Essay on The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Essay on The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Is the book always better than the movie? While many may disagree, in these circumstances, yes, yes it is. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an “elegiacal romantic novel” that takes place in the roaring twenties, where spirits run high and life is an illusion of wealth (Canby). The 1974 Hollywood film version of The Great Gatsby fails to depict this complex elegance and superficiality of the twenties. While it is difficult to include every detail of the novel in the movie, it is important to depict the overall tone and message of the story. Devoted readers look forward to film adaptations of their favorite novels, but The Great Gatsby film fell short of their high expectations.
Many key details from the novel have been left out of the movie. For example, the owl-eyed man, an important symbol in the novel, does not make an appearance in the movie; Nick is supposed to meet him in the library at Gatsby’s party, but never encounters him. By leaving out the owl-eyed man, the viewers fail to grasp just how much effort Gatsby puts into faking his identity. In the novel, the owl-eyed man doubts Gatsby, and when he further investigates him, he clearly understands Gatsby’s motives. He astonishingly comments to Nick that the books in the library are real, yet Gatsby has not read or cut the pages of them. It dawns on the owl-eyed man that Gatsby knows just how much he has to do to fool people, and he does not need to cut the pages because those people are just as fake as he is and will not check the books. By leaving the owl-eyed man out of the movie, the audience fails to understand Gatsby’s diligence in maintaining his false identity.
In addition, by not introducing the owl-eyed man in the library, the car accident outside of Ga...


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...and “the sets and costumes and most of the performances are exceptionally good” (Canby). Translating pieces of exposition from the novel word for word in the film are a pleasant surprise to devoted readers who wish the film depicted The Great Gatsby page by page. In addition, major plot points were depicted, which is essential to the film’s success. However, the film’s positive traits were overshadowed by its negative characteristics.
Creating a movie based on a novel is always difficult, but Clayton’s poor choices as a director caused the film to suffer. The awkwardness of the characters, unnecessary additions, and failure to capture the essence of the novel created an unenjoyable and disappointing reaction for devoted fans of The Great Gatsby. However, maybe other directors will learn from Clayton;s mistakes and create a film that even Fitzgerald would be proud of.

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