READ GATSBY-DISCUSS GATSBY is the blog to go to if you are part of The Big Read. In addition to Vigo County, Indiana, the following communities have been selected to participate in The Big Read and have chosen The Great Gatsby as the book they will be reading: Libertyville, IL, Sioux City, IA, Craven, Pamlico and Carteret counties of NC, Newark, OH and Charlottesville, VA. All are invited to post comments and questions on The Great Gatsby and The Big Read on this blog. At READ GATSBY-DISCUSS GATSBY we agree with F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Either you think, or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Do You Think Jay Gatsby Is Number One?



This online space supports Vigo County’s Big Read program (go here) and many across the country (go here). Read Gatsby–Discuss Gatsby provides a place on the internet for the online discussion of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. However you found your way here, you are a reader and you are welcome.
Please pass the word along on Read Gatsby--Discuss Gatsby. The more readers who participate the livelier the discussion and more we all learn.

100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900

From Book magazine, March/April 2002

1 - Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
2 - Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951
3 - Humbert Humbert, Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955
4 - Leopold Bloom, Ulysses, James Joyce, 1922
5 - Rabbit Angstrom, Rabbit, Run, John Updike, 1960
6 - Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1902
7 - Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960
8 - Molly Bloom, Ulysses, James Joyce, 1922
9 - Stephen Dedalus, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce, 1916
10 - Lily Bart, The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton, 1905
100 - Augie March, The Adventures of Augie March, Saul Bellow 1953

Fitzgerald was always writing up lists and Americans today are crazy for lists. Is it that lists–“Antique Automobiles” to “Zoo Animals, Favorites”–provide us with a sense of control or direction? Each day we shovel great quantities of information into our consciousness and too often end up with something resembling a pile of gravel. Beset by stony facts without context, flayling about in a sandbox of statistics, we gratefully reach for the help offered by a nicely ordered list of Bests, Worsts, Must Sees and the ever popular, Most Populars. What a relief to turn the trouble of sorting and ordering those mountains of datum so easily plucked from magazines and websites over to authority-- X, Y and Z-dot-com.

The above list, 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900, can serve as Example A.

But think a little about 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900. (I’ve mercifully left out 11 to 99 -- full list here.) It tells us very little of interest and importance unless you have read or plan to read at least a few of these books. Otherwise, it’s like waving a 100 Best New Zealand Wines list in front of me. I have neither the nose, the taste buds nor the all important experience to gravely nod, yes, #76 on the list of 100 Kiwi vintages is clearly superior to #77.

As part of The Big Read, as a reader of The Great Gatsby, you have the nose, the taste and now the experience to respond to the following questions:

Does Jay Gatsby deserve the "I'm Number One" spot on this Best Characters list? Why or why not? Cast a vote on this and let other readers know what you think.
--Gary W. Daily


Ligia said...

I read this book 20 years ago and its amazing, how much better I understand Daisy now.......

Ligia said...

Do I think Jay Gatsby is number one?.....well, no!
No matter how much Jay Gatsby loved Daisy, and how undeserving Daisy's husband was of her, Jay had no business "getting" in between husband and wife, the fact that he did, makes him number 0, not number one :/


My photo
Terre Haute, Indiana, United States
The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.