The student news site of Stroudsburg High School


The student news site of Stroudsburg High School


The student news site of Stroudsburg High School


Modernizing the legacy of The Great Gatsby

Delaney Burke
Stroudsburg high school student (Alexis Binikos, 11) reading the Great Gatsby.

You’re not alone if you complained about reading The Great Gatsby this summer.

According to HuffPost, Students in 64 percent of Catholic schools, 49 percent of independent schools, and 54 percent of public schools were all required to read the novel, and that doesn’t even include all those classes in which teachers are not required to teach the novel.  

Narrated by Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby tells the story of Jay Gatsby’s chase for love and status in Long Island. His struggles to join high society and finally reunite with his past love, Daisy Buchanan, inevitably end up in his demise. 

The novel demonstrates how consumerism took over American culture in the 1920s and changed the ideal American dream, even to this day.

While Fitzgerald originally wrote this book in 1925, society’s need for greed hasn’t changed. The themes in The Great Gatsby are still relevant today in different ways. 

Ms. Ilene Austin, from our English department, recalls a quote, “ A history doesn’t repeat itself; it rhymes.” While society may develop with our new technology, we don’t change as humans. Our problems still remain rooted in our basic needs, desires, and dreams from the Stone Age.

She comments that the ideas in The Great Gatsby – such as falling in love with the idea of someone, chasing after the impossible, or the status differences between the different social classes, are still common themes in modern-day society. 

Although these classics may seem archaic, they can give us wisdom and life lessons that only history can teach. 

For example, Gatsby’s story tells us how creating a facade of our lives makes humans unhappy, as much as they try to be. Ignoring your unhappiness can inevitably lead to death, figuratively or literally. 

This theme is still true today, especially since the rise in the use of social media from a young age. Filters, editing software, and follower counts can all give someone the image of having popularity or success, but it can all be fake. 

According to school librarian Ms. Sherie Stauffer, people have recently lost respect for the classics – ideas, books, art, and movies. 

“Each generation tends to think that what was in the past is old and that you’re learning the newest. So therefore, you tend to dismiss, in your quick assessments, older ideas and look forward to the new ones that you think you should be striving for, “ says Stauffer.

She believes that although we have developed as a society, some things about human behavior haven’t changed and have been the same for the past twenty thousand years. 

We may act and learn differently, but our common problems have remained the same. 

Austin agrees, saying, “I feel the reason we go back to the classics is that their characters really resonate with us and we can touch base with the cornerstones of ideas in society while being able to look back on ideas that have changed.” 

While reading an older book, like The Great Gatsby, may feel like a chore, it’s essential to realize the power of history and how literature fits into that. 

Especially in literature, you can learn through other people’s missteps, and dismissing the knowledge from past generations is a waste of expertise. 

As an example, looking at all of William Shakespeare’s works, you can see that he, and many other playwrights in his time, wrote down how their characters made decisions, their mistakes, and the consequences that came with them. These lessons can still teach the modern generations great lessons.

Stauffer also points out that even when looking at war nowadays, the strategies are the same as fifty years ago.

Ben Domanski, 12, stated, “History is a concept we’re taught because there are themes or actions of the past we learned from. Understanding and analyzing classic literature is essential if we don’t want to relearn our lessons.”


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