Are we all reaching for the green light?

Do you miss old times when life was simple and enjoyable? Currently, teens miss the early 2010s, which is the period of their childhood. Everyone misses a reasonable time of their life, even adults and seniors;  they want to feel that joy, innocence, even the thrill once again as they reminisce about their past. In the book “The Great Gatsby,” a man named Jay Gatsby tries to bring back his good days once again in the present. As you read this book, you will see how Gatsby does anything he can to get his love and past back, grasping for the green light, which symbolizes him reaching out towards his hopes and dreams.

Moreover, as you read, your brain would be debating.”Are recalling and grasping the past useless? Is the present more essential and salient?”

The current situation is dreadful due to the pandemic, and I have seen lots of people feeling nostalgic for the times when they could enjoy outdoor leisure and activities freely. The crisis brought us to look to the past; we desperately want to go back. I figured out that our situation is very similar to Gatsby’s, where he was desperate to go back to the past. By reading the character of Gatsby, some people feel empathy about his actions and feel nostalgic about their great memories of the past. Nostalgia has been considered something you should not be obsessed with, but people started thinking differently as time passed. The hints of nostalgia can be found everywhere in the Covid-19 pandemic, like the internet, magazines, books, and even tools and antiques. Many people seem like they want to live in the past, and the feeling of nostalgia has never been this intense.

Still, people criticize nostalgia and people who sincerely rely on it, and one of the reasons for this criticism is directly connected with Gatsby. In the story, Gatsby’s efforts to bring back the past failure and become delusional. Readers of this novel see that Gatsby’s obsession with his past with Daisy leads him to the tragic ending of his life. By reading this book, many people, including myself, had second thoughts about nostalgia. Being obsessed with the past can lead to circumstances where we lose our sanity and become pathetic, blaming everything on the current and relying on the past. Like Gatsby did in the novel, people of various ages start to lose their personalities and rationality, which is ruining us in many ways.

I felt nostalgic many times during the pandemic. Everybody wants to spend time with friends, eat outside with their family, and meet loved ones. However, we have to be realistic and think about the future and the present. I think rationality is the most important idea in the 21st century as it brings success. On the other hand, nostalgic thinking and reminiscence will not get you to success or something you wished for, just like how Gatsby did not get his wishes. I hope for a world where people care much more about reality. Covid-19 did not come to an end now, and the pandemic is expected to continue at least for another year. The best way to win and conquer the virus is to focus on what you do best, focus on your work, and go straight for the future.

Great Gatsby has many versions, books, dramas, movies, and novels. Personally, it was a great novel that had an exciting plot and contained deep meanings that we can empathize with. I highly suggest the novel, “Great Gatsby,” and I assure you it would be interesting and helpful.

By: Jinha Hwang