Letter: Not Perfect, But Still Great
To the Editor:
In his May 10 commentary, “What’s So Great About ‘Gatsby’?,” Ernest Hebert takes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel to task for its demeaning glimpses of the working class. It appears that The Great Gatsby still evokes diverse views after nearly nine decades in our midst. But it’s worth noting that Fitzgerald wasn’t aiming to write a book like Sister Carrie or Studs Lonigan. He was writing a brief impressionistic romance about the persistence and frailty of youthful wonder in a particular slice of American life. Yes, there are some dated passages that Fitzgerald would undoubtedly change if he were revising The Great Gatsby in 2013. However, much of what Hebert finds objectionable is conveyed through characters, including the narrator Nick Carraway, whose failings Fitzgerald was happy to satirize or otherwise point up along the way. And, yes, not every sentence is perfectly rendered; but as many readers would testify, there is much that remains indelibly worthy in this saddest of 20th-century American tales.
Dennis Damon Moore