The Great Gatsby
Written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby is one of the most known stories in American literature. Since its conception, The Great Gatsby has earned a place on American high school curricula and undergone plenty of stage and film adaptations. Throughout the novel, the themes of idealism, decadence, and social unrest are explored with a very liberal touch.
The story's narrator is young man by the name of Nick Carraway, a World War I veteran and Yale graduate from the Midwest. He is in New York because of a job offer as a bond salesman. While there, he rents a small house on Long Island next door to the rambling mansion of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious individual who hosts incredibly lavish parties but is known never to attend them.
As the story progresses and summer continues, Nick is eventually invited to one of Gatsby's parties. It is here that he finally meets the enigmatic millionaire. It also turns out that Gatsby and Carraway were in the same division during the war. Sometime after this event, Nick finds out that Gatsby is deeply in love with his cousin, Daisy Fay Buchanan. It is then revealed that Gatsby only throws his parties in an attempt to impress Daisy, with hopes of rekindling their long-lost romance.
Eventually, through a series of events, Gatsby and Daisy reconnect and begin a torrid affair. Over the course of the affair, Tom, Daisy's husband, begins to grow suspicious of his wife's relationship with Gatsby. It eventually comes to light that Gatsby and Daisy are seeing each other behind her husband's back, and even though he (Tom) is having his own affair, he is still inconsolably outraged by the news. In a heated conversation where all three are present, Tom reveals to Daisy that Gatsby is actually a criminal - he has acquired his fame and incredible wealth through bootlegging alcohol, amongst other illegal activities.
The story eventually comes to a head when Tom's mistress, a woman by the name of Myrtle Wilson, is struck and killed by Gatsby's car. Believing that it was Gatsby driving (when in fact it was Daisy), Myrtle's husband, George Wilson, shows up to Gatsby's house and fatally shoots him. He then shoots himself. Nick holds a very small funeral for Gatsby, and then returns to the Midwest in the end, questioning his time on the east coast.