The Meaning Behind The Great Gatsby

'The Great Gatsby' Is More Than Just Another Love Story, It's Fitzgerald's Way Of Teaching Us A Timeless Life Lesson

Universally known as a forced read for high schoolers, we forget this book is so much more than paper and ink.

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"The Great Gatsby" is the epitome of the highlights of the 20s: the massive parties, the extravagant wear and abundance of illegal alcohol. A book set within the midst of celebration, F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel portrays Jay Gatsby as nothing more than living the American dream: a life of luxury and a constant, unlimited party. However, as soon as we realize Gatsby's success, we're sucked into a whirlwind of issues coming with being rich, most importantly one Gatsby most struggles with: finding love.

We soon find that what Gatsby most struggles with his letting go of the past: he stuck in a time warp before the war began, when he served as a soldier, where he lived a happy life because he fell in love with Daisy. As quickly as their love formed is as quick as it fell to ruin. In Gatsby's absence, Daisy grew tired of waiting and fell to Tom, another rich man who consistently cheats on her with other women. Undeserving, Gatsby spends the remainder of the book and his life chasing after Daisy in hopes of reviving the past, their love and finding happiness.

If you've ever taken a language arts class, you know metaphors are an author's best friend. As you can most likely assume, Fitzgerald uses Daisy as a metaphor for the American dream: the white picket fences, steady job, family and overall contentment with life. Gatsby fell in love with Daisy and chased her until death: caused on her behalf as well, even after their break and her marriage. Through trying to bring back the past and continue his obscured view of Daisy, his obscured view on life, Gatsby fell into the trap, leading to his ultimate disappointment and failure to attain the American dream.

So what is Fitzgerald saying? What was the message high school language arts teachers across the country trying to teach us?

Through Gatsby and his futile attempts to control the past, we learn the truth: no one can change the past as well as the true feelings one holds in their heart. As humans, we hold the tendency to chase after smoke and mirrors — impossible thoughts and expectations because it is what we believe to hold true. More specifically, we are all given life and liberty, but it is the pursuit of happiness that separates us all because it is a separate journey; no two people can share the same pathway to happiness. It's what Gatsby failed to learn: in his attempts to live a lavish style to match that of Tom's, he died without ever attaining true happiness.

Tangentially, Fitzgerald points to the truth of the maxim that money can't buy happiness: when it comes to loss, love and other strong emotions, they can not be bought, only felt. By trying to buy Daisy's love, Gatsby created his own false identity, forgetting to look into himself and instead pouring himself into others with his massive parties, his name and fame. It's why in the end, no one came to Gatsby's funeral. No relationships were made; he was only harvested by others around him.

To be truly happy is a concept that has no dollar value, has no correct path and no predicted end. It's a step in life, one that we can only take personally and reap the benefits of.

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Let's Give It Up for Kim Kardashian-West

She's a boss and it's time we all admit it.

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Kim Kardashian-West is the Hollywood queen of many things. She is a mother, model, TV personality, entrepreneur and is now investing the next 4 years of her life to become a lawyer and follow in her father's footsteps.

Anybody that even remotely 'keeps up with the Kardashians' (whether you admit it or not) knows at least a little bit about her newest venture.

I myself am not a huge fan of the Kardashian's for various reasons and when I first heard Kim wanted to be a lawyer I laughed. From what I have seen and how she comes off, she doesn't seem like someone that would really go through with it.

I shrugged it off thinking it was going to be another example of celebrities trying to do something crazy (like running for president), but now I am fully admitting that I was wrong.

What caught my attention was a series of news articles over the past week describing a new partnership between Kim and the rideshare company Lyft. Recently, the mom of 4 has been working closely with government officials and the organization #cut50 to reform the lives of those recently incarcerated.

Prison reform has been her main focus since the beginning as she continues to work with #cut50. #cut50 is an organization that works to reduce the number of people placed behind bars while also working to reform our communities. #cut50 is run by those that are or have been directly impacted by incarceration and want to help change the system.

