The Book That Changed My Life

By Wen Hsiao

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

   When I first picked up The Great Gatsby from my older brother's bookshelf, I didn't know what to expect of it. I knew that it was a book often referenced in popular culture when speaking of the 1920's, the lost generation, an era of flappers and philosophers.  I was so intrigued by the idea of The Great Gatsby, all of the sides of the 20's it showcased: the corruption, the parties, and the human desires.

   I was only eleven when I first flipped through the pages. I didn't understood many of the references or the meaning behind multiple ideals but there was one thing I understood more than anything else: the green light. The green light glimmering from Daisy's side, out on the dock. The light that gave Gatsby hope, knowing that Daisy is right there, across the river. Due to this light, he continues to throw extravagant parties, week after week, night after night, hoping one day she'll come.

   At that age, I didn't understand why Gatsby threw all these parties hoping Daisy would one day stumble in. I couldn't comprehend as to why Gatsby didn't just pick up the phone and call Daisy. I later understood that sometimes, life just doesn't work that way. When Gatsby finally had the chance to see Daisy, after all those years, he realized he couldn't stay away. Gatsby would have done anything for Daisy, and he did. Even at the time of his death, his heart still belonged to Daisy. When I finally put down the book, I was so intrigued and fascinated by all the characters and their stories, from Nick to Gatsby to Daisy, even to Tom Buchanan, the stories and the emotions lying within everyone. The love, the fear, the love that caused the fear, and the fear of the love.

   F. Scott Fitzgerald awoke something within me. I began falling in love with the world of fiction. The story of reunited love with a tragic end made me love the power of fiction. As unreal as fiction can be, it makes you feel emotion. Perhaps we don't understand these feelings at the time, but, as we go through life, we begin to understand more and more that life isn't a fairy tale. You can give your all to someone and receive nothing in return. Fiction is not utilized merely to create another world or an escape, it is able to inspire and help people. For me, F. Scott Fitzgerald served as an inspiration to start writing, I still remember the way his words made me feel then and how those feelings grew as I matured throughout the years.

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