Why ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Is This Generation’s ‘The Great Gatsby’

Why ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Is This Generation’s ‘The Great Gatsby’

[Step aside, Jay and Daisy.]

After discussing how Crazy Rich Asians has been compared to Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, Natalie Sonier, a student at Wake Forest University, argues that the film is better understood compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby [set up this way, this article gestures toward the “bait and switch” argument strategy from the “Kinds of Arguments” handout.

The excerpt below is where Sonier starts the switch! You can read the full article by clicking the link above.

. . .

“Nick Young, on the other hand, is the life of every party and everyone’s favorite guest, but he does not let his popularity go to his head. Instead, he chooses to hide his immense wealth from Rachel, never wanting her to think it defines him as fundamentally different.

In this way, rather than resembling the “Pride and Prejudice” narrative, “Crazy Rich Asians” actually draws closer parallels to “The Great Gatsby.” For instance, Nick’s character mirrors that of Jay Gatsby, as both men go out of their way to please their loves, although they so in two extremely different ways – Young keeps his family fortune a secret, while Gatsby opts to throw the most lavish parties possible to attract his beloved Daisy.

Here are a few other reasons why “Crazy Rich Asians” must be the next “The Great Gatsby.” 

Beautiful Things and Beautiful People

Nick perfectly fits the description of tall, dark and handsome. But what’s more, his character is hardly the most attractive of those others in Kwan’s novel. Between cousin Astrid’s exotic features and Araminta Lee’s supermodel legs, Rachel sees greater perfection in every direction.

Of course, the most beautiful people must be dressed in the most beautiful clothing, and therefore, Kwan adorns his characters in carefully detailed custom-made couture from around the world. Delicate fabrics contrast the glare of extravagant jewels the women in the novel shower themselves in, and at least one person asks about the designer of someone’s ensemble at every gathering, practically every few pages of the novel.

But, this material obsession offers a sort of comic relief in situations where the familial tension can be felt by readers. Even if Kwan’s style of subtle mockery and sarcasm aimed at these crazy rich families isn’t your go-to idea of comedy, you’re bound to get a laugh out of the price-tag Kwan puts on some of those designer dresses.”


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