Critics throughout the years agree that F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is one of his most renowned accomplishments in his entire career. Although there are a few who believe this novel was like one of his previous ones. It portrays not only his understanding of the Jazz Age of being happy and having money but also the loss of traditional. Some critics found his novel entertaining, “a real attention grabber”, while others found it a bit negligible.
In 1942 Alfred Kazin a highly respected American Literary critic wrote that it was Fitzgerald's understanding of the character Gatsby that enabled him to depict so skillfully his tragedy and, even more consequently, the illusory nature of the American dream(Twentieth Century Literary Criticism Vol 14 151). Fitzgerald always saw life as a glamour, even though he could pierce that glamour to write one of the most moving of American tragedies in The Great Gatsby(TCLC 151). Kazin was not the only critic who thought highly of Fitzgerald's book.
Others believed that The Great Gatsby compared to his previous novels, was by far one of his best books. Other critics ,along with Frederick J. Hoffman, throughout the years wondered how Fitzgerald managed to write such a successful novel. In 1951 Hoffman wrote, “The time Fitzgerald spent in the writing of The Great Gatsby was also devoted to a carefulexamination of his weaknesses and a consolidation of whatever formal gains he had made since the beginning. He had, as he said, not only to find the most suitable approach to his materials but also to justify materials to himself... ( TCLC 152).
While most critics in the nineteenth century spent their time appraising The Great Gatsby others, seemed to think poorly of this novel. A critic in the Springf'd Republican wrote “A little slack, a little soft, more than a little artificial, 'The Great Gatsby', falls into the class of negligible novels”( Book Review Digest 226). During the nineteenth century many critics appraised Fitzgerald's novel although there were times were critics thought it was a waste of time. Critics did find the novel a bit boring but overall they liked it.
They believed it was probably one of his best ones yet. A critic wrote “ 'The Great Gatsby' is not a good book, but it is superior to his others with the exception of the first. The conversation throughout is a rather quaint collection of epigrams. But at least, he is over the awkward age, and later books may prove that he can still be effective-outside the field of sophisticated juveniles”( Book Review Digest 225). Some critics loved the book so much they couldn't stop reading it. Critic Walter Yust wrote, “ The novel is one that refuses to be ignored. I finished it in an evening,and had to.
Its spirited tempo, the motley of its figures, the suppressed, under-surface tension of its dramatic monuments, held me to the page. It is not a book which might, under any interpretation, fall into the category of those doomed to investigation by a vice commission, and yet it is a shocking-one that reveals incredible grossness, thoughtlessness, polite corruption, without leaving the reader with sense of depression, without being insidiously provocative”( Book Review Digest 225). In the nineteenth century most of the criticism was good but on occasion there would be some strong criticism.
Many critics saw Fitzgerald's work as his greatest achievement of Fitzgerald's literary career. The novel is more than a symbol of the Jazz Age but more about the traditional American belief. In 1952, Tom Burnam wrote, “ As a matter of fact, what is really “missing” in The Great Gatsby is not so much a specific element in plot or even theme;the sense of something missing come, rather, from the inherent confusion of themes, the duality of symbol-structure of which Fitzgerald's seems to have been unaware. The book, great as it is, still falls short of its possibilities because its energies are spent in two directions. ”(TCLC Vol 14 154).
Since the novel offers many themes its easy to get confused with them as well. The book could have been great but its expectations ran low. Critics could never come to the conclusion on how Fitzgerald managed to illustrate such a fine piece of work. Earlier critics of Gatsby emphasized biographical and cultural influences on the novel, and formalist approaches dealt with the novel's structure, point of view, symbols, use of language, and the like(TCLC 157). Earlier critics saw that in his novels Fitzgerald put a lot of effort. If so many critics think that this was his greatest accomplishment its obviously a great book.
The Great Gatsby relates to multiple aspects of Fitzgerald's life. Fitzgerald writes his novel with such precision no one can ignore. Gilbert Seldes wrote, “ The plot works out like a puzzle with every odd bits falling into place, but like a tragedy with every part functioning in the completed organism. I cannot find in the earlier Fitzgerald the artistic integrity and the passionate feeling which this book possesses”(Book Review Digest 225). That same year Edwin Clark said about The Great Gatsby, “ A curious book, a mystical, glamorous story of today. It takes a deeper cut at life than hitherto has been essayed by Mr. Fitzgerald.
For he writes well-he always has- for he writes naturally and his sense of form is becoming perfected” ( Book Review Digest 225). Fitzgerald is a natural writer everything he writes seems to flow exactly into space. He was born to write. Fitzgerald's has put in some of his past experiences into the Great Gatsby, many people can relate to his experiences. The Great Gatsby has been criticized for many years because of the symbol it may contain. With the different critics reviews we can see that some critics enjoyed his writing. Although some disliked it. The Great Gatsby was and forever will be one of his greatest accomplishments.