First coming to light in early 2018, was Kim's dedication to those who were behind bars; people like Alice Marie Johnson. Alice Marie was placed behind bars serving a life sentence without parole after being charged with a number of drug-related offenses in 1997.

The ball continued to roll for Kim in her advances in the legal field as she played a key role in helping Alice reduce her sentence in June of 2018.

Kim is undergoing an apprenticeship with a San Fransisco law firm which allows her to learn about law over the next 4 years and she plans to take the bar exam in 2022. This rigorous process includes over 18 hours of studying in a law office a week for 4 years, multiple tests over the course of that time, and also a "baby bar" that must be passed after the first year.

In this day and age, it is becoming more and more popular for celebrities to use their platforms for good and to promote social justice issues like issues in the LGBTQ+ community, immigration, racism, and so much more.

It is really nice to see Kim Kardashian-West, a woman with enormous influence from herself, her family, and her brands, not only use her platform for good but to also go into the field and work hands-on with those that she is trying to help.

This is not meant to undermine those that are also doing amazing work to make our world a more positive place but she is really killing it.

If Kim can pass the bar exam, I would be more than proud to have her as my lawyer and you should be too.

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To The Person Who Doesn't See Their Own Potential, Let Me Tell You Differently

No one can tell you how far you will go but yourself.

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"I am on my way, I can go the distance. I don't care how far, somehow I'll be strong." - Hercules

As normal humans, you might already know that we are subconsciously judgemental. What color is that girl's skin? How does the haircut look like on that guy who is sitting at the very back of the class? What grade did he get on that last math test? Should I go ask? This isn't necessarily a bad thing...

Until it affects someone thinking they aren't capable of doing something.

Most of us already think we aren't good enough, but what does that mean? Do I have to be better than the person sitting next to me in class? Would I have to try extra hard to get into the soccer team even though I don't like soccer?

Would I have to try extra hard to impress because everyone around me is better than me?

It shouldn't be like that, obviously, but when we feel constant pressure around us, we can't really help it. I struggle to find my confidence, my worth, and sometimes motivation, every day. A few years ago, I used to try and find reassurance by thinking that I was competing with someone who wasn't the best and was "less" better than me, whatever that was supposed to mean for me.

It sounds bad, but it's true. I wouldn't just mentally attack someone else just because I didn't believe in myself, but I would also attack myself and without realizing it, I was unhappy. I was stressing out so much because I was coming to the realization that there are people who are always going to be better than you, whether academically, in sports, or something else.

We know this, but in the back of our heads, we still can't accept it.

I would find people who were better than me in everything and when people started to tell me how bad I was at something, no matter how small, my confidence started to fade away completely.

That is when I started to question what I couldn't do instead of what I could.

I tried harder to compete with myself instead of competing with other people and I'm still learning to improve myself. One thing I still don't do, which all of us should do, is learning to acknowledge every single achievement.

Be proud of yourself.

If you get an award or a prize or even get recognized for something without anything to come home with, OWN IT. You must know that whoever recognized you wasn't "recognizing the wrong person" or you "heard wrong." You don't even need someone else to tell you that you achieved something because if you feel like your improvement advanced further, feel proud. Realize that if you can do something better than the last time, you can keep doing better, but never stop, not even if you think you reached your full potential.

Just find your own limit, and keep aiming toward it.

Find your own limit, not someone else's and aim toward it. If you make a mistake, so what? We all make mistakes, but what we all don't do is actually accept what we are doing wrong because we are so focused on being "better." Just "better" won't get you to the top, and I don't mean the top of the class or above someone. I mean the top as in success. Courage. Being knocked down but standing back up and doing it again for yourself.

Risking going far will take you far.

Telling yourself that you can do anything, regardless of who you are, will take you far.

Seeing your obstacles as the next step instead of the block in your path will take you far.

Creating the "top" instead of trying to see it will take you further.

Once you make your own road, no one will be there to stop you.

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