearly demonstrating that money cannot always buy you happiness. Gatsby is obsessed with controlling time: he wants to create a beautiful future by restoring the past. This is stated in one of his famous lines: "Can't change the past? Why, of course you can." This quotation summarises exactly what Gatsby's intentions are.
The book goads the reader into prejudging the characters but I guarantee you will keep changing your mind! Take the case of Gatsby himself; Fitzgerald's famous many-dimensional character will keep you intrigued throughout, and this is one of the main reasons why I would recommend this novel to anyone.