The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, did not receive much attention when it was released in 1925; it was only until after Fitzgerald’s death in 1940 that it became one of America’s most classic pieces of literature. However, this literary cornerstone is also a commonly challenged book, as it comes in at the top of the American Library Association’s list of banned and challenged classics. Ultimately, concerned parent groups challenged the book at the Baptist College in Charleston, South Carolina in 1987 because of foul language and sexual references. The novel takes place in 1922, when the Prohibition era made bootleggers millionaires and granted the social elite a carefree, dazzling lifestyle. Realist Nick Carraway narrates the story, telling the tragic events between Daisy Buchanan, a married woman, and Gatsby, a poor boy turned mysterious millionaire. As the two ex-lov-
ers reunite under tragic circumstances, Nick witnesses the decadent and morally questionable lives of New York socialites and allows the reader to experience it through beautifully written descriptions. While Gatsby is required reading, the corrupt representation of mankind’s wealthiest and character Tom Buchanan’s white supremacist comments urged parent groups to attempt to shield their children from such words. However, defenders say that the comments actually help make the character more disdainful than he already is. While Gatsby is still read in high school, many of the copies read have actually been edited to make it “more acceptable” for younger generations. Irvington English teacher Ms. O’Connor has her junior students read The Great Gatsby, and cannot imagine an AP English curriculum without it.
Published on Apr 15, 2014