The Student Prints

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The Student Prints

The Student Prints

School stuff

We’ve all heard the classic “when will we use this in real life?” in different math classes, but have you ever felt that way in English class? We read books written well before our grandparents were even born and the goal always involves discovering what the author’s purpose is, and how it still applies today. We read one and move onto the next, completing assignments and forgetting the lesson like always. But what if we actually took some of the themes we learn from reading these books, and applied them to our lives just like the author intended?

Junior year I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. This book generates a lot of buzz because of its popularity, but when I was reading it I was really impacted by the experiences of Jay Gatsby. A large part of his characterization involves him being stuck in the past, trying to relive it, no matter how unattainable it is. I remember discussing the importance of the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, and that no matter how hard Gatsby tried to touch it, he would never come close enough. Not only did Fitzgerald show that Gatsby was stuck in the past, but the book showed how it affected him. Gatsby was miserable and lonely to put it simply, because he just couldn’t figure out how to move on. It may seem like a reach, but it’s a work of literature I think back to rather often. 

I’m not saying that I am Jay Gatsby and driving myself to my own isolation, but I often find myself wanting to relive the past, specifically the good parts of it. Nostalgia is a really good reminder of the good things we’ve experienced, but when it consumes our thoughts it can make our current situation seem less exciting or valuable. It seems silly to say, but when I catch myself falling into a pattern like this, I think of the significance derived from one of Fitzgerald’s goals in The Great Gatsby. That being stuck in the past inhibits the option to create or enjoy a new future, something I don’t think anyone wants to be denied.  In sharing this experience, I hope to encourage my fellow peers to evaluate the significance of the literature that we read. The Great Gatsby is just one example, each book read during school has an applicable purpose or else it wouldn’t be worth reading. The dialogue sparked during class surrounding these books can leave a lasting impact on how we view the world around us, we just have to take the initiative to see it as more than an assignment.

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