English Assignment: Discussion on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American Dreams
To prepare this English assignment, you are required to choose an author who has written about his/her personal experience. Find sources (articles, biographies, autobiographical publications, life studies) about the author’s real-life experience. For example, you could look for travels, stays in a foreign country, participation in wars/conflicts, witnessing racial discrimination, assimilation of Native Americans, etc. Focus on a specific event or period of the author’s life. Then, find the book (a novel or a collection of stories) in which the author talks about his/her personal experience. Analyze the relation of the author’s experience to the work of fiction, what inspired the author to write about it, what “inventions” (deviation from the real experience) the author made, and finally, relate the real-life experience to the value of the book.
You should have at least 3 secondary sources (publications about the author’s life and work) and at least 1 primary source (a novel or short stories).
Introduction: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American Dreams Francis Scott Fitzgerald, selected in this English assignment is one of the renowned writers of Star-Spangled. Hewas an American writer. He is best remembered for works like“The Great Gatsby”, “The Side of Paradise” and “Tender Is The Night”. What is rarely remembered though is the often dark and dismal journey taken by Fitzgerald throughout his life that hardly matches with his post-mortem fame This aims to compare Fitzgerald's early desire and hunger for American success and the dreams that accompany it, with his writings in The Great Gatsby, his arguably most successful literary masterpiece.
Author's life story: F. Scott
Fitzgerald was born on the twenty-fourth of September 1896 eighteen ninety-six (Mizener, 1). His father was an aristocrat, though an unsuccessful one and his mother were energetic. It isn't hard to see from this the cause of his unbalanced view of American life. "Half the time he thought of himself as the heir of his father's tradition, which included the author of "The Star-Spangled Banner," Francis Scott Key, after whom he was named, and half the time as "straight 1850 potato-famine Irish." (Mizener, 1) This precarious existence led Fitgerald to loathe his existence as an American but at the same time desire for the dream pebbled by the stories of America. He sought success on an absurd level. This desire became more clear once Fitgerald came of the age to attend school. In his first two schools, St Paul Academy and Newman School, the young soon to be author put his back into his education so to speak and was wildly unpopular amongst his peers as a result. However, Princeton University was on the horizon for young Fitzgerald, and it was here that he got a taste of that coveted success.
Soon after arriving at Princeton, Fitzgerald became well known in the literary and aristocratic social circles of the University. During his attendance, he made friendship with John Bishop and Edmund Wilson (Mizener, 1). In addition, he also took up leadership positions in the Triangle Club, the Princeton Dramatic Society. Here in university Fitgerald grew a taste for success and love. His eyes were set on Ginevra King, who was a beauty of their generation (Mizener, 1). It was here though that luck ran dry for the young Fitzgerald. He has lost Ginervaand came to Princeton and returned to the university to try and complete a fall semester, but had, as a consequence of falling out, lost all his prestigious positions and reputations. In November of 1917, Fitzgerald gave up and joined the army.
F Scott Fitzgerald accepted a commission as the lieutenant in the second position in the Army after dropping from Princeton (Andrews, 1). The war of 1912 had been raging and it was looking to Fitgerald like he would be carted off overseas to fight. Fearing for his life, and determined to leave something literary behind, the young writer-turned-lieutenant began to write feverishly in his off-hours. During this time, Fitzgerald created an unfinished draft called The Romantic Egotist (Andrews, 1). Despite not finishing the piece, Scot got out of the Army and would later rework this draft in his well known literary piece This Side of Paradise.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's short stint in the military didn't only yield panic and feverish writing, however. During the last leg of his service, Fitzgerald met his future wife Zelda Sayre while stationed in Montgomery Alabama. While the two fell in love, Scott was still quite unsuccessful. And Zelda’s father, a judge of the Alabama supreme court turned out to be a difficult man to please. As a result, Fitzgerald headed for New York, with his passion for the American dream rekindling. Unfortunately, luck once again didn't hold him in favour and all he was able to achieve was an advertising job that paid only ninety dollars per month. This was of course unsatisfactory and Zelda was forced to break her engagement with Scott, leaving the miserable writer drunk and tired in St Paul, Minnesota where he rewrote The Romantic Egotist in“This Side of Paradise”.
Inspiration: It isan American novel written by writer Scott Fitzgerald, was published in the year of 1925. The background of this novel is situated in the West Egg, which is a fictional town which is under Long Island, in the early 1920s(Kourtellos, 110054). Fitzgerald attended a grand party on the prosperous Long Island and was inspired to write his book. There he got a chance to enjoy the party from a front-line view of the aristocratic, affluent class at that time, a culture he had always wanted to join but never lived up to.
A decade of decay: This novel is recognized as Fitzgerald's first and foremost masterpiece where he reflects on his life experiences(McCarthy, and Marchalik, 203). The two main characters in this novel are Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway. Fitzgerald divides himself into these two main characters one of them is a mysterious millionaire (Jay Gatsby) and the other is the 1st person narrator (Nick Carraway). "This Side of Paradise" is the first novel of Fitzgerald to be published during the First World War. The novel gained so much fame that he found himself in an aristocratic community where he wanted to live but he can’t. It took almost two years to complete the novel. It marks the ultimate commercial failure in his lifetime. However, the novel did not gain popularity until he died in 1940(Fai, 70-77). Fitzgerald spent most of his life struggling with alcoholism and deprivation, which resulted in him not being able to enjoy his acclaimed golden days. He moved to Long Island with his wife, Zelda, in 1922, where he noticed a transparent partition between the old guard elite and the new money. In addition to the geographical parts, social strategy motivates Gatsby's division in the imaginary surroundings of the East Egg and the West Egg(Cain,453-470).
