Ahmed Maklad


The thesis explores how the literary status of Fitzgerald’s novel published in 1925 evolved from being dismissed to becoming a canonical work of American Literature after the death of its author. The role of criticism and adaptations and how they intertwined to popularize the novel among the academic elite and the general public is examined. Four critical studies in different decades of recent history are analyzed to show the different approaches to the novel as well as its relation to the American Dream. The thesis suggests that the four critical studies discussed reflect viewpoints impacted by the cultural and socio-economic factors that marked the decade of their appearance: Kermit Moyer (1973), Ross Posnock (1984), Ray Canterbery (1999), and Benjamin Shreier (2007). Their approaches demonstrate the many ways The Great Gatsby can be viewed and thus its richness as a text. The three film adaptations of the novel in turn depict directors’ take on the novel as well as exhibiting the limitations, predilections, and technical possibilities of the time of their production: Nugent’s (1949), Clayton’s (1974), and Luhrmann’s (2013). The controversial aspects of these adaptations as indicated by reviews and articles, which evaluate them as to how they present Gatsby and the American Dream, have increased the debate and the interest in the novel. Though the novel is located in the U.S. in the Roaring Twenties associated with the Jazz Age, it continues to speak to present audience by evoking issues related to class, mobility, ethics, and romance.


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date


Submission Date

February 2015

First Advisor

Ghazoul, Dr. Ferial

Committee Member 1

Nimis, Dr.Stephen, Dr.Mounira Soliman


68 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Fitzgerald, F. Scott (Francis Scott), 1896-1940. Great Gatsby.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Fiction -- Authorship -- Psychological aspects.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my thesis advisor and mentor Professor Ferial Ghazoul for her continuous support during my graduate study at the American University in Cairo. Most of all I would like to thank her for her patience, motivation, enthusiasm, and believing in me. The guidance received has helped me in my research and writing of this thesis. Beside my advisor, I would like to thank the rest of my thesis committee, Professor Mounira Soliman and Prof. Stephen Nimis, for their encouragement, insightful comments, and hard questions. My sincere thanks also go to Samaa Ayman and Joanna Saba for contributing to my thesis project through long hours of discussion about the topic and how to approach its complexity as well as sharing their copyediting expertise with me. This has been a wonderful journey for me and I have learned so much about myself through the research process in terms of my identity and sense of belonging. If Fitzgerald were alive today, I would extend my gratitude to him for giving the world The Great Gatsby and its spectacular prose and allegories. Last but not least, I would like to thank my family—my mother Naglaa Maklad for supporting me and nurturing me spiritually throughout my life and for my brother Mohamed Maklad for constantly believing in me and supporting me throughout this long process.