Quite possibly the best book ever written. The themes of time, class, money, hope, loss of innocence and identity all play strong roles in this literary tour de force.

While the novel's central plot is Gatsby's pursuit of Daisy Buchanan, a much more interesting -- and ignored -- topic of the book is the role of Nick Carraway. Nick, being the narrator, says very little about himself, instead describing the events before him as they unfold. He is not terribly introspective thinking much more about Gatsby than about himself. However, he is quite possibly the most interesting and crucial character in the book.

Optiks: While the book is definitely about the American Dream, the American Dream is a very personal thing in Gatsby. And yes -- there is a hollowness to it, but there is also a beauty which I see. Just because the American Dream can never be realized does not mean that one should not try -- indeed, it is a Dream and not a reality, after all, and almost everyone in their own way has their own Dream. The appelation American simply comes from the land and status tied to this dream of something that came from the percieved social mobility and huge tracts of land that brought so many to this country -- it is a country built on a dream -- just a dream, but a glorious dream.

The real tragedy of Gatsby lies in Gatsby's unwillingness to accept that his dream is just an outward manifestation for his Soul's Yearning for SOMETHING so that, having projected all the meaning of the world to himself onto Daisy, having attained her, he has no way of going on. This is a much older story -- about the dangers of imposing your God onto an earthly form. Gatsby in many ways mirrors Moby Dick, with Gatsby as Ahab, Daisy as the Whale, and Nick as Ishmael -- once again, the main character's obsession with a reflection of his soul in the world is what kills him. For more detail see American Gnosticism.