An Autobiographical Portrayal of F. Scott Fitzgerald as Jay Gatsby Essay

An Autobiographical Portrayal of F. Scott Fitzgerald as Jay Gatsby Essay

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Frances Scott Key Fitzgerald, born September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota, is seen today as one of the true great American novelists. Although he lived a life filled with alcoholism, despair, and lost-love, he managed to create the ultimate love story and seemed to pinpoint the ¡§American Dream¡¨ in his classic novel, The Great Gatsby. In the novel, Jay Gatsby is the epitome of the ¡§self-made man,¡¨ in which he dictates his entire life to climbing the social ladder in order to gain wealth, to ultimately win the love of a woman: something that proves to be unattainable. As it turns out, Gatsby¡¦s excessive extravagance and love of money, mixed with his obsession for a woman¡¦s love, is actually the autobiographical portrayal of Fitzgerald.

While attending Princeton University, Fitzgerald struggled immensely with his grades and spent most of his time catering to his ¡§social¡¨ needs. He became quite involved with the Princeton Triangle Club, an undergraduate club which wrote and produced a lively musical comedy each fall, and performed it during the Christmas vacation in a dozen major cities across the country. Fitzgerald was also elected to ¡§Cottage,¡¨ which was one of the big four clubs at Princeton. ¡§Its lavish weekend parties in impressive surroundings, which attracted girls from New York, Philadelphia and beyond, may well have provided the first grain of inspiration for Fitzgerald¡¦s portrayal of Jay Gatsby¡¦s fabulous parties on Long Island¡¨ (Meyers, 27).

Although Fitzgerald was a ¡§social butterfly¡¨ while at Princeton, he never had any girlfriends. However, at a Christmas dance in St. Paul, MN during his sophomore year, he met Ginevra King, a sophisticated sixteen-year-old who was visiting her roommate, and immediately fell in love with her. Although Scott loved Ginevra to the point of infatuation, she was too self-absorbed to notice. Their one-sided romance persisted for the next two years. Fitzgerald would send hundreds of letters, but Ginevra, who thought them to be clever but unimportant, destroyed them in 1917. The following year, Ginevra sent Scott a letter that announced her marriage to a naval ensign. Just before Fitzgerald was to meet with Ginevra after a twenty-year absence, he proclaimed to his daughter, with mixed feelings of regret and nostalgia: ¡§She was the first girl I ever loved and have faithfully avoided seeing her up t...

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...ed by someone who had actually endured such feelings. For in The Great Gatsby, ¡§Fitzgerald uses fiction to tell his own story-- reflecting on the superior and brutal qualities of the rich and on the impossibility of becoming one of them¡¨ (Meyers, 123).

Works Cited
„hDaiches, David. Critical Approaches to Literature. Longmann, New York: David Daiches, 1981.
„hFitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. London: Penguin Books Ltd, 1970.
„hGuerin, Wilfred L. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1979.
„hMeyers, Jeffrey. Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography. New York: Harper Collins
Publishers, 1994.
„hPriestly, J.B.. The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald. London: The Bodley Head
Ltd, 1958.
„hDanziger, Marlies K. An Introduction to the Study of Literature. Boston: D.C. Heath and Company, 1961.
„hDiYanni, Robert. Literature fourth edition. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill, 1998.
„hLevin, Harry. Fitzgerald the maker¡¦s of modern literature. Norfolk, Connecticut: New Directions Books, 1941.
„h The Gatsby Online Research
„h Classic Notes Online

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