Gatsby and School

*Sits down and stares at the wall* One of my posts is empty and I have yet to determine why or how the words went missing. It’s a shame because I can’t remember what I posted in that particular post.

But to the more important thing of why I am making this post. I recently read the Great Gatsby.

The Great Gatsby has an interesting story line and a certain charm to it that makes me love the way it’s written while hating the story itself. The characters are believable but rather on the more out-there side with a small hint of disbelief enough to keep a reader reading. It’s an enjoyable book.

Reading it for a class, however, takes away certain charming qualities  that if read on someone’s own time would surface and bring certain clarity to the issues presented within the book. It’s hard to say how much clarity, but having to subdue one’s own opinion on a character or subvert certain thoughts in order to use the perspective of the one grading the test is a rather useless and meaningless use of one’s time. Should people read the Great Gatsby? I suppose so, it’s a literary gem from Fitzgerald. They should not read it under the careful guidance of a teacher.

Teachers are for teaching, promoting, advising, and other various things that fall within the job description. Opening up a mind to possibilities and the way of the classic world and how it teaches old lessons is a good thing to do, but people hardly listen when they are worrying about the next test or paper they have to write. They merely care that they get a good enough grade to maintain their average and the so-called “Honors” student is willing to do anything to maintain that pristine GPA the high-school tells them is necessary to get into college (a rather bland and boring lie that is still believed). Not a single aspect or component anywhere actually admits that the students are not thinking. English classes in high-school and early college are rather presumptuous and assertive about the way people think.

School teaches people to think one way and when introduced to the real world where school is forgotten and practical needs take over people become confused. “What do you mean they don’t think Daisy is terrible?” “Nick isn’t well liked by my coworker?!” “PEOPLE like TOM?!?” and so on until the list of thoughts and concerns with opinions meets what I would like to call a falling out. The opinions are so diverse and counterintuitive that people give up and decide that school was wrong. In fact, most people hit this as soon as freshman year begins. “Locker numbers are… not assigned according to where your classes are?””What do you mean I can’t take that elective?””I don’t understand, why is she not explaining? What do you mean I should already know?”

The sheer number of times I was asked by my fellow students “What do you mean you don’t know? You’ve already read the book once right?” No. I lied  and said “Of course! I just don’t remember” because school doesn’t care and the people in school are vicious, well-honed weapons ready to strike at the weakest prey (“Welcome to Honor’s kids! Hope you survive.” *belly laughter follows*). So instead of admitting that I’d never read the book before I would sit in class and pretend to know what was going on (“Don’t you remember what the green light is?” Erm… yeah. Of course. Psha). In fact, I went ahead and reread the book on my own time because I didn’t understand what in the world had been going on for the past two weeks and the only thing people in my class care about is the grade we’ll be getting on the test. Before the Gatsby unit, the only thing we were concerned about was the grade on the research paper. It goes on back like that until you hit the beginning of the year and the teachers are trying to get the students together with an ‘ice-breaker’ that more closely resembles a ‘don’t look in the teacher’s eye machine’ than anything else.

So Gatsby was fun. It was interesting and made me sad with its rather iconic ending. Did I enjoy reading it though? No. I rather detested every second the teacher made us spend listening to her voice while she read aloud to the class.

I’m of age that I can vote, for god’s sake, trust me to read a book.



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