Holy shit, this is too true.
1) There is a nagging suspicion in your brain that there’s something missing. Not missing as in “Shit I lost my cell phone.” But missing as in, you wake up in the morning not really sure of your path in life, if this is really what you want to do, and if this perpetual hangover is…
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald troubled me at first, because for the better part of the novel I couldn’t really figure out why it held such literary significance. Sure, it was extremely readable and the characters proved to be engaging and intriguing. However, soon I was mid-way through the book and feeling as though the end was coming on way too early. The characters and plot seemed to develop in the blink of an eye. Nothing was drawn out, which unsettled me at first, but looking back, I realize that this economy of story was what made it so readable.
It also left plenty of room for the final denouement of the story, which is also where the novel really proves its worth. Narrating through the seemingly-detached character of Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald consistently makes penetrating observations of the other characters and of the scenes around him. The images produced are vividly sublime, yet in a very subtle, artistic way.
After all the characters finally collide and the dust settles, Fitzgerald makes the deepest and most powerfully profound observations. The physical imagery thoroughly reflects the somber tragedy of the unfolded story. However, its not the kind of melodramatic tragedy that brings about major catharsis, but one that is even deeper; because of its dull, subdued actuality. It’s difficult to clearly determine what Fitzgerald is trying to relate, but putting down this novel, there is no doubt that you’ve just witnessed something of unequivocal anguish. The sort of anguish that comes with nostalgic memories long forgotten.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a brilliant piece of literature, and more than that (as all good literature tends to be), a highly meditative piece of philosophy. Working off the notion of “ignorance is bliss”, Huxley probes both the microcosm of the individuals mind, as well as the macrocosm of society as a whole. He sets the stage for a great war between the promises of comfortable, consumerist lives drenched in blissful ignorance, and the painful, yet-enriching rewards of scientific and artistic truth.
Set in a sci-fi world where the pursuit of truth and beauty has been sacrificed for regimented, consumerist happiness, Huxley reaches deep in to the questions of life and meaning. The main character of Bernard Marx is no hero, and much like Dostoevsky’s “underground man”, is often treated by the reader with feelings of pity due to his false-pride and cowardice. The real hero in this novel is John the Savage, who really shines in the final chapters as a revolutionary thinker. His final discussion with Mond reads like a clash of philosophical titans; an epic battle between two competing world views.
Utilizing clear, precise prose and references to both classical and contemporary literature, Brave New World is a powerful and insightful warning towards the dehumanization of materialism. Especially considering it was published in 1932, this novel should be regarded as even more of a cautionary tale than 1984 (another dystopian story that it is often likened to).
Brave New World is a highly-readable, incredibly well-thought-out work of literature. It is one that leaves the reader questioning the life they live, having had the roots of their beliefs shaken, much in the same way as the characters in the far-off future of this novel. A must-read for any person daring enough to question the comfort of their own life in search of a brave new world.