Lost of love: Gatsby's intangible love interestDaisy Buchanan has long been figured out by the encouragement of Ginevra King of Chicago. Fitzgerald attended a snow shedding party in 1915 in St. Paul Minnesota to meet King. While studying at Princeton, Fitzgerald set up his home in St. Paul, King also visited St. Paul to meet his friend. This time they were both beaten and the affair lasted for two years. King was a famous socialite as well as a debutant and at the same time, she was part of an elusive aristocratic community.
Fitzgerald, on the other hand, was just a college student, who is poor. King's father mocked him: " Poor boys shouldn't think of marrying rich girls." He put the line in The Great Gatsby and was a part of several film acquisitions of a co-produced novel in 2013(Leiwakabessy, and Ermansyah, 78-86). The father of King shared few characteristics of Tom Buchanan, a villain with something close to Gatsby: both were ex-students of Yale as well as white hegemonic. At last William, Mitchell got married to Ginevra King and Tom shared several references with him. Mitchell belonged to Chicago and was passionate about the game of Polo. It is said that another figure in Kings' circle appeared in the novel in a fictional form. Another rich debutant is Edith Cummings. He is known as an amateur golfer who belongs to the same social community. The characteristics of Jordan Baker is inspired by Cummings' character in the novel. An exception has been made where Jordan has been accused of winning the tournament by deception, but nothing of the sort has happened to Cummings.
First World War: According to the novel during world war 1 Gatsby was a young military officer who was put on duty at the army barracks Tylor situated in Louisville, a place in Kentucky. During the first World War, Fitzgerald served in the Army Camp Taylor. He included a few references regarding Louisville in this novel. Actually, in reality, Fitzgerald saw Zelda, who is going to be his wife when he was appointed as a second lieutenant in the army. Outside Montogomery, Alabama, Fitzgerald was assigned to Camp Sheridan, where Zelda was a beautiful young girl.
Value added by real-life experience: Social and moral values are the special principles by which a person can judge the good and the bad, the right and the wrong of his actions and move on accordingly. In Fitzgerald's story The Great Gatsby, different aspects of values are shown through different events which are very much related to real-life experiences. Jay Gatsby's character in the story has a different dimension to his morals and values. Like Jay Gatsby, Nick's character is full of morality and he is aware of it himself and he expresses his views on the judgment of others ideology. Tom Buchanan's character, on the other hand, is a very different principle because he has a bad attitude towards lower class people.
Jay Gatsby's character reflects various aspects of social and moral values. When morality arises in a person's mind, he can understand the difference between right and wrong and lead himself on the right path. He did so, quit smoking, quit smoking, talked politely to his family, and tried his best to improve himself so that he could live happily ever after as a good person. Jay's father found out about this and he said, "Jimmy was bound to get ahead"(Fitzerald, page-173). This proves that at one time even people close to Jay realized that he could present himself as a man of good values and they believed in him.
At the time the story was written, in the 1920s, people in the West Egg region had a tendency not to take life seriously. They lived aimlessly because, according to them, nothing in this world is permanent. People at that time used to do as much as they needed for instant pleasure. But Daisy refrained from this thought. She said, "What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon…and the day after that, and the next thirty years"(Fitzerald, 118). Jay worked hard to make his future beautiful, and after 5 long years of hard work he was able to build his mansion. Not only his success, but the reason behind his success, is the recognition of his values.
Deviation from the real experience:
One of the main characters in this story, Gatsby, falls in love with Daisy, but their love fails. Gatsby was shot and killed the second time when Nick Carraway tried to reconcile them. The only reason for this was his fascination, out of real life he started living in his own another world where reality has no place.
Gatsby was fleeing from the reality he had encountered after returning from the battlefield, after meeting Daisy (Hodo, 299-305). He found something in Daisy that always fascinated him, so he puts all his effort and money into finding Daisy. Collecting articles about Daisy from all the newspapers he can, buys a big romantic house for their future. He would party every night thinking that Daisy would come. An illusion can be seen here in this character, which is out of reality.
Conclusion:The author is thought to have created the character of J. Gatsby, inspired by various people, one of them was Bootlegger Max Gerlach, who was a well-known person to Fitzgerald. In general, the work of every writer is not limited to a single character but is inspired by certain real characters, a character is created by combining the characteristics of many persons.
In the book Careless People, written by Sarah Churchwell, she reveals that the two murders at Edward Hall and Eleanor Mills in 1922 left a great impact on Fitzgerald's writing. That being said, he had just started writing "The Great G" when the double murder happened.
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Leiwakabessy, Avi Catherine, and ErmansyahErmansyah. "Analysis Of Capitalism In The Novel “The Great Gatsby” By F Scott Fitzgerald (Sociology of Literature Approach)." Journal of Advanced English Studies 3.2 2020, p. 78-86. http://sastra.unifa.ac.id/journal/index.php/jes/article/view/86/51
Hodo, Zamira. "The Failure of the American Dream in “The Great Gatsby”-Fitzgerald." European Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies 2.7 2017, p. 299-305.https://journals.euser.org/files/articles/ejms_sep_dec_17_nr_2/Zamira.pdf
Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. The Great Gatsby-Francis Scott Fitzgerald.Phoemixx Classics Ebooks, 2021, p. 118 https://adultosmayores.unr.edu.ar/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/el_gran_gatsby-F-Scott-Fitzgerald.pdf