Greatness often breeds controversy. This has been the case for acclaimed books throughout history. Harry Potter for its glorification of witchcraft, Go Ask Alice for its depiction of harrowing teen drug use, and Brave New World for its unsettling vision of the future, but we love them anyway.
Here it is already again, Banned Book Week at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. Used to be it was merely colored leaves and jack-o-lantern decorations that heralded the arrival of the Autumn season.
With its linear and geometric shapes, symmetry and a style that expressed the vibrancy of the mid '20s through '30s, Art Deco's visual arts style inspired many other facets including old Hollywood in both classic films and gorgeous movie palaces.
As I delved deeper into Paul Thomas' work, and directed energy to the urgent nature of his calls for action and attention to class and race inequity in America, I found that we share many commonalities.
I respect the fact that my course isn't the center of my students' lives; I understand this isn't the 70s or any other decade. It's now, and college has changed drastically.
I will always tell them that Fitzgerald's novel is a poem disguised as a novel. Much of the novel should be treated more as poetry with its own sets of rules and less like a novel.
It's become somewhat of a national pastime to recreate the milieu of F. Scott Fitzgerald, especially in the summer months, when flapper dresses and resurrected cocktails are easiest to flaunt.
Is there any book anywhere that couldn't be in need of a trigger warning? Think about Twilight or Lord of the Rings or The Great Gatsby. What would be helpful is for professors to do what many I know already do: ask students at the beginning of a class to inform them privately if they have any issues that might interfere with classroom learning and proceed from there.
Literature is a wonderful and integral part of the human experience. Books have the power to teach us about ourselves and the world around us. They can open up doors to new ideas, new outlooks, and fresh experiences.
If F. Scott Fitzgerald was alive today and writing, his income would be roughly half a million dollars a year. In his prime writing days, Fitzgerald was pulling in well over ten thousand dollars a year on short stories alone.
Today, the earliest surviving manuscript draft of The Great Gatsby rests in a high-security, climate-controlled vault in Princeton, New Jersey. However, this manuscript is not the first draft of the novel. Only two pages of that survive.
In the future, opinions will change, people will change, and the world will change. Books, however, are a constant force. Their themes will continue to be relevant, no matter how different the world may appear in the years to come.
The Great Gatsby should be seen as a testament of what someone can accomplish just by having the sheer will to attain it. Gatsby literally dreamed and affirmed himself into success. Everyone is capable of doing the same thing, but most are fearful or lack vision.
What does an angst-ridden comedienne tackling abortion onstage and in her personal life, a closeted heir to a vast fortune with a yen for Olympic-bound wrestlers, and a concierge bedding septuagenarians have in common? They are all characters in films selected by the curators of the Museum of Modern Art.
"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer, Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby.
You needn't be by the sea to read it, of course, for you can see and smell and almost taste the Mediterranean, wherever you are, thanks to Fitzgerald's magical words.