Essay about This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby

Essay about This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writings largely focus on the American aristocracy during the 1920s. The ‘20s became alternatively known as “the Jazz Age,” a term coined by Fitzgerald with connotations encompassing the prosperity, frivolity, and decadence of the upper class. The atmosphere and mindset of lavish excess are preserved in the plots and characters of Fitzgerald’s writings. Although Fitzgerald’s protagonists are wealthy, there is a noticeable distinction between those who come from “old money” and those who are considered “new money”. Amory Blaine, of This Side of Paradise, and Jay Gatsby, of The Great Gatsby, exemplify this difference.

Fitzgerald’s novels explore the opulent lifestyle of the upper class, and the resulting desire of outsiders to belong. Jay Gatsby is one such character who makes his way to the fringes of the upper class. It seems appropriate that Gatsby creates a fraudulent identity for himself in order to belong to a world characterized by phoniness, in which “women who never knew each other’s names“ (The Great Gatsby 44) pretend to be the best of friends. Although Gatsby creates a fake identity, it is the people of the upper class, such as Amory, who are truly phony, for they understand and facilitate the superficiality of their world.

Amory and Gatsby develop their identities by embracing and rejecting, respectively, their families. Amory wholeheartedly accepts the privileged world he is born into and the influence of his mother, Beatrice. Wealthy and supercilious, Beatrice molds Amory into a young aristocrat. Amory learns behavior such as “biting acquiescent bell-boys in the Waldorf, outgrowing a natural repugnance to chamber music and symphonies, and deriving a highly specialized edu...


... middle of paper ...


... the factor that determines Amory’s success at employing deception and Gatsby’s failure.





Works Cited

Bewley, Marius. “On the Two Levels of Daisy Buchanan.” F. Scott Fitzgerald: Comprehensive Research and Study Guide. United States of America: Chelsea
House Publishers, 2000. Print.

Bloom, Harold. “Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald.” F. Scott Fitzgerald: Comprehensive Research and Study Guide. United States of America: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000. Print.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2003. Print.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. This Side of Paradise. New York: Scribner, 1960. Print.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. “Winter Dreams.” Metropolitan Magazine. December 1922.

Frasner, Keath. “On a ‘Man’s Book’.” F. Scott Fitzgerald: Comprehensive Research and Study Guide. United States of America: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000. Print.

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