All-College Writing Contest

Award

All-College Writing Contest Winner 2000-01

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2001

Author Comments

Chalk it up to fate. The first time I read The Great Gatsby was in the spring of 1994 when a student teacher from Lake Forest College assigned it to my American Literature class. Seven years later, I am a LFC graduate who wrote part of his senior thesis on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel.

I’m glad I read Gatsby and even more ecstatic to be a LFC grad. Only in the forest could I have written a thesis about Americans reinventing themselves. American culture is predicated on liberty and freedom, grandiose abstract notions that–naively or not–guide us to believe that we can become anything we want and that greatness is out there for our taking. To read about Jay Gatsby’s ascent from vagabond Minnesotan to new-money iconoclast is to read the story of America.

Now I prepare to enter that place enigmatically named the "real world." Armed with a good education and Fitzgerald’s words of wisdom, I hope to constantly reinvent myself until I become the person I want to be. In the short term, this means waking up at 5:00 in the morning and wearing a suit. But if Gatsby has taught me anything, it’s that life doesn’t have to be lived one way forever.

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