F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul Minnesota on September 24th 1896. His father was from Maryland and his mother was the daughter of an Irish immigrant. Fitzgerald, unlikely to graduate from Princeton, joined the army in 1917. Stationed near Montgomery, Alabama, he met and later married Zelda Sayre, a high-strung woman from a family more prominent than his own. His first novel, This Side of Paradise, published in 1920, was a tremendous critical and commercial success. Fitzgerald followed with The Beautiful and the Damned in 1922, The Great Gatsby in 1925, and Tender is the Night in 1934.
He died on December 21st, 1940 of a heart attack and Zelda died in a hospital fire eight years later. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a brilliant illustration of life among the new rich during the 1920s, people who had recently amassed a great deal of wealth but had no corresponding social connections. The novel is an intriguing account about love, money and life during the 1920s in New York. It illustrates the society and the associated beliefs, values and dreams of the American population at that time.
These beliefs, values and dreams can be summed up to what is termed the “American Dream”; a dream of money, wealth, prosperity, and the happiness that supposedly came with the booming economy and the get-rich-quick schemes that formed the essential underworld of the American upper-class society. This withering theme presents itself in the novel through many of its characters. The writing style throughout The Great Gatsby is terse and though the book is depressing at times, its overall message of hope and the American dream is inspiring.
The story begins when Nick Carraway, a young man, moves to New York from the Midwest to join the bond business. There, he soon becomes acquainted with his wealthy neighbor Jay Gatsby, and they become good friends. Gatsby confides in Nick and tells him that he is in love with Nick’s cousin, the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. However, she is already married to the young and successful Tom Buchanan, who is unfaithful and has an affair with poor George Wilson’s wife. “Daisy and Tom were sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table They weren’t happy yet they weren’t unhappy either” (Chapter 7, pg. 148).
Later, Nick arranges a meeting between Gatsby and Daisy but soon after, they became involved in a love affair. It is revealed that many years ago, Gatsby and Daisy were in love, but Daisy would not marry him because he was rather poor. Gatsby, however, made his fortune and became determined to win Daisy’s heart. ” [Gatsby] wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was” (Chapter 6,pg. 111-112).
Towards the end of the story, however, Tom finds out about Gatsby and Daisy and a heated argument ensues. That fateful night, returning to their homes on Long Island, Daisy, while driving Gatsby’s car, accidentally runs over Tom’s mistress, Myrtle Wilson. Her deranged husband George Wilson discovers that it was Gatsby’s car that hit wife; as a result, he seeks out Gatsby and kills him. “When a man gets killed I never like to get mixed up in it any way. I keep out. When I was a young man it was different I stuck with them to the end Let us learn to show friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead” (Chapter 9, pg. 73). Consequently, The Great Gatsby represents mankind’s feebleness by illustrating its blind struggle to find acceptance within society, it’s materialism, and its naturally sinful disposition through the characterization of Nick Carraway, Daisy Buchanan, and Tom Buchanan. The Great Gatsby is a beautifully written story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is narrated by the simple Nick Carraway and tells of the intricate lives of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Fitzgerald creates a perfect mix of love, happiness, wealth, betrayal, and suspense.
The novel explores the life of the wealthy and hopeful J. Gatsby as he pursues his love, Mrs. Daisy Buchanan. Through the narrative of the gentle and levelheaded Nick, we learn to love Gatsby and to loathe those who cause his downfall. ” Gatsby turned out all right in the end; it is what preyed Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elation’s of men” (Chapter 1, pg. 6-7). Yet, through many understated, despicable acts, there is a light of goodness and hope: Gatsby’s hope. It was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found before in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again”(pg. 6). Through the use of the characters and their love, the reader can picture the times of the roaring twenties. From astonishingly gorgeous parties of the wealthy Jay Gatsby, to the simple beauty and innocence of Daisy, Fitzgerald convinces the reader to truly believe his writing. He writes with a style that creates beautiful and sometimes frustrating images for the reader.
Fitzgerald helps the reader to become part of the novel and associate with the characters; as well as be able to imagine the story and picture it perfectly down tot he very last detail. “That’s my Middle West the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house I see now that this been a story of the West, after all” (Chapter 9, pg. 177).
His language if full of images-concrete verbal pictures appealing to the senses. ” [There was] a valley of ashes- a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens” (Chapter 2, pg. 23). His descriptions utilize precise detail. As one reads Fitzgerald’s words slipping across the page, one can witness exactly what is being described. He magically mixes carefully crafted symbolism, dramatic irony, complex plot, figurative language, and vivid descriptions in such a bold yet intriguing way. Gatsby] stretched out his hand desperately as if to snatch only a wisp of air, to save a fragment of the spot that she had made lovely for him” (Chapter 8, pg. 153). Moving beyond style, the book pushes past the basic story line and becomes very symbolic. The characters, setting, and events that take place are all telling of the American dream in the twenties. It depicts people who let wealth determine their lives. It emphasizes how money and people’s desire for money can stand in the way of true happiness.
The Great Gatsby realistically portrays both the best and the worst of human attributes and allows any reader to identify with the characters, no matter how far-fetched this might seem. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is the epitome of the American literary accomplishment and a must read. In writing this novel, Fitzgerald achieved in showing future generations what the early twenties were like, and the kind of people that lived then. Hi did this in a beautifully written novel with in-depth characters, a captivating plot, and a wonderful sense of the time period.